Magic Jack Phone Review - Is Magic Jack Legit Or A Scam?

Product Rating: 4.5

What Is magic Jack?
magicJack, in its most basic sense is a telephone service provided by VocalTec Communications. Generally used as a home phone service, it can also be used for business lines. The phone service runs over VocalTec's private VoIP network and can be used by anyone that has purchased one of their devices, has an active subscription, and a high-speed Internet connection. It provides subscribers with unlimited local and long distance calling to both the United States and Canada all for one low yearly fee of $29.95.

How Does magic Jack Work?
The service works pretty simply. First you will need to purchase one of the companies three devices - the original magicJack, magicJack Plus, or magicJack Plus 2014. The first generation device hooks directly into any computers USB port and requires a small software install in order to register the device and begin making calls. The second and third generation devices work by hooking them directly into any modem or router and an electrical outlet. Once the device is hooked up simply attach any regular telephone to the other end and you can begin making calls right away. Don't forget, a high-speed Internet connection is needed in order to use the service.

What Features Does The Service Come With?
It comes with unlimited local and long distance calling to anywhere in the United States or Canada for one low yearly fee. Standard features that come for free include everything you are use to getting from traditional land line providers. This includes caller ID, call waiting, voicemail, call forwarding, free conference calling, free 411 directory assistance, and much more.

How Much Does The Device Cost?
The original magicJack has been discontinued but it was originally sold for $39.99 for the device and one year of phone service. The second generation device, the magicJack Plus can be purchased for $50 (plus shipping and handling) which includes the device and one year of service. It is no longer available through the magicJack website but can still be purchased from various third party retailers online.

The newest device, the magicJack Plus 2014 can be purchased directly from the official company website for $49.95 and includes 6 months of free telephone service. All purchases comes with a 30-day risk free trial that allows for full no questions asked returns for any reason whatsoever.

How Much Does The Service Cost?
Regardless of which of the devices you are using, once your subscription is up you can renew for just $29.95 for one year or you can get a five year plan for just $99.75 ($19.95 per year). At a super low price of under $3 per month magicJack phone service is an amazing deal. The daily cost comes out to under $0.10 per day for a fully functioning home phone. Yep, its under a dime a day and a lot less than you are probably paying for your land line right now. Gone are the days of spending $50 per month for home phone service.

Can I Make International Calls With magicJack?
Yes you can make international calls but they are not free. In order to calls outside the U.S. and Canada you will have to purchase prepaid minutes. Although not free the company does provide very competitive and often times some of the cheapest international calling rates around.

Can I Keep My Old Number If I Switch To magicJack?
Most numbers can be ported over to the companies telephone service, although they do not guarantee that any and all numbers can be switched over. If you are thinking about getting magicJack and keeping your number is important to you then you should contact customer service before purchasing.

Can The Service Be Used With Smartphones?
Yes! VocalTec released the magicJack App in 2012 and it can be used for FREE with any IOS devices including the iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch. It can also be used with any Android devices and is expected to be coming to the Blackberry platform in the near future. Use of the service is super easy. Just download the app from iTunes or the Google Play Store and you can begin making calls within minutes. After download you can make calls instantly without a phone number or you can sign up for a free account and the app will automatically assign you a number. Current magicJack subscribers have the option to login to the app with their account which enables them to take their magicJack home phone number on the go with them. The company is expected to begin charging for use of the app sometime in 2014 along with adding additional features such as texting. Paying subscribers are expected to be able to use the app for free while current free users will be charged one super low yearly fee just like regular subscribers.

How Does The Service Work And How Is It So Cheap?
Magic Jack technology is simple; it takes any traditional land line phone call and re-routes it over the Internet via the companies dedicated VoIP server. The callers voice is transferred into data packages on one end, then sent through the network, and ultimately spit back out as the callers voice on the other end of the line. The result is that neither you nor the person you are calling will be able to tell any difference at all. In fact, nowadays voip voice quality has actually improved to the point where it is usually better than through traditional telephone lines. Speaking of telephone lines and infrastructure, that's where the cheap price comes in. Without the need for expensive lines stretching miles and miles across the country magicJack is able to keep its fixed costs down and in turn passes this along to the customer.

