This article is from the Satellite TV FAQ, by Gary Bourgois firstname.lastname@example.org with numerous contributions by others.
We often receive this question, and it is not an easy one to answer.
this depends on what YOU want. We recommend you go to a reputable
local satellite dealer, and LOOK at the systems on display. Do not buy
the first system you are shown, and if you are not sure exactly what
you want, do not be pressured into buying immediately. The system will
be there tomorrow AND the next day. You CAN save a LOT of money buying
mail order, but you will have to install the system yourself. By
looking at the types of receivers/dishes available, you will get
familiar with what Satellite TV is all about. There are advantages and
disadvantages with virtually EVERY receiver on the market, so there is
no blanket answer to which system is the best for YOU. We suggest you
spend a LOT of time looking at all the available systems out there. A
good place to start is in your YELLOW PAGES under SATELLITE TV. Visit
as many dealers as you can. You may still decide on mail ordering a
system, there is no law that says you HAVE to buy from the local guy.
Unless you want a totally installed system. Even so SHOP AROUND.
Beware high pressure tactics to buy every bell and whistle available.