Most people have trouble deciding whether to choose a satellite or cable subscription. And this is quite understandable as we are bombarded everyday with marketing gimmicks that tell us to buy or sign up for something that may, in the end, not help in maximizing our HDTV viewing.
To avoid this frustration, the very first thing to assess would be your family’s entertainment needs. Do you prefer watching only the programming that the national networks NBC and ABC broadcast? Does your family often get pay-per-view shows and record them to add to the family’s wide collection of titles on demand? Or is your family a big fan of sports?
Firstly, cable and satellite service providers offer varying line up of TV programming. If it’s the national networks you often watch, then cable would do. If you often purchase pay-per-view titles, then cable is the way to go. The downside to this however is that you won’t be able to record the program while it is being broadcast as opposed to the titles on demand you purchase from the satellite provider. This is because once you sign up for a subscription from a satellite service provider they will provide you with a Digital Video Recorder (DVR), a smart machine that is capable of recording even if you pause or rewind the show during live broadcast. If your family follows local sports teams closely, then cable would be the best bet. While satellite service providers offer local and national sports channels, they are typically bundled up in a separate subscription. This essentially means that you will have to pay for the special subscription to get feeds for local and national sports events. However, if your family is a big fan of the National Football League, then going for the satellite subscription should be considered. This is especially true if you expect to watch out-of-market competitions of the NFL. Since a particular satellite service provider has the exclusive rights to air the NFL games, then subscribing to their service is the only way.
Another significant difference is the budget. Cable service providers give out promotional offers of Internet connection and digital phone subscription bundled with the main cable TV subscription which could save you a lot. And just imagine how convenient it would be to receive only one copy of the bill for all three services. Satellite service providers do not have these offers also they provide promos such as free subscription to a specific channel for three months for first time customers.
The other consideration would be the reliability. Since satellite feeds are received through the dish, there would be times when signal wouldn’t be that good. This is especially noticeable during heavy downpour of rain or snow.
In the end, it’s all about your family’s viewing needs and habits. That is why it is crucial to properly evaluate these patterns of your family’s TV watching to aid you in choosing between satellite and cable.