Does the Magic Jack Really Work?
YES! In fact, magicJack was the winner of the 2013 Frost & Sullivan North American Consumers' Choice Award as best overall VoIP service provider. Millions of individuals use the magic Jack each and every day, in fact the company says they have sold over 15 million devices, and there is a reason for that. The reason is simple, because the Magic Jack works, and very well. When the original device came out there were a lot of questions about its call quality but the VoIP industry as a whole has come a long way since it's release in 2007. With each subsequent device release the company has improved call quality by more than doubling the processor speed of the device and also adding various features such as HD Voice and Echo Control. The company also has and continues to pour money into its private dedicated VoIP network, with the aim at providing the best call quality possible.

What Do Users Have To Say?
In the past there were quite a few users that complained about technical difficulties and poor customer service. With a new CEO, new management, and a renewed focus on the customer the majority of these customer service issues are in the past. As far as technical difficulties go, most of them have been eliminated as a result of upgrades to the magicJack network along with the new devices that simply work better. When magicJack first came out voip technology was rather new and it has taken some time for companies to perfect to technology. The newer magicJack Plus 2014 not only provides better call quality but really ups it's game in regards to ease of you. Past devices required you to plug the device into your computer and go through a registration and install process but with this new device it's as simple as plug and play straight out of the box.

The biggest thing to remember when reading about the device is that the when any company has sold in the neighborhood of 15 million devices they are bound to have some complaints and unsatisfied customers. And we all know its always the unsatisfied customers that are going to complain, while the happy ones aren't even thinking twice about the service or that they should go and give it a glowing review.

Do You Have Any Reviews Submitted By Users That I Can Read?
Yes, we have a large number of reviews that have been submitted by email and also left in the comment section. We have listed several reviews here and suggested you scroll down to the bottom in order to see more in the comments.

Shawn said... 
"My father purchased a Magic Jack device a few years ago and my nephew brought it over and we tried it out. It worked the way it was supposed to. We made some phone calls with it, but since I had cell phone service at the time, with nationwide calling, it really wasn't that practical for use in my home, but it was cool to try for the moment.

With that out of the way, I work for a company, which shall remain nameless just to keep on topic, which deals with electronics and services and deals with millions of customers. I get calls all day long about this and that about how great things work and how crappy things work. It's electronics people. Made by HUMANS! Show me one human that doesn't make a mistake or who's head isn't always screwed on tight! People tell me to guarantee them they will have trouble free service. I cannot, nor can anyone guarantee that I will not hit a deer on my way home from work.

The Magic Jack for all intense and purposes does what it is supposed to do, make phone calls. If it doesn't work right, then there's either something wrong with the phone, computer, the internet, internet provider, the Magic Jack itself or something else. That doesn't make the company a crappy company or the the Magic Jack device a piece of crap either. To me $46.95 is a lot of money for the first time buy, but within a year, $46.95 is a drop in the bucket compared to regular phone service and will not change my life if the Magic Jack, which I just made a purchase for yesterday and awaiting the shipment, doesn't work properly all the time."
Trevor said...
"I just installed a magic jack on a computer with a Suddenlink high speed cable connection. It connected and installed perfectly. There were only a limited number of locations for my phone number, and all were long distance. (I live in rural NE Texas) Still it worked perfectly. I have installed it on a tablet PC that was gathering dust in my closet, and I plugged it into my Panasonic phone system. It is now line 2 on my phone system and is working from all of my phones in my house. At least for me, this device is working great and saving me lots over my previous line charges."
Wil said...
"We live in Thailand and travel all over the world for work. MagicJack allows us to have an Indianapolis number while in Thailand or anywhere else we travel. We have one unit dedicated to our home here and one that we take with us on the road. Since we have a unit at our Thailand place that lists as an US number, we can call from Australia, Europe, or China back to Thailand for free. The system thinks it's a call from the US to the US when in fact we're calling transcontinental. AMAZING product that we've convinced all of our friends to purchase and utilize."
Denise said...
"Let me start out by saying I am the most skeptical person you will ever meet! I recently purchased my first home and where it is located I don't have great cell phone service. Some parts of my house it's great, other parts I have to sit up against the window to get service! I contacted my cable carrier to see how much it would be to bundle and add phone on my existing cable/internet package. Of course it was an additional $39.99 and that was for local calling only. 
As I was thinking about it that's an extra $480.00 a year, not to mention additional charges for long distance. I was prety upset when I heard that. So I thought about the magic jack. I remember all the infomercials about it and kept thinking there has to be a hidden charge, or it can't work that easily. So I went to my local Radio Shack and talked to the sales rep there. She said that the only complaint is that if the power is off on your computer it will go to voicemail, and there isn't always a local number available. 
I thought ok I keep my computer on all the time so no problem there, and everyone I know has a cell phone, so the local/long distance wont matter. So I decided to purchase it. I got it home plugged it in, and followed the on screen prompts, I got the same area code as I live in. 
It was VERY easy to set up, and I had service within minutes! I have been using it now for about a month and it is awesome!!! I forward all my cell phone calls to my magic jack and I have no problems what so ever!!! I can't believe I actually love something I was so skeptical about!!! This is a wonderful product!!.. By the time my house is paid off I will have saved well over $15,000.00 on phone service!!!! Thank you so much to the creators of MAGIC JACK!!!!"
Chevron7 said... 
"This has to be one of the best purchases of my life!!!! I bought it at Wal-Mart for $39.95. That includes 1 year of free service. It is extremely easy to install on my computer. I did not have to use a credit card - so they don't have my credit card information. It's like I never had my regular phone shut off. It works great! I have call waiting, caller ID, call forwarding, voice mail, it's AWESOME! 
I registered it with my e-mail account so when I'm not at home, I will get an e-mail and I can actually listen to my messages at work on my computer. How handy is that! Who cares if you have to dial the area code every time you call someone, it's a FREE call! 
So far I have no complains. I had phone service within 10 minutes, installation was so simple a child could do it. I went immediately and registered my new phone on that way I won't have pesky telemarketers calling me. 
They are up front and explain everything in detail on their website and I'm not disappointed at all with my purchase.  In fact,it's the best purchase I've ever made. We were paying $900 a year for unlimited long distance and local calling and I thought THAT was a good deal. Now I can use that money for vacation every year!"
Ryan said...
"I have had a Magic Jack Plus for a few months now, and save for a minor installation difficulty at first (now fully resolved), it's been a great device. The calls are clear as a landline and sound great, and the cost can't be beat by any other telco.

