Cable or satellite TV: Which is cheaper? - USA TODAY

If you're not willing to cut the cord just yet, you may be wondering if cable or satellite is the better option.

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  • TAG : How to Watch TV Without a Cable or Satellite Subscription
  • At the end of the day, it’s your decision whether your home is better suited towards cable or satellite television. There are cable companies who offer deals for the same price as satellite TV and vice versa. Find a price point you’re comfortable with and see what company can give you the most for that.

    Remember the talk of a 500-channel universe? It's here, and cable and satellite companies are ready to transport the consumer there. While both offer similar channel packages, each has an advantage over the other. Satellite offers both east and west coast feeds and alternate sports programming for channels like ESPN and Fox Sports. Sometimes sports stations televise games based on regional interest. Their alternate feed allows the satellite viewer the choice of either game. Of course, accessibility to some of the alternate feeds might require an additional price.

  • Cable has an advantage for subscribers who don’t want digital programing because there's no equipment needed other than a television. For the digital subscriber, cable and satellite are similar. You’ll need a converter box, remote, and compatible television. Satellite needs an unobstructed view of the southern sky to receive signals, which is a huge disadvantage for renters because their leasing company might require a deposit for satellite installation. Homeowners also assume a minimal risk by installing a dish to a side wall or roof. Edge: Cable

    There’s no doubt that one of the biggest decisions involving your home entertainment setup is which service should you go with: Cable vs Satellite TV? Here are some answers to many of the questions you’ll likely have before making a final decision.

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  • Satellite TV service gets its TV signals from satellites in geosynchronous orbit. Because they stay in the same position relative to the earth’s surface at all times, once a satellite antenna (usually, a dish of some kind) is properly aimed, it can be left as-is thereafter. Satellite signals are broadcast from a ground station to multiple satellites, which then broadcast those signals back to the earth across huge expanses of territory. Anybody with a satellite dish (the antenna), plus the proper signal processing gear (a set-top box of some kind, usually called a satellite receiver, is required for each TV set on which you want to watch the provider’s programming) that can “see” a satellite can pick up the signal. A single antenna can feed multiple satellite receivers, but a physical cable is routed from the antenna to each receiver (inside the house, both cable and satellite TV require cables for each TV set).

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Lots of satellite TV plans include a DVR or HD DVR which allows you to easily record shows, set parental controls, watch shows from any room, and access On Demand programs and movies. Cable companies may also offer your a free DVR when you buy a TV service plan. With both satellite and cable TV service providers, you will usually have to pay a monthly fee for the DVR even though the DVR itself is included at no extra cost. Service for a DVR costs around $10+/month with either cable or satellite service.