Free Satellite TV Or Cable: Does It Really Matter?
As the big shots of the satellite TV industry do on-air battle with the giants of cable tv, you may have already found yourself wondering. does it really matter? I mean, aren't we talking about different techno-roads to the same place here? Six of one, half dozen of another? For Pete's sake, I just want to watch the game!!
I'm going to let the cat out of the bag right away here - I've actually found an unequivocal answer to this very important TV question: satellite is beating the snot out of cable every day of the week. Ok, so now that I've let you in on my subtle bias, let me lay out for you why satellite is eating cable's lunch and sending the cable guys into boardroom frenzies.
Lets first talk about where they both compete evenly. Both cable and satellite offer lots and lots of programming-including local channels. Oops. that apparently is where the similarity ends.
How do they compare in regard to technology and delivery?
With satellite TV, your favorite shows come straight from the satellite (out in peaceful, quiet space) to your dish/tv. Pretty simple. The cable company, on the other hand, has to first acquire the signal from a satellite themselves (surprise!), then they must snake it through miles of fragile 'cable' until it arrives at your TV. Here's my point: storms, wayward construction crews, landscapers, and car accidents among other things, can all inadvertently knock out your cable. My local cable company has almost always got a nice disclaimer on their tech support hotline referring to some weather disaster resulting in 'interruption of service' to some portion of your region, and that they are working as fast as possible to correct the problem (and call hold times may be lengthy as a result-GREAT!).
Here's the good news for satellite TV customers: there are no storms, wayward earth movers or landscapers in SPACE! The cold, hard truth is that cable tv viewers experience MORE service problems, not fewer (contrary to what those finger-pointing cable industry advertisements say) than their satellite viewing counterparts. If you're not convinced, just poll ten of your friends or neighbors with cable tv, and then another ten with satellite and see how many reception and "interruptions of service" problems they report. I promise you the satellite customers are far less concerned about "the weather" than their cable watching neighbors.
You're also going to get more for less with satellite, hands down. Most satellite providers offer DVRs (along with free satellite installation for multiple rooms) as standard equipment, where most cable companies treat DVR as an upgrade to nickel and dime you with (along with a list of other fees the cable industry will get you with) .
And that leads me to the next big issue in the cable-satellite face off. In a word: competition. Satellite has actually got some. As a TV consumer, I just love a market economy, don't you? Your local cable company competes with the satellite industry, but not with anyone else. The satellite TV industry is filled with many small and large wholesalers that must compete with each other as well as with the cable industry. This creates the competitive economic conditions among satellite dealers that allow for things like. that free equipment I mentioned, free installation, free premiums, etc that cable tv providers just don't feel compelled to (or just can't) offer. Here are just a couple of representative examples of competitive satellite providers I work with, that give away the store to gain a customer:
All other factors being equal (and they really are), the TV battle boils down to technology delivery, and competition-period. And shrewd consumers are beginning to choose satellite over cable tv in big numbers, and you can expect to see this trend causing more and more panic in the cable industry in the coming years. So to all you cable watchers out there. is that a thunderstorm moving in on the horizon?...
About the Author: Paul M. Nelson resides in Raleigh, NC and possesses more than a decade of experience in
microbiological and molecular biology research and diagnostics, as well as a consuming interest in
satellite technology. He is an occasional author of articles pertaining to the satellite television
industry, and can be reached through http://url123.com/k8744.