The differences between cable TV and satellite TV aren’t all that great . But there are a couple of differences you should be aware of if you’re thinking about purchasing cable or satellite TV service. Here they are in a nutshell .
On average, cable TV costs $10 to $25 a month more than satellite TV due in part to the fact that cable providers must pay local fees and taxes which satellite companies don’t have to pay.
As an example, in my neck of the woods cable TV costs $57 a month for 142 satellite channels, while I can get Dish Network for $24.99 a month for 190 channels, plus 3 months of HBO, Cinemax, Showtime, and Starz.
As far as price increases, cable prices have increased by 40% since 1998, while Dish Network and DirecTV’s prices have increased by only 8% in the same time period.
With cable TV you get a receiver that receives a television signal from a cable TV company through an underground coaxial or fiber optic cable. The receiver translates that signal and sends it to your TV.
With satellite TV you get a dish that captures the signal from a satellite, and a receiver that translates that signal and sends it to your TV.
Cable companies charge $3 to $5 a month extra for each receiver, while Dish Network and DirecTV receivers are free.
Digital video recorders, or DVRs, allow you to record your favorite shows. They also allow you to pause the show you’re watching so you can get a snack, answer the phone, or whatever else you need to do, then resume watching your show when you’re ready.
With the average cable DVRs you’ll be able to record 2 shows at once, and record 100 hours of programming. So if you have 3 shows that come on at the same time you can record one and watch one, or record both shows, but you’ll miss the third show.`
Dish Network, on the other hand, allows you to record 6 different shows at once, and you’ll be able to record up to 2,000 hours of programming, so you won’t miss any of your favorite shows. With DirecTV you can actually record 4 different television shows at once, and record 1,000 hours of programming.
Thanks to the competition between cable and satellite TV companies, equipment installation for either one is free. You want to make sure you get a reliable installation company and a qualified installer, or you may experience equipment problems down the line.
Cable TV outages average 3% to 5% depending on the company that installs the cable system, while Dish Network and DirecTV outages average 1%.
The ASCI (American Customer Satisfaction Index) ranks Dish Network and DirecTV as number one and number two among all satellite and cable providers for customer experience, customer satisfaction, customer loyalty, and overall value.
Customer service for most satellite and cable TV providers is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week including holidays, and with most companies the service is pretty good.
The Bottom Line
When it comes to program variety, number of channels, recording capability, reliability, cost, and customer satisfaction, satellite TV beats cable TV hands down.