Satellite and Cable TV Make Weight for the Title Fight

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Americans watched more television in 2010 than ever before, according to the Nielsen Company.  Considering our addiction to the almighty TV, we certainly have our preferences for how our favorite shows come streaming into our homes – preferably in brilliant color and without interference.

What are our other considerations?  Why cost, of course.  And ability to get the channels we want without a bunch of garbage attached.   We want quality equipment to be included – and that means we want to be able to record the shows we are missing while we’re at work, or when we’re watching something else that’s on in the same time slot.  Oh, and one more thing – if something goes wrong, we want to be able to call in and talk to someone who speaks a language we understand, and who is friendly and can actually help us.

Is that really too much to ask?  So, taking all that into consideration – should we get cable or satellite?

Let’s begin with COST:

There is an enormous amount of competition among satellite service providers, which is good for you and me as consumers.  Just do a quick online search to find all of the current promotions offered by satellite service providers and you will find such things as free installation, multiple rooms, free receiver upgrades, and free premium channels – all this in addition to a cut rate for a period of time.

Cable providers almost never provide free installation – they do, however, provide a “Free Installation Kit,” which includes everything you need to install your own cable service and internet modem (except the know-how).

As far as I can tell, package costs tend to be lower with satellite, and they have more channels to choose from.  Also, satellite offers HD broadcasts of most channels at no additional charge – you’ll pay extra fees, and have to upgrade your box with cable for that, only to get a few channels.

Programming Choices

For some reason the FCC has a bug up their – well, you know – about a la carte programming whether it be cable or satellite television, so that won’t be happening any time soon.  No matter which choice you make you’ll have to choose a “package” which will only partially suit your needs.

Another benefit satellite has over cable is having access to east and west coast feeds.  No matter what your schedule, you’re sure to find something on you want to watch.  This is a plus also for sports enthusiasts.  You Buccaneers fans living in California don’t have to miss the season anymore!  And when you pay for premium channels such as HBO, you don’t get just one – you get three or four variations.

I have to say that, in terms of programming choices, and price for those choices, satellite TV wins my vote.

Coverage Area and Outages

If you live in an urban area, there probably won’t be a problem getting cable TV.  However, the farther you get away from the hustle and bustle of the city, the scarcer cable lines become.

On the other hand, you will need a clear view of the southern sky for satellite reception.  If you live in an apartment without southern exposure, that could be a problem.

Satellite TV can be subject to interference by severe weather, such as snow and ice buildup.  Very heavy rain can also cause interference.  The larger satellite receivers used by the cable companies before they rebroadcast through the cable lines can withstand heavier weather.

Those Little Extras

Throw in a premium movie package and satellite is probably just a little less on a monthly basis than cable.  Yet, with satellite TV you also get a lot of those “extras” that make us so happy; like a DVR at no extra charge (usually with a commitment of some sort), the availability of XM and Sirius radio, and more sports packages than you could dream of – and don’t forget the NFL Red Zone.

Ok, I’ve made my choice.  I always want the best bang for my buck, so I’m calling DISH Network TODAY.  Just knowing I’ll get all the channels I want, and I won’t have to either pay to have it installed or install it myself – makes me do a Happy Dance!

By:  Cyd Oldham

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