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Satellite TV And Cable

Ever since its inception, cable television has dominated the paid television market. For many years, it was the only option available and held a virtual monopoly over this burgeoning industry. However, with the launch of direct broadcast satellite (DBS) television services or digital satellite TV, satellite TV has surged in popularity to the point where it is a viable competitor to cable television.

Although cable television is still the leader in the paid television market, satellite TV has been growing at an exponential rate to the point where it is feasible that it will overtake the cable television giant. Before examining the various issues and features where it is possible to compare cable TV and satellite TV, it is important to explain the technological differences between cable television and satellite television.

Old vs New
Cable TV utilizes conventional broadcast television technology. Under broadcast television, powerful antennas were used to broadcast content to smaller receiving antennas. Through this arrangement, the only requirement was that there was a direct line of sight between the larger broadcasting antennas and the receiving antennas. However, broadcasting television technology is restricted by interruptions caused by the Earth's curvature. This has limited the reach of cable television and the quality of sound and picture being transmitted from the broadcasting antenna to the receiving antenna.

Conversely, satellite TV solves the broadcasting problem caused by the earth's curvature that has restricted broadcast and cable TV. This is because satellite TV utilizes television satellites that are situated in the geostationary orbit. These television satellites are each launched into space at approximately 7,000 mph to reach a distance of about 22,200 miles above the Earth.

Due to its location, these satellites bypass the problem of the Earth's curvature as it mirrors the Earth's orbit. The broadcast satellite then transmits signals that it receives from programming stations to satellite dishes, which are aligned to aim at these broadcast satellites. As a result of this, satellite TV has a broader reach and has the capability to hold more television content while producing a higher quality sound and picture quality.

Doubting Thomas
Still, there are many people that are skeptical of satellite TV due to the fact that it is relatively new. Many individuals prefer the convenience of cable television and do not want to deal with issues caused by satellite dishes. As a result, it is important to look at the issues that affect the paid television market in order to come up with a thorough analysis of what satellite TV and cable TV have to offer.

What Suits You
The following comparisons will be made to help you decide which of the satellite TV and cable TV services you would prefer:

Popularity Although cable television still remains the more popular of the two forms of paid television service, satellite TV has grown to the point where it has negatively impacted cable TV's growth. However, it remains to be seen whether or not cable TV will be able to continue its dominance over the paid television market.

Quality of Transmission When satellite TV technology was first introduced, it was praised for its higher quality of picture and sound. However, as satellite TV has grown as a competitor, cable TV has responded by drastically improving its quality of transmission. As a result, both cable TV and satellite TV offer 100% high quality digital signals.

Quality of Reception Despite being 100% digital, digital cable still has its restrictions. This is because analog channels will still produce analog quality of reception regardless of the presence of digital equipment. For satellite TV owners, digital signals are the norm, which leads to better quality reception. However, satellite TV reception can be disrupted with interference caused by heavy rain, snow or nearby trees.

Required Equipment Cable television offers a minimal setup in which a set-top box is only required for digital cable. Satellite TV, on the other hand, requires that its subscribers have a satellite dish installed and that they have a receiver.

Programming and Availability Cable television packages will vary in the programming and availability that it can offer. A basic cable TV package will be limited when compared to satellite TV. However, digital cable can support up to 260 channels. There are also option packages available for digital cable TV that supports pay per view services. Satellite TV technology is able to hold more channels than cable providers. It is also ahead of cable when it comes to supporting High Definition (HDTV) channels. However, cable TV offers viewers more local and community channel options. Conversely, satellite TV provides viewers with a higher selection of international and sports programming.

Pricing There is some controversy when comparing cable TV prices and satellite TV prices but for the most part, satellite TV can frequently cost less than cable TV. Satellite TV usually offers more channels per dollar spent for the viewer than cable TV. Satellite TV providers also usually offer free equipment and installation in exchange for a 12-month subscription to their service. However, local channels are not packaged in satellite TV packages and require an extra cost for these channels to be included. Cable TV contains local channels and usually offers a price that seems less than satellite TV. Yet, cable TV contains many additional costs such as franchise fees, taxes, equipment costs and pay per view costs making it more expensive than satellite TV.

Parental Control Both satellite TV and cable TV service (only digital cable) offer parental control, which allows parents to restrict programming that they do not want their children to see.

Internet Availability Satellite TV and cable TV offer internet services. However, cable TV technology provides a high speed broadband internet connection that is much faster than the internet services that satellite TV offer. Additionally, Internet service through satellite TV technology has a higher initial setup fee.

Interactive Services Support For the most part, digital cable TV has fewer interactive features than satellite TV. However, digital cable does provide an electronic program guide to assist digital cable TV viewers. Satellite TV, on the other hand, has made interactive services support one of its platforms to compete with cable TV. Satellite TV contains fantastic features that are not available through cable services such as: Personal Video Recording (PVR), that allows viewers to pause and rewind live broadcasts; electronic program guide; instant weather; and video on demand.

Customer Service Both satellite TV and cable TV provide fantastic online services that are designed to assist the customer. They both make it possible for customers to view current and prior statements, add packages and make account payments online. Additionally, they both provide online user manuals and installation guides for easy retrieval for their customers.

Warranty Satellite TV and cable TV providers have a similar standard when it comes to customer warranty. All providers should offer a full year warranty that commences on the day of service activation. These providers should also have a 24-hour customer service line for customer assistance.

Hammer Visit the forum to read what other people think about their satellite TV.