Frugal Hack #1: The “Secret” Dish Network Programming Package

December 10, 2012 by Kyle

(Updated 11/08/16) Welcome to the first post in my new Frugal Hacks series. Frugal life tips which take very little time to implement, but could conceivably save you a ton of money every year.

Are you a current Dish Network customer and tired of paying $50 or more for a bunch of channels you don’t watch? I recently discover a “secret” programming package that gets my family all local channels in HD plus popular channels like TBS, History, TLC, MSNBC, Hallmark, Hub, HGTV, Food Network, Oxygen, CMT, and Boomerang for a whopping 65 cents a day .

We get 60 channels in all, plus one HD-DVR receiver, for a grand total of $26.99 a month. (If you don’t want the DVR service you only pay $19.99/mo.)

The package is called the ‘Welcome Pack’ and most people don’t know that it’s available to ALL Dish Network customers, new and old. Why it’s called the ‘Welcome Pack’ is a mystery to me.

If you log into your online account you’ll notice that this package is NOT an available option. Currently, the only way you can get the welcome pack is to call them at 1-800-333-DISH and ask for it. Took me 5 minutes to call and get our programming changed.

Below is a screenshot of what your account will look like once you have the ‘Welcome Pack’. Your account will actually say ‘Package No Longer Available’  – WRONG! The secret is you just gotta call and ask for it!

The Pro’s

Obviously the price is a biggie. I have never seen a better price (for what you get) with any cable or satellite supplier. Also, you still get a lot of kids programming like PBS, HUB, Boomerang, and Baby First.

The bottom-line is this package is great for those who want to cut back on expenses but still have the ability to get local channels and local news.

The Con’s

Sports. While you’ll still get all the major network sports programming, you’re not going to get ESPN, or ESPN2 or ESPN News, or ESPN3, how many are there these days? This may be a deal breaker for some of you.

But keep in mind that you can still stream ESPNU from your computer or tablet and your TV is still going to be non-stop sports every Saturday and Sunday. Like anything in life, there is a trade-off. A break from non-stop sports to save some serious cash may be a good thing.

Keep an eye out for Frugal Hack #2 coming next week!

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68 Comments on "Frugal Hack #1: The “Secret” Dish Network Programming Package"

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Do you know if there’s a similar deal at DirecTV?

I wish we had more access to deals like this in Canada. I guess we just don’t have the population to support things like this.


We don’t have any cool cheap ways in Canada to watch TV other than if we find something on the Internet. 🙁

Good for you though for finding such a great deal.

Do you get Fox news on 205?

Just so you know, the best way to get the most awesome deals is to be polite even if you are persistent. I worked as a Dish rep, and you wouldn’t believe the rudeness of the average caller.

I can understand why people get annoyed. As a loyal dish customer, I tried to upgrade from the Welcome Pack to Americas Top 120 and it was going to cost me almost $40 a month more than if I were a new customer. I was prepared to pay around $40 dollars a month, but the rep said $66! I said, “So if I QUIT Dish and then comeback as a “New” customer I save $30 a month?!” They said, “Yes” So I said, “So I am being penalized for being a loyal customer for ten years?! .. That Doesn’t make any sense!” So they referred my to a “Loyalty specialist who, after two (let me check with my managers” got me 6 months of a $30/month rebate so I pay around 36 dollars a month. I wasn’t rude, but I can certainly understand why people are rude on the phone with Dish.

Just an FYI – I have had Dish for awhile and so I don’t have a contract. They allow me to upgrade during football season and downgrade again later. I recently upgraded for the World Cup. Just know that if you downgrade back to a lower tiered package within 30 days then you are charged $5. I have even done that before to watch one game.

Just called to see if I could get my bill lowered while upgrading my service so I could get my Dr. Who back. The service rep got me a $20 discount while also getting the upgrade I needed.

