When it comes to cable vs. satellite TV, there is no clear winner here. Both of these services differ in their own way. Cable uses a network of coaxial wires to connect your television to the primetime shows, whereas satellite uses wireless signals to hook you up with the local channels. Moreover, a general perception among the people is that the cable takes over satellite any day. This is not the case though. Although cable outshines satellite in many departments, satellite TV does offer some promising features.
So, what should you choose when you are moving to a new house? We all face a similar dilemma, and therefore to make the decision-making process easy, we came up with a comprehensive guide to settle the cable vs. satellite TV debate, once and for all.
We will be evaluating these services based on five different features: Pricing, Installation, Picture Quality, Channel Lineups, and Internet Services. However, we try our level best to keep everything simple and generic. After all, we only have two satellite television providers in the US contrary to hundreds of cable operators.
Let us begin:
Provided that your house isn’t already wired to a coaxial grid, cable TV requires professional installation. It necessitates setting up a cable box with your TV, for which you have to pay a monthly rental fee. All cable providers let you configure TV service yourself if your house has a pre-installed cable line, dedicated to an internet connection.
In the case of satellite TV, it requires the installation of a satellite dish on your rooftop or balcony. The satellite dish must have a clear view of the southern sky. This becomes a problem especially when you are living in an apartment with a shared wall in the South. The installation is generally a mess and takes a lot of time. If you are renting, you need permission from the owners to install the dish and the equipment has to be returned after the service ends.
Reception and Picture Quality
We live in an era of ‘high definition. From our smartphones to our TVs, we have developed a habit of watching the crystal-clear picture. While satellite offers a wonderful picture quality in terms of national channels, the cable gets you even better quality in local programming. So, if you are looking for popular channels in high definition, go with satellite.
Since cable television uses a coaxial network, it has to contend with the same constraints. It implies that your cable provider has to look at many factors while determining what resolution to use. When it comes to bandwidth, satellite does not have the same issues since most of the channels are in 1080p.
Cable and satellite offer a vast array of channels to choose from. The premium channels are a limited-time luxury, and you get to tailor a package according to your requirements in both of these. Lie top of the line being spectrum channel lineup or America’s favorite 200 by Dish TV.
The satellite has a better quality in terms of national sports and news channels, while the cable is better for all the local channels. Satellite offers more value in terms of east and west coast feeds, and a pinch of international channels which cable does not.
All of us are conscious of our monthly charges for TV and the internet. There is a good deal of variability among cable and satellite providers. The pricing for various packages differs from area to area.
On average, a satellite TV subscription is $30 to $90 per month depending on the channel lineup and premium channels in your package. The same is the case with most cable providers. Even with all the gimmicks, satellite does offer you better prices.
Cable internet is more reliable since it gets you consistent speeds through the coaxial cable network. Most of the plans are unlimited and you get more than 1 Gbps downloads. Satellite internet, contrarily, has problems with consistency. Your internet speed suffers in case of cloudy weather and therefore it is somewhat unreliable.
Satellite TV is better than cable with all these considerations in place. But why do people still prefer cable? The answer is simple. Cable TV is more flexible and takes away the hassle of installation. Satellite is more suited for rural areas and national sports fans.