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Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Republic of Ireland (North West)
Cable TV and Satellite TV comparison
Cable TV vs Satellite TV
Cable TV and satellite TV have been competing against each other for many years now. Each has its advantages and drawbacks over the other while both aim to offer the consumer a wider range of channels and content. Generally Cable TV is favourable in built up areas where as Satellite TV is the only option out in the country.
Cable TV is very similar to terrestrial television with the exception that the signal cable goes all the way to the provider where as terrestrial television goes over the air. The main advantage with cable TV is a much better picture particularly with digital cable both in built up areas. Weather, hills and line of sight have no effect on the picture.
A few other features of cable often include premium features, pay-per-view, broadband Internet (each usually at an additional charge) and low cost additional points for viewing different cable channels and different TV sets.
A few drawbacks of cable TV include subscription costs as well as availability. Very few if any cable providers offer any basic cable service free of charge. Also the user is limited to what ever is provided from their cable operator.
Like Cable, satellite TV also offers better picture quality to the consumer, particularly if the user is located in fringe terrestrial reception areas. Like terrestrial TV, line of sight with the satellite is important, but as long as the user has a clear view of the sky where the satellite is located at unobstructed by trees, tall buildings, etc. there should be no issues picking it up.
Satellite TV comes in two forms, as a part of a subscription package based system or custom built by the user. Most broadcasters such as Sky Digital offer its equipment free of charge when the user takes up a year’s subscription contract and just pay for the once-off installation and monthly fee. One advantage with digital satellite TV is a wider range of channels; usually more than cable.
Like cable, other features of satellite TV can include premium content, pay-per-view and one-way broadband Internet although the broadband Internet is separate from satellite TV broadcasters. One-way satellite broadband uses the consumer’s existing modem for the uplink and the dish for the downlink. However unlike Cable broadband, the user must still pay for their existing ISP telephone charges and most broadband satellite services have a monthly quota limit of between 1GB and 6GB.
The main advantage of satellite TV over cable is the ability to freely explore free-to-air channels provided on a wide range of satellites. This is where a custom built satellite system becomes very useful particularly when accompanied by a motorised or multi dish setup. While custom built systems can work out rather expensive, the user gets far more features than a Sky receiver when it comes to exploring foreign satellites.
Satellite TV does carry a few drawbacks over cable however. A separate coaxial line must be brought to the dish for each additional receiver and most satellite providers charge quite a bit extra on the subscription for each additional receiver. Also some users may find a satellite dish unsightly on or around their house. Many countries also require planning permission for large dish sizes (over 1 metre in diameter) or for placement on listed buildings.
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