tv screen with cable tv

Cable vs. Satellite: Which Should I Choose?

Cable vs. Satellite?

Satellite vs Cable?

Which should I choose?

The answer depends on what exactly you are looking for. Is it price? Reception quality? Availability? Access? The amount of channels?

Cable TV delivers television programming to your home or business via radio frequency signals that are transmitted through coaxial or fiber-optic cables. Reception quality can be either analog or digital. Availability is limited to whether or not there is access to cables in your area.

On the other hand, satellite TV delivers television programming via communications satellites received on an outdoor antenna, that is, a satellite dish. Since these dishes only need a southern sky exposure, they can be installed anywhere. However, reception is susceptible to heavy winds, bad weather or a damaged dish. Reception quality is 100% digital.

See the following chart for more comparisons.

Cable Satellite
Definition Delivers television programming via radio frequency signals transmitted through coaxial or fiber-optic cables Delivers television programming via communications satellites received on an outdoor antenna, a satellite dish
Equipment Cable box Dish and box
Programming Over 300 channels Over 250 channels
Reception Quality Analog and digital 100% digital
Weather Durability Affected by downed lines or power outages. Affected by heavy wind, bad weather, or damaged dish.
Availability/Access Limited by access to cables. Needs southern sky exposure.
Installation Technician to install box Technician to install dish
Pricing/Cost About $45/month About $40/month
Interactive Controls For digital cable: electronic program guide, video on demand, subscription services on demand for most areas Electronic program guides, pay per view, DVR functionality
Plan Variety/Bundle Services Readily available Sometimes available
Providers Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Charter Communications, Cox Communications, Cablevision DirecTV, DISH Network


Whether you choose cable or satellite for your home or business is dependent on your residential or commercial needs.


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