Joe Nick Manchin Rahall

Hell will freeze over and then snow over and freeze again before Directv will have a deal equal to Dish’s Welcome Pack. With MSNBC, Comedy Central, WE, Oxygen, TBS and locals, Directv would not even consider offering a deal equal to Dish’s Welcome Pack. For those of you who’ve got to have Bill O’Reilley and his Foxed News, you’d have to go with the Smart Pack which is $32.99. That’s gettin’ up there, Men! If you’re wanting to cut costs, though, Welcome is your way to go.

We had been paying $131 a month for 3 receivers in the house, but today I whittled it down to the Welcome Package on one dual receiver–plus DVR–for $24.99 a month (that’s including all taxes and fees). Told them I wasn’t interested in paying a penny over $25 and ta-da! All you gotta do is ask politely!

So is this still an option in late 2014?

Joe Nick Manchin Rahall

Jonathan, it sure is still an option! I’m currently on the Smart Pack, and I’m there till April because of a contract, but believe you me, I’m heading over to the Welcome Pack in April! The Smart Pack is nice with TV Land and ID, but dangit, they aren’t worth an extra 13 bucks a month! Besides, with the Welcome Pack, I’ll get TBS, Comedy Central, WE, Oxygen, MSNBC and other channels that aren’t in the Smart Pack. I just wish I wasn’t under contract till April with the Smart Pack or else I’d be over with Welcome today!

I did this March/2014, cut my Dish bill from $100/mth to $20, enough to pay for the smartTV we bought BlackFriday2013. Called in Aug2014 to add the Sports Package to get Redzone, the rep said I needed minimum of Top120, but I was polite and she gave me Top120 for discount, and SportsPackage free til end of year. Now it’s time to go back to Welcome Package until August again 🙂

Did the welcome pack go up? I called today and the welcome pack for me
Was $47 plus tax? I have ther hopper with the big box n 2 small ones

Joe Nick Manchin Rahall

Sounds to me like you’re being charged for your Hopper plus your two other satellite tuners. Welcome is the only package that didn’t have a price increase this year. It’s still $20 / month while every other package was increased between at least $3 – $5 per month.

I have the DISH NETWORK. I pay $50.00 for all the programming we get. We watch so little, but there it is, we want DIY and HGTV and we are Football Fans so ESPN is important to us. Here is the question.
Can I buy a DVR and own it rather than pay a monthly fee so I can record DIY, HGTV, Animal Planet, TLC, and A&E?
Or must I buy a hopper and go with a monthly fee?

It doesn’t matter if you buy the equipment or lease it you still get charged a monthly receiver fee.

I bought a simple easycap and installed it to my laptop. I record all the time without paying an extra dime. It may not be HD quality but who cares. It still looks great on iPads, laptops, and smaller devices.

Would someone please, Please, PLEASE explain this? I’m going to TRY to get Dish to give us a discount first. I’m just going to be straight with them, tell them that we’ve been with them for a while, but we need to find a discount and heard about the Welcome package. When they say $45 or whatever, I’ll say, “No, that’s still way too much. Is there a way to go cheaper?”
But if they don’t … I’d like to know what’s meant by “buy the equipment,” and then buy “a simple easycap” and install it. We don’t get HD quality now, so I don’t give a monkey’s patootie if we won’t be getting it with the other. I just know I NEED to cut back, any way possible!

Joe Nick Manchin Rahall

I don’t know of any way to get Dish programming via satellite without having a monthly package. Once ESPN is added, ZOOM! up goes the price.

Does the welcome package include our local channels?

yes, local channels, such as ABC, CBS, NBC, PBS, FOX are included in the Welcome Pack. To the person that asked about HGTV and DIY, HGTV is included, DIY is one of the channels they offer a free preview of periodically. Seems like every 2 or 3 months DIY is part of that. I just DVR the shows, which are usually repeats, so really don’t need it EVERY month. THis month it’s Sundance, Hallmark movies & mysteries, Sportsman Channel, Destination America, & Blockbuster @Home outdoor sports.

Can I add on Hallmark?

hey, i just called them and yaaay i was able to get it as well.. from 118.41 to 53.62 with tax etc.. thats good enough for me

Thanks for the tip! We live where there is no reception other than satellite and 99% of what we watch are local channels. Dish bill just went from $84.00/month to $19.99. Not bad!

