Choosing between Satellite and Cable TV

When it comes between cable and satellite television, there is not an absolute winner. The biggest differences are the installation, price, and equipment. However, with both choices, you'll have the chance for local channels and live television as well as HD DVR for recording. More providers are also integrating streaming services into their platforms. to get an idea of what really matters though, this breakdown shows you some differences between the two.


When it comes to installation, cable is the winner. They offer greater flexibility as well as less equipment needed to install. Usually, all you need is a single outlet, a coax cable, and a box. If you live in an apartment or townhouse, you can typically install cable without any problems.

When it comes to satellite though, you'll have to have a dish installed on the outside of your house. The dish has to be pointing in the right direction and also be free of debris. In general, you'll probably have more technical issues with this option.


When it comes to pricing and bundling options, it may seem confusion so choosing between the two seems impossible. In general though, satellite television tends to have a better monthly price per cable and, in good conditions, reception will be just as good. Both services have tiered package and pricing options.

Some cable companies don't require long-term commitments though which can be appealing. You'll end up paying a higher monthly price but if you don't want to deal with contracts, this may be worth the extra cost. Satellite packages come with at least a one year commitment so there's not a clear winner here depending on your needs.


When it comes to definition, high definition is typically strongly desired. You don't want fuzzy reception so satellite naturally has a better selection of HD channels. However, cable has a better selection of local HD programming. If you want the most popular national channels, then satellite is your best option. Some HD channels may even be included in the basic packages. If calling to set up satellite TV, ask if you can get some HD movie channels into your bundle.


This is an area where both of these options are in a clear tie. Both cable and satellite offer a wide range of channels. If you're after premium channels, then you may be able to find them in both areas. You could also pay for a premium to get the channels consistently. With both options, you can choose a package that meets your viewing requirements. Because both satellite and cable are under pressure to deliver programing that customers want, they're constantly updating their content.

Now that you know how these two options stack up, consider what's most important for your needs. Most people find that there isn't one clear winner but possibly a personal preference based on these specifics. Consider the breakdown of services and pricing to determine your best option. You'll likely be able to switch as well if you don't like the first choice.