1. The first thing you need to consider is the total number of channels you're going to get. Variety is the spice of life and it's also one of the most important criteria when judging a home entertainment solution. You need to have enough choices so that you're never at a loss about what to watch. The more channels you're going to get access to, the better. If you're only going to look at one criteria when shopping for a satellite TV subscription, this one would probably be the recommended one.
2. Size isn't everything though. A subscription could give you access to 300 channels but if you're not interested in any of them, how good could you possibly consider it to be? Therefore, you should have a look at a listing of channels online before signing up to see what the various providers are going to give you access to. The last thing you want to do is sign up for a service and end up not getting what you want. Don't assume that the channels you'd be interested in are automatically going to be included in your particular package.
3. You'll also want to make sure that you get access to as many full-time HD channels as possible. What good would a provider be if it didn't make use of the latest technology? You probably have a state-of-the-art television in your living room or bedroom so the least they can do is provide you with programming to take advantage of it. Be on the lookout for 1080i or 1080p programming as those are the two highest resolutions currently available.
4. Does your chosen service include DVR service for free or for a highly discounted price? DVR service used to be seen as a novelty but people are getting wise to the fact that it's vital to getting the most out of a satellite TV subscription. Given the number of channels available and all the high quality programs they feature, you're bound to find way too many good shows to watch without some help.
5. Last but certainly not least, you have to consider the price you're going to pay. Granted, there isn't going to be a big difference between the various providers, but money is money and you should take whatever you can get. You should also be on the lookout for rebates that the different providers will offer. Some satellite TV providers allow you to save money on certain upgrades if you get a higher end package from them. They can't all have the same deals, and it pays to research the differences that exist between providers.