Let me explain about that install difficulty I had: When I first got my MJ+ and got it hooked up to my phone & router, there was an awful noisy hum in the audio, in the phone's receiver ear piece. Since I didn't have any problems with the phone when I previously had it connected to a landline a few years ago, I assumed it was the MJ+ that was on the fritz.

I went and exchanged it for a new unit, but had the same problem again! So, I decided to try a different telephone set to plug into the MJ+, and lo and behold, it worked perfectly! The noisy hum was gone, just crystal-clear calls to be had! So, the MJ+ does tend to be a bit picky as far as the kind of telephone set you have connected to it. If you have a phone on you MJ+ that has bad hum in the audio, try a new set, it might solve the issue.

Besides this hiccup (and the common consensus that MJ's technical support is lacking, which fortunately I have not had to contact yet), the magic jack plus is a very good product and quite a money-saver. I was originally thinking about getting a landline again from my incumbent telco (CenturyLink), but MagicJack is a much better deal. I'd rather spend $30 a year than $18 a month."

So What's The Catch?
There is no catch. It's really quite simple. VoIP uses a completely different technology than traditional land line companies and with significantly less overhead and fixed costs VocalTec has chosen to pass this savings on to users like yourself. They run a very simple "Do The Math" ad campaign with a clear goal of being a price leader within the VoIP industry.

The only truly notable issues lies with the company's customer service. In the past the company got a lot of complaints about their chat only customer service and customers inability to get the device to work. Again, the majority of these issues have been resolved with upgrades to the new devices and new management has also began to address these issues quite aggressively. In fact, in early 2014 the company hired a new Vice President of Customer Experience, whose job is to completely revamp the customer service department. The company is looking into providing more than just chat support but at such a low price point it's not yet clear if they will be able to do this.

During this transition its important to take the savings and just remember if you are one of the unlucky few who have trouble, that you are saving $500 per year on your phone service! In a few cases users have blown their complaints way out of proportion and claimed that the service is a scam, of course in reality it is far from this. Any claims that magic Jack is a scam are quickly squashed by checking its rating with the Better Business Bureau, which is currently an A rating, with all complaints resolved.

What's Next For Magic Jack?
The company released the magicJack Plus 2014 in late 2013 and it is still a mystery as to exactly what they plan to offer through the device. Currently it doesn't do anything that the old magicJack Plus can't do but it does have new wifi and SDIO slots that aren't functional to this point. It has long been rumored that the company wants to expand their services and provide both Internet and TV through the device for one low yearly fee. If magicJack can come to some sort of agreement with a 3G or 4G provider this may be a possibility but it doesn't likely to happen any time soon. The company has yet to release any official word regarding triple play service or how it plans to use the new wifi and SDIO slots so for now it's a guessing game. The company has stated that it plans to add texting capabilities to the magicJack App at some point in the near future along with charging for its use.

