We have used Dish Network for 10 years with no problems. There is no difference in the "signal" and to say that it's hard to get with Dish Network is a little off base. If you are aligning the dish yourself to find the satellite and get a signal it will take a bit of practice to do with either service. We always used the on screen setup with Dish. We had a crank up dish on our old rig and the biggest thing to understand is that the actual antenna itself MUST be level (which means the rig has to be level). If it isn't then the number you get from the setup screen will have to be adjusted, mostly the elevation numbers. If you use a tripod then it's best to get the tripod set level before you attempt to set the elevation and azimuth.
With either system you will need to know the Azimuth and Elevation at which to set the dish depending on the zip code you are in. With the Dish network receivers you can go to the aim dish screen (menu key, then 6, 1, 1) and enter the zip code into the box. It will then give you the Azimuth in degrees (will be in the southern hemisphere, up here in the northwest it is usually around 155 degrees which is southeast) and the elevation which for us again is usually around 35 degrees give or take. If the dish isn't completely level then these numbers will have to chage and that just takes a bit of guess work. The signal bar on the installation screen will increase as the signal gets better. It's kinda hard to explain in words, it would be best if someone local could show you. I could usually set up our Dish Network within a matter of minutes with our old rig and the crank up dish. Now I have an automatic one so I just push a button and let the antenna do it.
As far as I know the Dish 500 system was a single LNB (one satellite at a time) the Dish 1000 system is a dual LNB or two satellites at once. Either should work just fine.
My in-laws have Direct TV. They don't like (and I didn't like) the way they were treated when they needed service. I have also had several friends at work that found their customer service to be a bit lacking but I am sure you will find just as many people that like them too. You have to decide which you like best.