Despite the popularity of streaming services, there’s still a place in homes for live TV and the programming it offers, like sports and local news, that is provided through cable and satellite television. But which type of television provider is best: satellite or cable?
In this article, we’ll help you to compare cable TV vs satellite TV so that you can make the best decision for your needs.
A Comparison: Cable TV vs Satellite TV
Satellite and cable TV providers both offer some great options, but how do they really stack up when compared to one another?
We’ll take a look at cable and satellite TV in three different arenas, so you can see which option might be best for you and your family.
Cable vs Satellite: Available Channels
When it comes to the number of channels, and therefore TV shows you’re able to receive and watch, cable and satellite television options result in something of a draw, depending on the package you receive. They both offer different packages based on the channel selection you desire.
In general, satellite TV offers less flexibility than a cable TV provider might when it comes to what channels you’re able to add to your packages. However, both do offer a wide range of channels overall.
Make sure to review the channels that providers offer before making a final choice, so you and your household can be sure you’ll be receiving the channels you want.
Cable vs Satellite: Installation
While satellite TV connections have become streamlined in recent years, customers can’t avoid having a satellite dish mounted on their homes. If you’re renting your home, this sort of installation might be too invasive. Even if you own a home, you might not prefer to have an unsightly dish sticking out of the side of your house or off your roof.
Cable TV can be connected with relative ease to very little visual effect. It only requires a small amount of wiring, which means that it’s significantly easier to install when compared to satellite TV, and it’s significantly easier on the eyes.
Again, if you’re renting, your apartment or home may already have this wiring installed, which means that it’s a simple matter of connecting your equipment and activating it.
Cable vs Satellite: Picture Quality
Your overall picture quality may depend on your location and your channel selection, regardless of whether you go with a satellite television package or a cable television package. For example, a cable TV package that offers mostly local channels may have fewer high-definition options compared to the national networks available through a dish. But a more premium cable TV package could have as many HD channels as satellite TV, if not more.
Although in many ways, comparing picture quality is becoming a moot point now that HD television has become the industry standard. In most instances, it’s likely that both cable TV and satellite TV providers will be able to offer channels of comparable quality.
However, bad weather still can affect satellite transmission, so keep that in mind depending on the likelihood of extreme weather where you live.
As before, you’ll need to check which TV channels are offered by your provider to determine which one delivers the greatest quality.
Cable vs Satellite: Cost
Pricing for cable vs satellite TV service can vary widely by area and they will often be affected by promotional specials.
Generally speaking, you may find that satellite TV providers offer a wider range of promotions and discounts. However, Consumer Reports has indicated that satellite TV prices are on the rise.
On the other hand, cable companies can offer more flexible packages of channels with a short, one-year commitment, and many times, the first year comes at a discount, too. Cable providers tend to be more likely to offer broader packages, too.
For instance with bundling, you might find a deal in which you can bundle your TV and Internet into one convenient package, which can save you money in the long run. In this day and age, nearly everyone needs access to the internet, so this is where cable companies come out ahead - they are able to provide fast broadband connectivity that many satellite providers cannot.
These advantages might make cable TV a better choice than satellite TV when it comes to cost.
Satellite vs Cable TV: Who Can Benefit from Each?
For most homeowners, cable TV is a better choice. Cable TV offers simple installation and affordable channel selection, as well as the possibility of packaging your Internet with your TV service.
Some rural customers may find that satellite TV provides them with better options than their local cable provider, however. But even these customers may still be able to take advantage of the increased competition among TV providers to find a diverse and affordable package for their home.
Satellite TV vs Cable: Which is Right for My Needs?
As much as people have come to rely on streaming services for movies and TV series, there are still plenty of reasons why live TV is important. These include:
- Watching local and national news
- Enjoying major sporting events
- Watching broadcast TV series in real-time as they are released
While your options may vary based on your area, it’s likely that you’ll find a better value from a cable TV provide, like Xfinity, Cox, or Spectrum, as opposed to a satellite service.
With easy installation and lower costs, you may also find that you can wrap your cable TV and Internet into a convenient, affordable package, without the equipment or commitment associated with satellite TV, giving you your favorite shows plus the Internet connectivity you need. Another key downside of satellite TV is that the orientation of your home is critical to getting a good satellite signal. In some urban areas and especially in apartment complexes, it can be complicated to determine where equipment can be placed, let alone if that placement even results in a lasting, quality signal.
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