The Magic Jack Bottom Line
magicJack phone service is a great innovation within the home phone market and it offers all consumers an excellent way to keep their home phone line while not paying the outrageous monthly fees that traditional phone companies charge. With cell phones dominating today's market the land line phone appeared to be headed for extinction but with the magic Jack people can now keep their landline for only $29.95 per year. In fact, it is so good and so cheap that it has its competition panicking at the thought of everybody making the switch. If you are thinking about getting the Magic Jack we recommend that you give it a try and don't doubt you'll be satisfied. Of course, in the unlikely event that you are one of the few that isn't you won't be risking anything since magicJack is offering a 30-day risk free trial to all new customers.

Frequently Asked Questions About VoIP Phone Service

What Is VoIP?
VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) is a technology that routes voice traffic over IP networks. They were first developed years ago for data transmission but their popularity sparked the idea of using them for voice transmissions. VoIP technology transfers voice data into digital signals and routes them through the IP network and then converts them back to a voice transmission on the other end. It allows for calls directly from a PC or through a traditional phone by using an adapter. Some others common names for the service include voice over IP, broadband phone, internet phone service, and digital phone.

What Are The Benefits Of VoIP?
The biggest benefit is the high competition between companies which results in an extremely low cost. In most cases service providers charge a monthly fee that includes unlimited local and long distance calls and a less than average rate for international calls. It is also cheaper because there are currently no government regulatory fees associated with this type of phone service. Another great thing about it is that it can be taken anywhere. When you are making calls over the Internet it doesn't matter where you are as long as you have a broadband Internet connection and can access your VoIP software. This also allows you to require any area code that you would like, which can come in hand for businesses that operation nationwide.
How Much Does It Cost?
The price for service vary widely. You can get a popular service from a nationwide company such as Vonage for as little as $10 per month for a limited nationwide plan while unlimited international plans from them run at $26.99 right now. There are several companies out there that actually offer free service, albeit on a very limited plan though. magicJack is one of the largest providers in the country and they charge a yearly fee of just $29.95. Generally you get what you pay for and the cheapest providers come with poor voice quality and limited features, while the more expensive ones provide the same quality you have gotten from a land line company for years. The bottom line is to do your research and read reviews from some of the top service providers before making a choice.

What Features Does Service Come With?
It as the ability to come with all of the usual feature that we have come to expect from traditional land line companies. This includes caller ID, call waiting, 3-way calling, conference calls, voicemail, call blocking, 411 directory assistance, last number re-dial, call forwarding, E911 service, and much more. Of course the features you get depends on what company and level of service you subscribe to. VoIP also comes with several features that we are not use to seeing with traditional service. One neat feature is the ability to have your voice mails sent to you as an attachment through email. This is a pretty simple feature but creates and easy way to keep up with voicemail messages while checking your email.

What Equipment Is Needed To Get Started?
First and foremost you will need a broadband internet connection. Beside that the only equipment that is usually needed in order to setup service is a VoIP phone or adapter from you service provider for your regular phone. Generally you hook the adapter up to your modem or router and then the other end up to your phone. With a VoIP phone the phone hooks directly into the router and you bypass the need for an adapter. In the future there are hopes for adapters that work via wi-fi so that a connection to your router/modem is no longer needed. You will need the companies software if you want to use your computer for calls.

Is A Computer Required?
In most cases no computer is needed. However remember, it does require a high-speed Internet connection, modem/router, and the VoIP adapter (provided by the company you subscribe with).

How Do I Make A Phone Call?
Making calls with this service is exactly the same as you have been doing for years. Simply pick up your phone, dial a number, and the phone will begin ringing. An added bonus however is that you can get on your computer and make a call directly via your providers software program. This is quite convenient if you are traveling and have your computer with you but not your phone or adapter, if you are on the go and you don't have your phone with you.

What Is The Difference Between Residential And Business VoIP?
Residential services are cheaper and are setup to work with a small number of phones within your home. They can be used with multiple phones that are setup throughout your house but only one telephone number and line is provided. Business VoIP services are more expensive, can be complicated to setup, and are designed to work with a large number of telephones. Generally they come with multiple numbers and telephone lines up to whatever number a business may need to meet their needs. Although expensive on a full package basis, they are still much more affordable than paying for a bunch of land lines.

