There are countless advertising campaigns going on comparing satellite TV to cable TV, and a lot of information (most of it slanted to one side or the other) is flowing out there. We’re here to set the record straight, and go point by point on the relative merits of each so that you can make an informed and intelligent decision about which one is best for you.
The installation costs of satellite TV versus cable TV are about the same; in other words, in most cases you can find a deal where the installation is free. Both will install the service to multiple rooms in your house and both have approximately the same amount of wait time to schedule an installation appointment, generally a couple of days. So on this particular point, it is a tie.
Available Coverage Area
With cable, you have to be in a neighborhood where cable runs out to – in urban areas, this isn’t that difficult to find, but as you get farther away from the cities, it’s less likely that you will have cable TV services available. For satellite reception, you need a clear view of the southern sky. However, there is a dish to install; if you’re in an apartment that doesn’t face south, or where the landlord won’t let you mount a dish, you have no alternatives. More apartment owners are coming around on this, however, and quite a few will now have their maintenance people help with the install.
On the point of available coverage area, satellite TV wins by a large margin today.
This is where satellite TV wins hands down. Unlike cable, where you have to buy packages of channels you don’t want to get the channels you do want, satellite TV allows you to buy the channels you want with no packaging. Plus, both of the major satellite providers have switched to full digital signals, and offer HD broadcasts at no additional charge. Compare this to digital cable, where you’re often paying twice as much to get four to eight channels in HD, as opposed to satellite TV where every movie channel, every sports channel, and even a lot of the “basic cable” networks are all coming in with full HD (High Definition).
On top of that, satellite TV lets you get full access to every feed – if your schedule doesn’t let you catch your favorite program, odds are between the east coast and west coast feeds, you can find something you like; you’ll also find that there isn’t just one HBO channel when you select it off the menu, there are three or four variations to work from, depending on the service.
So in terms of programming choices and the price for those choices, satellite TV wins the vote by a very large margin.
Satellite TV is, depending on your market, about the same monthly price as cable with a movie plan of some sort; it’s usually cheaper than digital cable. For that price, you get a lot of choices cable doesn’t offer, like a set top box with a DVR (Digital Video Recorder) built in, the ability to get Sirius and XM radio broadcasts as part of the package, and a vastly wider array of sports packages like the NFL network, and the NFL ticket game plan.
The choice is obvious – satellite TV wins over cable TV, and it is not even a close contest. When you are looking for the best value in home entertainment video broadcasts, including a free DVR and HD broadcasts on more channels with a much larger channel selection, satellite TV is clearly the way to go.