Saudi Arabia: The Ease of Satellite TV

Today satellite dishes proliferate the rooftops of homes and businesses in Saudi Arabia.  Saudi families can have satellite tv offering thousands of channels in just a few short hours.

What is nice about satellite tv in Saudi Arabia as compared to say the United States is that it is so easy and simple to get connected and start viewing.

All a Saudi needs to do is purchase the dish and receiver and then have a technician install the dish.  The smarter and craftier the technician the more channels a family will receive.  Better yet, once the installation is complete there are no monthly payments to worry about.  Unless, of course, one decides to subscribe to a service which provides premium channels.

Whereas in the United States a family generally has to choose between either cable or satellite services.  Once the decision is made and installation complete, then monthly fees must be paid.  Additionally the rates increase substantially each year for the same service.

I’m actually doing some shopping right now on what services I want and choose to retain.  My cable bill was increased by 50 per cent this past month.  Yet at the same time the cable company is attempting to gain new subscribers offering massive discount rates.  When I called to negotiate there was no room for negotiation.  The cable company (Time Warner Cable) would rather lose an existing customer.

It makes me miss the ease and budget friendliness of getting services in Saudi Arabia!


22 Responses

  1. Ugh! I hate Time Warner Cable. I have them for internet service and they are so high.

  2. The comparison between the US and Saudi Arabia and the assumption that all the participants in this discussion are stupid are pathetic. Anyone who does not know the difference between life in the US and in Saudi Arabia would think living in Saudi Arabia is better than in the US. Others could fill in rest..

  3. Why not drop them for a month and then become a new customer?

  4. @Ali,
    Saudi may be better in terms of satellite. I don’t know about cost-wise but we certainly get a wider range of channels here. That doesn’t make living in Saudi Arabia better- or indicate participants in this discussion are stupid. This blog is very open to different opinions- if you want to make a case that satellite service is better in the US go ahead and make it.

    Certainly cell phone service and options is better in Saudi than the US.

  5. Doesn’t it depend on the satellite your receiving how many channels you can get? my parents had the Astra satellite and we had hundreds of channels from different languages too.
    A lot of German ones.

  6. No one in the entire topic did Carol imply living in Saudi Arabia is better than USA. This topic is simply about how easy it is to connect to hundreds of channels just by installing a satellite dish. And how she misses “the ease and budget friendliness of getting services in Saudi Arabia!” And I find it very rude of you Ali to call Carol as being presumptuous of the commenters intellects and her effort as pathetic. Maybe you should understand the topic first before hurling your random comment???

  7. I mean no WHERE, not no ONE…typo

  8. I have the same issue with the cell phone, contracts and service and all..
    In most other countries , you buy a certain no of min and use it , apparently that’s taking off here Too.

    if you have only 1 company in your area not much you can do, however if you are ok with seeing a show a bit late, most shows are streamed int eh internet these days. so you could just dump cable , i love the appletv . although we need dish for when my parents visit or My son’s sports channels..

  9. Actually I don’t have a tv. I prefer to do stuff in the evening, read, go to my horse, visit friends or make new clothes…

  10. I’m with you, Susanne! TWC has become ridiculous! I just hope that my location will be suitable for a small dish.

    You’re right Sandy – mobile phone service are also much better in Saudi along with satellite tv as compared to the United States.

    @Ali – I think your comment to this particular post was harsh and jumping the gun. In my experience satellite tv services are more economical in Saudi.

  11. Cell service. Let’s talk Tabuk. When it is windy, the service sucks. If there is solar activity, the service sucks. If it rains, and thank heaven that is a rare event, the service sucks. If we drive to Al Ula, there is a 50 km stretch of no service. If we drive to Riyadh, there is a 150 km stretch of no service. In the States, I have Verizon. The only time I have no signal is when I’m in a tunnel or in an elevator and that is from coast to coast. As for the satelite tv service we have an OSN package. Getting the satelite and the box and having a tech set it up iwithout a package is pirating no matter how you slice it. We pay around $200/ month. Pricey by US standards for a similar channel packege.

  12. Linda, there are many free channels that are not pirating and you can have a technician set that up. Westerners (among many others) want OSN because so much is in English and it is the programming we miss. But even free channels include CNN, and MBC 4 for example. Many channels throughout the mid east, Europe, and Asia are free if you have a dish and reciever.

    I think cell coverage depends on where you live. Where I lived in Califonia- I had bad Verizon coverage. And then bad Virgin coverage when I switched providers. My mom had poor AT&T in the same area. In mountain areas- there is a lot of signal disruption- including near major highways. So service coverage seems pretty comparable.

    However, in Saudi it is much easier to buy whatever phone you want- none of them are “locked” you are not required to sign 2 year contracts for service. You can also swap out your chip if you are in Europe with a local number. The US is pretty much not on board with all that.

  13. I agree with Sandy. When we had our satellite tv in Saudi we did not have any pirated channels although we had more channels than I could certainly count! Like Sandy wrote though, we had more Arab channels than English channels but it is a great way to also become more proficient in Arabic!

    Speaking of mobile phone service, I was so surprised how Saudi had models of phones available which one did not see yet in the US!

  14. I like the being able to switch sim-cards. I use that all the time in different countries. The only provider I can get a sim card with in America is T-Mobile, and it is very expensive, and I get endless spam calls and text messages.

  15. You’re right, Aafke. I don’t know of any other providers in the US. In fact when my son and DIL went on holiday outside of the country they borrowed one of my Saudi mobiles so they would have a phone they could use!

  16. Ph service outside US has better options, more flexiility and cost effective.
    We switch our phones to international when we travel and it costs us a big hefty rate. so this time i got a ph from india , and swap out sim cards adn lo cheap and best !!!!

  17. @Aafke,
    There are some phones with other providers that allow you to switch the sim card, but they are not easy to find. For example, I know someone with Sprint who has a phone with a removable SIM card, but this was the only phone that allowed the SIM card to be removed out of all of the ones available at the time through Sprint.

    I have a UK mobile that is a bit old but at least it allows me to switch the SIM cards out! Otherwise, I’d just recommend buying a cheap phone when you get to the other country for calling and keeping the US one handy for phone numbers.

  18. Tip: If you are stuck in Europe with an American phone you can’t swap simcards on and you just want to be able to call local people and be called, you can always buy a ”burner”: a cheap simple phone complete with sim card and minutes. You can choose how many minutes you want on the card.

  19. Strange one, I have a phone with swappable simcard, I swap cards all the time, I buy a simcard from Tmobile when I am in America. But it is quite expensive and like I said, I get a lot of spam. I had to get used to that.

    Another good option is phoning via Gtalk, you can add your mobile phones to the Gtalk number and that way people can call you, if you are on you get the call via the computer, and if you’re not it gets switched to your cell phone automatically.

  20. As far as I know you can never watch channels which require payment without a decoder and card. So if you get your own satellite and nothing else, all the programs you can receive are free and are meant to be free.
    The channels don’t depend on the country you are in, but more on which satellite your dish is aimed at, which ones it can be aimed at.

  21. very cool

  22. can any one tell me how can i get PBS kids’ channel here in Saudi Arabia by using dish net work? Thanks

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