Are There Differences Between Local, Long Distance, And International Calling?
In most cases free local and long distance calls come with your subscription. Some providers offer cheaper plans that limit minutes and long distance and/or internationals calls. It's really up to you, you can usually get whatever type of plan suits your needs.

Are There Any Disadvantages?
One past disadvantage that has been solved was related to 911 emergency services. Technological advancements have allowed for an E911 service that is comparable to what you get with a regular land line. If any land line company tries to talk you into keeping their expensive service please know that this information is out of date and VoIP offers excellent 911 protection.

One real disadvantage though is the possibility of not being able to use your phone when there is a power outage. If the power is out and your Internet and/or computer is not working then you will not be able to make calls. In most cases this seems to be of little concern anymore with nearly everybody having a cell phone these days. If you go with a cheaper company that has an out-of-date network then you are likely to experience call quality issues an experience a good amount of static. VoIP technology has improved rapidly over the past several years and most companies have kept up, but there are those out there that offer inferior service.

Digital Television Transition FAQs

Why The Conversion? We are here today to give you all some answers about the digital broadcasting transition and explain the reasons and benefits of the digital transition. Hopefully these answers will help you all to see why the digital TV broadcasting transition is a good thing for all of us and not just another way for big corporations to make more money.

As we have said before, on February 17th, 2009 at midnight all full-power television stations will switch to a 100% digital broadcasting signal and will no longer provide any analog TV signals. The reasons for this broadcasting transition are listed below.

Better Picture Quality and Sound Quality?
After the transition most viewers should see improved clarity and color. This is indeed true for anyone that has a digital Television but this could be untrue for anyone that is using a converter box. For those using an box the results have been mixed. Some have found that they get a better picture while other have found that they no longer get some channels. Still again, others have found that they get more channels.

More Programming Options?
Comcast has said that digital broadcasting will open up the opportunity for additional channels and multi casting. This means that channels will be able to provide sub channels at no extra costs to the consumer. For example, channel 4.0 might be able to also provide channel 4.1 that airs its most popular shows at different times of the day. Then it could also provide channel 4.2 for the airing of local weather forecasts all day.

Digital television broadcasting will also allow for significantly better closed-captioning options that are not available currently.

Improved Emergency Services Communications?
After the transition some of the analog airwaves, known as the spectrum, will be opened up to emergency services such as police and firefighters. The plan here is to use these airwaves to help emergency services provide citizens with better communications.

Those are the three main benefits of digital broadcasting. The most obvious benefits include a better picture and more programming options.

If you have an old analog television and want to see the full benefits of the digital broadcasting you will need to purchase a new television. You can also get a converter box or subscribe to a paid service like cable or satellite but it will have to be the more expensive digital services since there is no digital cable converter boxes at this time.

What is the digital transition and when will it occur?
The digital television transition will officially occur on February 17th, 2009 at 12:00 a.m. midnight. At this time all full-power television stations with discontinue their television broadcasts in analog tv and will switch over to 100% digital broadcasting. Once the transition has been made it should provide consumers with better picture quality, better sound, more programming options, and it will also open up airwaves for emergency services.

How will the transition (DTV) affect me?

If you currently watch television on any analog TV that is not connected to satellite or cable then you will need to do something about it before February 17th, 2009 or it will affect you. If you do not act on February 17th, 2009 you will no longer be able to watch television stations. You will however still be able to use your TV for the viewing of DVDs, VHS, and the playing of video games.

Why is the transition taking place?

The digital transition is taking place for a couple of reasons. The first reason being that it will provide a few benefits to consumers. It will allow consumers to get better picture quality and also will provide them with more programming options. The transition will also allow analog airwaves to be opened up to the police and fire department. The remaining airwaves will then be auctioned off to provide new wireless services.

Will the transition affect me if I have cable or satellite?

No, if you have cable or satellite services you will still be able to use your analog television. Paid services will not be affect, it's only free over-the-air TV that is changing.

How do I know if I have an analog television?

If your television does not have a digital tuner in it then you will need to do something before February 17th, 2009. In order to find out if your TV has a digital tuner I would suggest consulting your owner's manual. If you do not have this anymore you can check on the internet for information about your specific model. If none of these options work then try taking a look at your television and see if it has an input connection for a "digital input" or "ATSC" (Advanced Television Systems Committee).

Are there any guidelines to follow to quickly figure out whether my television is analog or digital?