If you are only watching local channels, wouldn’t it be better to buy a digital antenna?

An antenna is exactly what’s need for local channels, but many people live too far to receive TV without investing large sums of money for the antenna, tower, amplifier, etc. needed to receive these “local” channels. As for the others, Playstation Vue steaming is probably the best deal out there are the moment. You don’t need a Playstation, and you get the equivalent of a DVR with a channel guide included in the price which begins at 29.99/month.

Is the RFD channel in the Welcome package? How about the Westerns channel (342)?

The RFD is not part of the Welcome Pack for $19.99. I was told by Dish that you could receive the locals only and as long as you don’t mind paying the DVR fee that comes in right about $20.00 so the Welcome Pack isn’t a bad option if you enjoy the Food Network, MSNBC, The Weather Channel; there are no sports channels with this package; ESPN by itself charges between $7 and $8 per subscriber now and that’s not counting ESPNU, ESPNews, and ESPN2. There is a cord-cutting solution that’s free after purchasing a Channel Master DVR that costs about $400.00 but it’s no charge after that and it will record your locals in HD and provide a guide, though I recommend using the internet for a more complete guide.

I can tell you my ex-wife (we’re still good friends) recently moved and we explored DirecTV since Dish wouldn’t sign off on the install which the signal has to shoot through a line of trees. The apartment complex offers U-Verse TV and DirecPath (DirecTV), I can tell you Dish is an excellent option if you can get it. I grant you 1st year promos are great, but it’s afterwards that you pay through the nose. For those of you really serious about cutting the cord, there is Kodi (formerly XBMC) that is an excellent option, but you’ll miss the remote control experience; a keyboard and a mouse takes quite an adjustment but if you have excellent internet speeds, it works great once you figure out how to navigate the darn thing. ROKU is another option now that many of the networks have extensions or apps.

I can also tell you the Dish Anywhere app, the new version has been working terrific on our computers and that is an excellent option if you have it for example at one family member’s home and you can log into the system from your computer. We’re spoiled on it now. The cheapest solution is the Channel Master DVR once you pay for the DVR; I’ve read the future DVRs will have internet streaming apps on it as well. If it weren’t for CBS having their own streaming platform, HuluPlus is an excellent option if you opt to run a HDMI cord from your computer to your HDTV which longer cords can be ordered from for dirt money; I ran a 30 foot cord under my house from my computer to the HDTV and use a wireless keyboard and mouse from my couch. I own the ROKU which is as close as to a remote as you’re going to get. Like one comment, there are sacrifices that have to be made to keep your costs to a minimum, but short of what I wrote about; the Welcome Pack for a total with taxes and DVR fee of $15 (we’re $12 for the moment) is not a bad option; the DVR fee is also $15 over at DirecTV too.

Finally, it may be better to end your service with Dish only to renew it and take advantage of the $49.99 for three years; our rates just went up $2.00 and over at DirecTV it’s $51.99 for Select and no ESPNs. I can live without ESPN until football season, so I’m leaning on the Channel Master solution but for the locals only…that’s $20 which still isn’t too bad…the locals only I believe are either $5.99 or $6.99 a month; that’s as no frill as it gets. The DVR free makes that between $17.99 to $20.99 before taxes. I hope this helps. Thanks

Assuming the moderators can input this…where at the end I mentioned the Channel Master and $20.00; the Channel Master DVR costs upfront about $400.00; it’s free after that, no DVR fee. If you opt to go that way, I recommend you hook it up to your internet connection which then will provide an excellent guide. Or…think of your Dish Hopper DVR like a Tivo…you’re paying $12.00 or $15.00 to use its recording capabilities which too double as a sling player, you can watch what you record anywhere which is exactly what we do; the DVR is in my home, 100 miles away and at her house we access it via the app; I can honesty say the Primetime Anywhere part of it is gold. The new AT&T U-Verse DVR frustrates us on so many levels. Tuners to name a few; the lack of.

