Cable companies once had a monopoly in providing television programming packages. There was only one local cable provider, and the local cable company dictated which television channels were available and how much to charge for television programming packages. With the introduction of satellite television, people were no longer forced to subscribe to the local cable company for television programming packages. Does satellite television offer more of the same, or is there a difference between cable and satellite television?
Cable television provides a picture quality that is superior over an antenna. Cable also provides a lot more channels than can be provided with an antenna. Cable television companies have a reputation for charging high prices for their programming packages. They will advertise special prices for a year or two for new subscribers, but after that the monthly subscription charges leap to the standard price. Cable television companies give the impression that they are more interested in luring new customers than taking care of loyal ones.
Satellite programming packages may provide a savings over cable programming packages, but require additional equipment to install. Installation may be provided free of charge, dependent upon the satellite provider. While satellite television providers may offer special offers to new customers, programming packages are generally more affordable when compared to the cost for cable. Satellite television may require additional receivers for multiple rooms. Dual tuner receivers are now available, which may require broadband internet service.
The homeowner association covenants in some neighborhoods may restrict the use of satellite dishes. However, a regulation released by the FCC on August 6, 1996 preempts homeowner association covenants and area zoning ordinances which restrict direct broadcast satellite (DBS) dish antennas.
The satellite television dish antenna requires a clear path between the antenna and the satellite to receive the television signal. Snow or extreme weather can interfere with this signal. If snow collects on the antenna it can be brushed off. However, the antenna may be mounted in a location that is not easily accessible. The growth of trees over time can also block a satellite signal.
Most new homes are pre-wired to be cable television ready. While an underground broadband connection may not have weather related problems to an individual home, it does not guarantee an uninterrupted signal. Disruptions in a trunk cable (main bundle) can affect an entire neighborhood.
With the explosion of digital television, satellite television programming has been at the forefront of providing digital channels. Digital programming is required to provide the ultimate viewing experience with a high definition television (HDTV).
Neither cable nor satellite television providers offer choices of individual channels. Consumers must choose between various programming packages. Both cable and satellite television providers offer premium movie channels, pay-per-view and movies-on-demand. Ultimately, the choice between cable and satellite television is left up to the individual.