All TV sets that were made before 1998 are analog. Any big screen televisions made between 1998 and 2004 could possibly have a digital tuner built into them. Usually though this is only the case with TVs of 42 inches or larger. If it was made after 2004 there is a significantly better chance that it has a digital tuner built in. If it is one of the older sets that does not have a build in digital tuner you will of course need a converter box to continue using your television.

What can I do to continue watching shows on my analog TV after February 17th, 2009?

You can either keep your television and get an digital converter box, subscribe to cable or satellite services, or purchase a new television that has a digital tuner.

What is a digital TV converter box?

Digital TV converter boxes are brand new products that just came on the market in early 2008. They are made to hook into your TV and convert digital signals so that they will be displayed on your analog television. Without one your TV will no longer work after the switch.

Who is sponsoring the coupon program?

The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) was appointed by Congress to handle the DTV converter box coupon program.

How do you install a converter box?

They are installed by simply hooking them into a hookup spot on either the front or back of your television. TV converter box installation should be very easy and should only take a few minutes. Don't throw your antenna away either because you will need to use it in conjunction with your converter box. Sometimes however it does work better to get a specific antenna.

How much does a converter box cost?
The price for most boxes ranges from $50 to about $70.

Where can I purchase a digital converter box?
Converter boxes can be purchased from most electronics stores like Best Buy. They can also be purchased at Amazon, Wal-Mart and Target. There have been a lot of complaints and problems with the initial models so I would suggest searching reviews to make sure you get one that will work well.

Are there any coupons available that can help reduce the cost?
Yes there are coupons available to reduce the cost. As I said before the cost to purchase most converter boxes is $50-$70 but you can actually get a one for about $10-$20. This is because the government has set aside roughly $1.4 billion to help Americans pay for them. If you go to the government transition website you can apply for a coupon for $40 off your purchase. The only catch is these coupons expire after 60 days and there are a limited number of them. If you are interested in getting a coupon and savings $40 on your purchase I would suggest going to the website today to request a coupon card.

How many coupons can I get?
The government has set a limit of 2 coupons per household. If you want or need more coupons you will have to use an alternate address or purchase one on eBay.

Is there anything else I can do besides purchase a converter box so that my television will continue working?
No, there is nothing else you can do to allow your current analog TV to continue working. The only other option is to by a new television that is made to pick up digital signals. The converter essentially converts older televisions so they operate off digital signals like all new TVs.

Is there anything else I need to know about the dtv transition?
You should look at reviews to see how different converters are working. As I said before, I have read about there being many glitches and problems with many of the initial models.

Satellite TV vs. Cable TV Comparision Chart

Below we have provided a comparison chart that lists the differences between satellite and cable television. Each of these services has its own advantages and disadvantages. In general you get mostly the same programming with each, however there are some subtle differences that could make all the difference depending on your viewing habits. Do you want more HD channels? Is sports programming the most important thing to you? Or are you looking for simple and basic TV that doesn't require any cable box, receiver, DVR, satellite dish or any other equipment? These are all important things to consider when making a decision. Still, for some it won't make much of difference at all. It is in your best interest to look into all options carefully before making a decision. Especially if you decide to go with satellite, since it generally requires a contract.

The process of choosing a television service provider can be quite difficult and confusing and our chart should make things just a bit easier for you. Of course, going with a paid service is not a must, and you could always settle for free over-the-air TV with a digital TV converter box or a newer TV with a built in digital tuner..

*This chart has been updated as of February 2014. All Information Contained Within This Chart Is Deemed Reliable But Not Guaranteed Due To The Ever Changing Nature Of The Television Industry. We will however make every effort to update this chart whenever changes occur.