RFD channel comes in Heartland Package only $6.00 per month

I just switched to the welcome pack best thing I’ve done. I can’t believe I was paying over 100 dollars a month. Great choice.

Hi! My roommate and I switched to the Welcome Pack last year (with the same SD 625 dual DVR), and I plan on upgrading us to HD with an new DVR. What HD channels besides the locals come with the Welcome Pack?

Hi everyone! Well, it is April 4, 2016. I just called Dish myself today! Nice and easy! We are on the Welcome Pack and cut our bill from 41.00 to 20.00. Thank you for the information!!

We are not in a contract anymore with Dish, and haven’t for last 2 years. So I really don’t think I want to completely get rid of Dish, yet. I started out with the next to biggest package with Dish. We do have the Heartland package $6 a month also. We never had HBO, Starz, etc. At that time we had 2 extra receivers, dvr. My bill at its highest was around $110. I dropped it down to Dish America package to 1 extra receiver and dvr.

Then back in Sept. when I seen Dish advertise free dvr, cheaper prices to the new customers, I called and fussed about it not being fair to already customers and they did give me a $25 credit a month for a year, to make up for some of my complaints which I was satisfied with. But my bill was still running about $80 give or take. And now April 1 they had taken INSP channel off of lineup. This really made me so angry and made me rethink my package and pricing. I found the Welcome package and you have to ask for this package as it itsn’t a package you can change yourself online with your account. It doesn’t have the sports channels, but we only watch that during College football season. I was very surprised of the channels that was in this package, it is worth the $20 a month.

Anyway, my son told me about PlaystationVue -streaming Cable. And all I can say is wow. They have 3 packages starting at $30 for 55 channels, $35 for 70+ channels and $45 for 100+ channels, I am on the 7 day trial right now, and I really like it. I am thinking of the smaller package, with Nick channels, to name a few. But for Football season this is good to know, that I do have a choice. No local channels for my area, but some areas do have local channels. If you have caps on your internet, not sure if this would be good for you. I have no caps and pretty good internet. And the good thing about this is you don’t have to have a playstation, Amazon Firestick works with this also.

Does the welcome pack require a contract?

Does anyone here know how to recreate all the programming currently available on DishNetwork (or DirecTV) through online entertainment subscription, i.e. Netflix, Hulu, Apple TV, Amazon Fire, etc. I’ve been told it can be done through these subscriptions and that local channels can be accessed through a digital antenna. Does anyone have any experience with this?

Fire stick cost around 40.00 dollars. You won’t be sorry it shows movies all live sports the movies that isn’t in theaters yet and the ones that pay per view any thing you want to watch

I’m interested in the comments regarding using a digital antenna.

I’m thinking of calling dish network there charging me 188.00 dollars for my TV channels a month. I’d like to know what all comes on welcome package. Please help!

If you do a search for welcome pack you should be able to find the channels.

Is TV Land in the Welcome Pack now? Is it possible I’m getting a glitch? Anyone know?

I found this by accident when I called DISH to possibly cancel my account. Monthly fee went up AGAIN and I was tired of being nickled and dimed to death especially since I don’t watch most of the channels. Well!! They offered me this!

I thought it was temporary but it’s been 2 years at least. It still comes to 35/month with the DVR and insurance which I don’t mind paying. If anyone can tell me how to buy my own DVR….can’t seem to figure that out.

Thanks for posting this for others. I’m sure it will be appreciated.

i’ve had own all this time and recently i’ve noticed it’s been unsubscribed and i have to pay to get it back. no one requested it to be unsubscribed.

I’ve learned from being with Dish for along time NOT to pay for ins monthly. When I needed the ins they let me buy it right then, i had to keep it for a few months b4 I cud let it go, whichh I did, but it still saved me money from paying it every month. And when I needed it I got it?

That’s a great tip but but but ? what if they change that just when I need it?

I got this by accident. I was so tired of them raising the price I finally called and told her I was going to cancel my account. I just could not justify paying so much for so many channels that I wasn’t even watching. That’s when she told me about the welcome pack!

