Satellite TV Vs Cable TV: Top 5 Comparison

Television viewing used to be as simple as positioning an antenna on your roof; wiring was attached between the antenna and your set inside the home. It is still possible to receive free television over-the-air, but it has many limitations and reception issues. Luckily, technology has advanced considerably to offer two main types of television viewing service options: satellite or cable.

Although both television pay services provide viewers with a myriad of different channels to choose from, there are several differences between the carrier types, such as equipment, fees, programming, reliability, and reception quality. Comparing the two services together can help the consumer choose his or her best personal option for home television excitement.


The majority of homes have previously installed cable outlets into the physical building. These preexisting cable access points make cable television simple to install with minimal equipment; commonly, only a cable box for each desired television is necessary to receive cable.

An installer just needs to run coaxial cable from the cable access points to the individual boxes and images appear on the television. Even if the consumer is requesting a DVR (Digital Video Recorder) cable box, the basic installation and equipment are the same.

In contrast, satellite installation requires more equipment. A dish must be installed at a high point on a home, such as the roof, to receive the space communication. In addition, cabling must be routed from the dish to each television receiver box installed in the home, including DVR box types.

Consumers do not usually need to purchase the dish outright since many service companies are trying to outfit as many homes as possible with this service type for future customers.


Overall, most cable packages will cost a bit more than space originating services since local taxes must be incorporated into the monthly service charges, making each individual channel more expensive than a comparable space signal. But, many space communication services require separate fees for multiple boxes within one home.

Both services also have different bundles of channels that can change the monthly fee structure; in general, space service will normally provide more main television channels for less in one bundle, but charge for additional channels at a premium. Cable television will charge more upfront fees for the basic channel lineup, but will bill less for subsequent channel packages.


Space services are known for more channel choices since the signals originate from Earth orbiting equipment which allows more channel access from different states or even countries. Consumers should keep in mind that cable television is from a local service source; local television channels will be part of the basic programming available through cable without any extra fees.

Since space signals must allocate certain local channels to different customers throughout the nation, most service companies charge an extra fee just to access the local channel feeds. Currently, both services now provide digital programming, rather than an analog feed for cable television, since the United States mandated the digital change in 2009.


On average, cable television has more service interruptions than space signal services. These interruptions are mainly due to wiring issues between the service provider and the individual homes. In contrast, space signals do not have any physical wiring that can fail which makes it have less interruptions over the course of the service.

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Reception Quality

If you live in a region that receives a lot of cloud cover or periodic storms, space signal services will have interruptions from the bad weather. Signals cannot penetrate through thick cloud cover; as a result, programming becomes pixelated and blacks out.

On the other hand, cable television can withstand bad weather, unless a physical wire is damaged. Consumers will need to decide for themselves which service works best in their particular area.

Overall, both service types provide a fun television experience with a few key differences in fee structures and channel lineups. In the end, choosing between cable and space signals is a personal choice for each consumer.


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