Making the Choice: Satellite or Cable?

Posted in Technology

For the past several decades, cable and satellite television services have been competing head to head in an effort to win consumers’ dollars, with each side of the argument listing accomplishments and features that the other side just can’t match. For a while, it seemed as if cable television services had won this debate. Their argument was that they simply had more HD channels and a more reliable service. That argument, though, has been wildly inaccurate over time, as new technological developments have propelled satellite options to new heights.

satelite tv

Availability: A Look at Cable vs. Satellite

One of the primary limitations of cable is that the service is simply not available in areas where the cable operator has not installed their actual cables. This is most often the case is very remote or rural communities, as well as areas where forces opposed to development have prevented the company from making its services available. Without cable wires nearby, consumers will need to either use an antenna to receive broadcast signals or opt for a satellite option.

Increasingly, that’s what customers are doing. In fact, many customers are opting for satellite even where cable is available. The reason is simple: Satellite television service is essentially universal in its size and scope. The satellite used to transmit broadcasts can reach virtually every home in the United States, and all it requires is a proper satellite dish that can receive the signal. No network build-out, no cable company support, and no unsightly wires are required.

In urban environments, satellite signals are higher quality, more reliable, and easier to install than cable competitors. Recent developments have made satellite more accessible to urban dwellers, especially because satellite dishes are now very small and able to be installed right onto a building.

Superior High Definition Broadcasts: Cable Loses this Battle Soundly

It was once the case that satellite companies weren’t able to deliver the same high number of HD channels to their customers that cable companies offered. Thanks to new technologies, better satellites, and better contracts with content providers, that is now not the case. In fact, satellite services in the past few years have been able to offer far more HD channels to their subscribers than either cable or FiOS, soundly beating the marketing with all-digital, MPEG-4 broadcasts that are highly reliable during transmission and better quality than cable company offerings during viewing.

Of course, some channels are still offered only in standard definition by their parent companies. That’s understandable, as many smaller networks simply don’t have the equipment necessary to produce and transmit HD signals. For those channels, satellite broadcasts are all-digital. In fact, the all-digital nature of satellite television programming beat competing cable installations to the game by roughly a decade. While many cable customers were just starting to learn about all-digital options, satellite subscribers were entering their 10th year of all-digital, high-quality broadcasts nationwide.

Universal Service, Great Quality, and More Choices: Satellite TV is the Logical Option

Satellite TV is a “come from behind” success story that has managed to beat cable programming at its own game. With universal availability nationwide, more HD programming options than cable or FiOS, and a longer commitment to all-digital programming, satellite represents an affordable, forward-thinking alternative to cable conglomerates that many homeowners will greet as refreshing and a welcome change of pace.


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