Be sure to check channel 103 the first of each month as they “give” some of the other channels for the month or a weekend. I do like Hallmark Movies & Mysteries so when this is one on the list, I record gobs of the shows for later viewing.

I was going to do this switch but I don’t see fox news in the line up of the welcome package.

I live in Puerto Rico and have the welcome package.I pay $30.00 a month with taxes. when I come to the states I call and put the package on pause and all I pay is $5.00 a month. when I get back to p.r. I call again and take it off of pause,and start paying my regular mo. payments.

Just got it today without knowing about it. Told em I needed the best deal or I was cutting the cord. $20.48 with tax, no time element, no problem. I feel like I won today.

I seen this site and my dish bill is so high. We rarely watch tv as it is. Like you said, there is no welcome package listed. I called and just had my package changed. I about fell out. My package which was always over 200. a month is under 40.00 now. Thanks for the greatest tip online. I am still shaky from actually having my bill lowered. uh, it is 2016 and the tip still worked. Thanks!

I just found out a couple of things, so I have a major question!
1) If you go to Dish website, they ARE now offering Welcome package for $20/month.
2) My husband likes to watch SPIKE. Is it available on Welcome? If not, can he upgrade just a single channel like that?

Dish Network “Welcome Pack” Numeric Channel List
Provided by
Gene’s Antenna Service
updated 1/17/2014
For Grandfathered customers only!
Welcome Pack with locals
– $19.99
per month for 1 TV
Add $7 for 2
monthly (Prices controlled by Dish Network
and can change at their discretion)
– Benton & Lane County
or – 7180
or – 7181
or – 7182
or – 7183
or – 7186
or – 7184
or – 7183
or – 7185
Locals –
Linn , Lincoln & Polk County
or – 8670
or – 8671
or – 8672
or – 8676
or – 8675
or – 8680
or – 8674
or – 8673
Welcome Pack
Blockbuster Studio
Dish Network Preview
Comedy Central
Food Network
Home & Garden
TV Guide Network
Women’s Entertainment
Country Music
The Hub
Learning Channel
Bloomberg Info TV
219-230 Shopping Networks
Pursuit (Hunt)
256-263 Religion
Kids & Teens

I’ve been looking at this welcome package and when I search their site and look at the channels they offer on the welcome package it doesn’t show AMC. I the list you posted AMC is listed. Have they recently dropped AMC?

I’m REALLY excited! I had my husband call, and while we did NOT get the Welcome pack (unfortunately, some of our most watched channels are not in that pack), we did manage to get an updated receiver (worth $100) plus two new remote controls (in the past they told me it would cost us $15 each to replace) all for free, AND we will be saving $40/month! Yay!
Now my only question: They said it would cost $100 for the “sling adapter,” so that I could watch Dish Anytime. My husband got wise (love him!) and found people selling sling adapters online for much cheaper. With this in mind, is there any problem with buying used adapters? I don’t want to squander what we just saved.

This is 100% accurate, I’m literally changing my package as I type. Bill is dropping from 104/month to $37!!

Thank you SOOOOO much. I just followed your instructions and went from a $75 bill to $38! It helped me get a handle on my bills without losing my local channels or my DVR.

I am thinking of getting dish network mainly to have the horse racing and greyhound racing channels. I’m sure this channel is not included in the welcome package. My question is, can I get the welcome package immediately or do I need to be a subscriber for a while? Thanks

today i changed my service to welcome pak. The easiest way for me was using the online chat.
I only waited 6 seconds. it was done in less then a minute. I had been on hold on the phone for over an hour.

I actually just switched to this package via online chat. I was trying to find out how much the early termination fee would be as I still have 12 months left on my contract. I couldn’t pay it in the 45 days they wanted it so I asked what would be the cheapest pack they had and still maintain the contract and they told me the welcome pack. My bill is going from $100 down to $35. We watch more Netflix and Hulu than we do dish and we are not sports fans so it worked for us. As soon as my contract is up I’m canceling my service as fast as possible.. Never again will I sign up for a TV service. Online services are dirt cheap!!!