Satellite TVCable TV
Total Number Of SubscribersOver 30 million subscribers40 million subscribers
Signal Technology100% digitalAnalog and digital
Equipment NeededSatellite dish and receiverAnalog - none, digital - cable box
Start up CostsAll equipment and installation free with a 2 year contactFree or small activation fee
Contract OptionsContract almost always required - Includes discounted prices for the first year of serviceGenerally month-to-month with discounted prices for the first 6-12 months
Number of HD Channels200 full-time HDTV channelsUp to 200 HD channels but generally less than Satellite
Programming PackagesPrices starting at $20 for as little as 55 channels and ranging all the way up to over 285 channels for $92.99 per month (Reg. $129.99)Prices starting at $30 for as little as 15-20 channels and ranging all the way up to over $100 for 200+ channels.
Pricing ComparisonLower intro packages and lower on a per channel basis. Higher overall bill if you go with the premium or several add on packages.Generally more expensive on a per channel basis.
Average Price For 100 Channel Package$30$50
Movie PackagesHBO The Works, STARZ Super Pack, Showtime Unlimited, CinemaxHBO The Works, STARZ, Showtime, Cinemax
Sports PackagesClear leader in sports program offerings with Sunday NFL Ticket, MLB Extra Innings, NCAA Mega March Madness, NBA League Pass, NHL Center Ice, ESPN Full Court and MLS Direct Kick.Wide range of various local, regional, and national sports packages. More limited than satellite offerings
Local ChannelsIncluded for free with all packagesIncluded for free with all packages
Geographical AvailabilityAvailable anywhere nationwide via satellite signalsOnly available where wiring and infrastructure is already set up
Customer Service AvailabilityOutsourced. 24 hours per day via email, chat, or phone. 7 days a week. (phone hours limited)Walk In Stores. 24 hours per day via email, chat, or phone. 7 days a week. (phone hours limited)
Customer Service RatingFairly high but limited without the ability to walk into a store meet directly with customer service repsRated higher than satellite due to storefronts that provide the ability to meet directly with service reps
Equipment WarrantyUsually 12 months6-12 months
Special DiscountsExtremely aggressive discounts in the first year for all two year contracts with regular prices for the second yearOften offers an introductory special for 6-12 months then regular price for the rest of the time you have service
Online Streaming OptionsStreaming of some live and previously aired programsVery limited streaming options
DVR OptionsStandard and Premium DVR services offered for an additional feeStandard and Premium DVR services offered for an additional fee
Online Streaming OptionsStream most shows the day after they air along with thousands of on demand programming options.Thousands of live and on demand options
Cost For Additional Receivers/Digital Box$5-$7 per month$5-$10 per month

