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Decision Time: Satellite or Cable

Shopping for new TV service? Read on and learn vital information to help you find the best deal on satellite or cable service.

Author: Mitchell Crew
Date: Jan 6, 2010 - 5:59:16 PM

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If you’ve moved recently or want to explore your TV service options now that the analog era has passed, then you might find yourself exploring satellite or cable.   For many, questions abound. Who offers a premier product, a better price, superior reliability?   Continue reading for a thorough examination of the ways cable and satellite compare.

Differences between satellite and cable begin to appear when you examine how they run signal.   If you opt for service from a provider like Dish Network, your roof-mounted dish will pick up a signal from a geostationary satellite located far above the earth’s equator.   Cable works a little differently.   It relies on an underground system of coaxial cables that relay signal from the provider hub all the way to your home.   In either case, all TV signal is now full digital.   This equals clearer picture and sound, plus many more available channels than analog could ever offer.

On the issue of reliability, independent research favors satellite.   This may come as surprise to many, namely because satellite sometimes garners unfortunate misconceptions about its reliability.   A satellite viewer will witness about 15 minutes of service downtime.   In that same timespan, a cable subscriber can experience service interruption as high as 20-plus hours.   Choose satellite or cable and you’ll receive much more reliable service versus analog.   Frequent headaches like fuzzy picture and garbled sound have mostly vanished thanks to satellite and cable.  

Having access to reliable entertainment helps usher in peace of mind.   Chances are, the cost of service represents a concern.   Overall, satellite’s done a much better job of keeping rates affordable and steady.   A long number of years have passed since the satellite industry has increased rates.   Pretty much any name in the cable business will hike prices at least once a year.   Though satellite has a rep for consistency, DishNetwork actually has a surprise for new subscribers.   Get approved and activate service and you can tune into more than 120 stations at a monthly price of $24.99 for an entire year.   A similar package, if available, from a cable provider could easily cost you four times as much.  

Now that you’ve developed a basic sense of what to expect from cable and satellite, you might want to consider adding HD programming to your TV lineup.   Usually, that’ll run extra, but both satellite and cable offer a nice mix of channels at a price that’s manageable.   In terms of superior picture and sound quality, satellite HD resolution runs as high as 1080 p.   With cable it reaches a max of 720.  

Many TV watchers feel as strongly about the amenities as they do any other aspect of TV service.   And, that’s no crime.   After all, the perks can really boost your home entertainment experience.   Including features like video on-demand, pay-per-view events and movies, and DVR technology is easy and affordable: same thing if you decide to add premium channels to the mix.   As an added bonus, DishNetwork currently offers approved, new subscribers HBO and Showtime at no cost for three months.  

View all articles by Mitchell Crew

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