Comparing Cable TV and Satellite TV
|Cable TV is easily the most popular and prevalent household video entertainment medium in the country.
||Satellite growth is occurring rapidly (1 in 4 homes have satellite) and has had an impact on cable growth across the country.
|Cable TV equipment is significantly less cumbersome than satellite equipment, requiring simply one receiver per television for digital programming. Cable equipment is usually required to be returned upon disconnection of the service.
||Satellite equipment includes a satellite dish, or set of dishes, that must be placed outside and have a clear view of the southern sky. Boxes are also required for each TV. Most satellite receivers do come with Digital Video Recorders (DVRs). Satellite equipment is usually purchased by the user up front or can be given to them with a 12-month commitment or greater.
|Cable can support over 300 channels of programming, most of which are of digital quality and require a digital receiver. Cable offers more local channels in every city and a higher volume of pay-per-view movies. Additionally, many cable franchises now offer video-on-demand, which houses a library of movies and TV shows that can ordered or subscribed to and viewed at the subscriber's leisure. High Definition TV (HDTV) services and channels are rapidly becoming available across most cable franchises.
||Satellite can support over 250 channels of programming, all of which is of digital quality. Satellite offers less local channels and may not have local channel availability in some areas; however, satellite providers are adding local channels to their line-up. Satellite offers HDTV services to compatible TVs.
|Cable offers both analog and digital channels. Analog signals are less strong and are generally of a lower quality than digital. Digital channels offer crystal clear images and reception.
||All satellite channels are 100 percent digital quality and offer better reception across the channel lineup than cable, although satellite reception is far more dependent upon weather than cable.
|Cable pricing includes local franchise fees. Cable pricing also includes local broadcasting. Satellite pricing usually offers a better deal from the perspective of how much money is spent on a per channel basis.
||Some satellite companies offer price points below $30 for over 50 channels of viewing. Equipment pricing can be high initially unless a subscriber commits to at least 12 months of programming. A 12-month commitment will typically ensure a lower initial cost.
|Digital cable offers an electronic program guide, video on demand, and subscription services on demand in most areas.
||Satellite offers electronic program guides, pay per view, DVR functionality including the ability to record programs and rewind, fast forward and pause them during viewing.