Features Comparison Chart Of 100s Of Different TV Converter Boxes

Brand Model S-Video Analog pass
Smart antenna Universal Remote

Other features
Access HD DTA1010-U No No Yes Yes

D, L, -N, V
Access HD DTA1010-D No No Yes No

D, L, -N, V
Access HD DTA1020-U No No No Yes

D, E, L, -N, V
Access HD DTA1020-D No No No No

D, E, L, -N, V
Access HD DTA1020A-U No Yes No Yes

D, E, L, -N, V
Access HD DTA1020A-D No Yes No No

D, E, L, -N, V
Access HD DTA1030-U No Yes No Yes

D, E, L, -N, V
Access HD DTA1030-D No Yes No No

D, E, L, -N, V
Access HD DTA1050-U No Yes No Yes

D, E, L, -N, V
Access HD DTA1050-D No Yes No No

D, E, L, -N, V
Access HD DTA1080-U No Yes No Yes

D, E, L, -N, V
Access HD DTA1080-D No Yes No No

D, E, L, -N, V
Airlink 101 ATVC101 No No No No

Airlink 101 ATVC102 No Yes No No


D, V

AMTC AT-2016 No No Yes No

Apex DT250 Yes Yes Yes No

C, D, L, V

Apex DT502 Yes Yes Yes No

C, D, L, -N, R, V

Apex DT1001 Yes No Yes No

C, U
Apex DT250A Yes Yes Yes No

Apex DT502A Yes Yes Yes No

Apex DTA250A Yes Yes Yes No

Apex DT1002 No No No No

Apex DTA205A No Yes No No

Apex DT150 No No No No

Apex DT500 No Yes No No

Artec T3A No No No No

D, E
Artec T3AP No Yes No No

C, D, E
Artec T3Ap Pro No Yes No No

D, E
AVION ATB 7707 No No No No


CASTi CAX-02 Unknown Yes Unknown Unknown

C, P

CASTi CAX-01 No No No No

C, D, P, V
CASTi CAX-03 No Yes No Yes

C, D, L, V
CASTi CAX-04 No Yes No Yes

C, D, L, V
Channel Master CM-7000 Yes No No No

D, L, V
Clear Tech CTDCB100 Unknown No Unknown Unknown

COSHIP N9900T No No No No

COSHIP N9988T No No No No

D, L, V
Craig CVD508 No Yes Yes No

D, V
Daewoo DAC-100 No No No No

Daytek CAX-01 No No No No

C, D, P
Denca NL8118 Unknown No Unknown No

C, P
Denca NL8119 Unknown No Unknown No

C, P
Denca TBX1005A Unknown No No Unknown

Digital Stream DX8700 Unknown Yes Yes Unknown

C, P
Brand Model S-Video Analog pass
Smart antenna Universal Remote

Other features
Digital Stream DSP6500R Unknown No Unknown Unknown

C, P
Digital Stream DSP7700T No No Yes Unknown

C, P
Digital Stream DSP7700P No Yes No Yes

C, P
Digital Stream DSP7500T No No No Unknown

C, P
Digital Stream DTX9900 No No No Yes

C, D, L, P, V
Digital Stream DTX9950 No Yes No Yes

C, D, L, P, V
DISH Network DTVPal No Yes No No

D, E, T, R, V
DISH Network DTVPal Plus No Yes No No

D, E, T, R, V
EchoStar TR-40 CRA No Yes No No

D, E, T, R, V
Falcon FT-200 Unknown Unknown Unknown No

C, P
Fuyai ATSC 630 Unknown No No Unknown

GE 22729 No No Yes No

C, D, L, R, V
GE 22730 No No No No

C, R, V
GE 23333 No Yes Yes No

C, D, L, R, V
GE 23334 No Yes No No

C, D, L, R, V
Goodmind DTA980 Unknown No Unknown No

Goodmind DTA900 No No No No

Goodmind DTA1000 No No Yes No

Gridlink GLT-200
No No No No

Gridlink GLT-300 No No No No

iNET Access SSR1921 No Yes Yes No

D, L
Insignia NS-DXA1 No No No No

C, D, L, P, -S, V
Insignia NS-DXA1-APT No Yes No No

C, D, L, P, V
Jiuzhou DTT6000 Unknown No Unknown No

Jiuzhou DTT9001 Unknown Yes Unknown No

jWIN Electronic Corp JD-TV1000 Unknown No Unknown No

Kingbox K8V1 No No No No

Kingbox K8V8 No No No No

Lasonic LTA-260 No No No No

Magnavox TB100MG9 No Yes No No

D, L
Magnavox TB100MW9 No No No No

C, D, L, P
Magnavox TB100MW9A No Yes No No

C, D, L, P
MaxMedia MMDTVB03 Yes Yes Yes No

MaxMedia MMDTVB02 Unknown Unknown Unknown No

MaxMedia LuTRO No Yes No No

MicroGEM MG2000 No No No No

D, E, L, V
Microprose MPI-500 No No No No

E, V
Microprose MPI-500PT No Yes No No

E, V
Mustek MAT-K50 No No Yes No

Olevia DTA100 Unknown No Unknown No

Philco TB150HH9 No Yes Yes No

Philco TB100HH9 No Yes No No

C, D, L
RCA DTA800A No No No No

C, -N, P
RCA DTA800B No No Yes Yes

C, D, L, -N, P
RCA DTA800B1 No Yes Yes Yes

C, D, L, -N, P
RCA DTA809 No Yes Yes Yes

C, D, L, P
RCA DTA809L No Yes Yes Yes

C, D, L, P
RCA STB7766G1 No Yes No Yes

C, D, L, P
Sansonic FT300RT No No No No

C, E, P
Sansonic FT300A No No No No

C, E, P
Skardin DTR-0727L Unknown Yes Unknown No

C, P
Sunkey SK-801ATSC No Yes No No

D, E, C, L, V
SVA DAC100 Unknown No Unknown No

Synergy Global Supply SYN2009 Unknown No Unknown No

TATUNG TDB3000 No No Yes No

TATUNG TDB3001 No Yes Yes No

Tivax STB-T9 No No Yes No

D, E, L, V
Tivax STB-T8 No Yes Yes No

C, D, L, V
Tunbow E60010 No No No No

Venturer STB7766G No No No Yes

E, L
Venturer STB7766G1 No Yes No No

E, L, V
Winegard RC-DT09 No No No No

C, D, E, L, -S, V
Winegard RC-DT09A No Yes No No

C, D, E, L, -S, V
Zenith DTT900 No No No No

C, D, L, P, -S, V


No Yes No Yes

C, D, L, P, V
Zentech DF2000 No No No No

C, D, E, L, V
Zentech DF2000L No Yes No No

C, D, E, L, V
Zinwell ZAT-756A Unknown No Unknown No

Zinwell ZAT-736 No No No No

Zinwell ZAT-856 No No No No

Zinwell ZAT-950 No No No No

C, D, E, L, T
Zinwell ZAT-857 No No No No

Zinwell ZAT-950A No Yes No No

C, D, E, L, T
Zinwell ZAT-970 No No No No

C, D, E, L, T
Zinwell ZAT-970A No Yes No No

C, D, E, L, T