Despite the onslaught of new technologies and services in recent years, there are still only two primary means of obtaining premium television channels in the home. Consumers are faced with the decision as to whether digital cable or satellite television is the right choice for them. Most consumers ask five questions when making their choice.
How Does the Programming and Pricing Compare?
Both cable and satellite television services can offer hundreds of channels of programming. Both offer a wide range of packages that at the lower end should be affordable for most budgets. In general, satellite prices are approximately $5 less per month when comparable programming is considered. If local channels are important, consumers need to be sure packages are priced with local channels included. Cable and satellite television services both offer local channels in most areas. For those wanting HD programming however, DISH Network satellite television currently offers the most HD programming options on the market. For those wanting games and the largest selection of music channels, DISH also has a tremendous selection.
What is Availability Like?
Availability is greatest with satellite services. Cable is not in place in some remote and rural areas. Satellite television can even be installed in mobile homes and tractor trailers. Satellite television is also now available in personal vehicles via a more streamlined satellite antenna which can attach to the roof rack on larger vehicles such as SUVs and vans.
What Equipment is Needed?
As the world goes digital, more equipment is often necessary. For instance, a cable user might need to add a converter box. Receivers are also needed; many satellite companies now offer free equipment including receivers for HDTV. Obviously with satellite television a dish is required. Some satellite television providers offer the dish at no cost and it is relatively compact.
What Kind of Customer Service is Available?
Cable companies generally have stores in the local area allowing consumers to have face-to-face interaction with the provider of their service. On the other hand, local companies install dish systems and are available for one-to-one interaction for any related issues or questions. Satellite companies tend to have availability via the internet and phone 24 hours a day. It is important to consider that satellite television services have consistently ranked higher than cable services in customer satisfaction over the past 5 years as reported by JD Power & Associates.
How Does the Picture Quality Compare?
Satellite television offers better picture quality than analog cable. However digital cable and satellite are comparable. Like digital cable, satellite television provides DVD quality picture and sound. Both signals are capable of providing state of the art image quality.
Obviously, consumers have good viewing options for hundreds of premium television channels with both cable and satellite television. Cable television offers the advantage of living satellite dish free. On the other hand, satellite television appears to offer more HD programming options, greater availability in vehicles and in more remote areas, a slight price advantage, and in general, has demonstrated a history of better customer satisfaction. Consumers can make the choice between cable and satellite by determining which benefits are of most valuto them.