Cable TV – Your Window To The World? Or Maybe Not?

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Millions of people switched last year from cable TV to satellite TV programming. Statisticians and marketers are always anxious to learn why such a significant movement has occurred. In studying the market trends, several things became immediately apparent. These are issues that are important to customers and the move away from cable TV can be tied to customer dissatisfaction with the way cable TV companies handle the issues raised.

COST

If one compares the cost of a standard installation of cable TV with a like package under the satellite coverage you would find, using country-wide averages, that cable TV costs $ 40.00 monthly for 64 channels, while Dish Network costs $ 19.99 for 60 and DirecTV charges $ 42.00 for 115 channels. Cable TV charges an installation fee of $ 40 for one room and $ 10 for each additional room, while installation is free with both satellite providers. Clearly, satellite TV is the better choice based on price.

PROGRAMMING

Cable TV provides about half as many channels as those which are available with satellite TV, and the format with cable TV is analog. You must pay extra to receive digital programming. More high definition channels are provided through satellite TV and all broadcasting is done in digital format. Again, cable TV comes out second best in terms of its programming.

EQUIPMENT

Cable TV requires only a cable box to connect to your TV except for connections for a digital video recorder which cost extra. Cable TV boxes are normally free of charge. Satellite TV on the other hand, needs a satellite dish and a TV receiver, which both come with your new system. Dish Network does not charge for a DVR recorder, but DirecTV charges $ 50 for the DVR recorder and $ 300 for an HDTV receiver. This category is probably a toss-up between cable TV and satellite TV, depending on which peripherals you need.

RELIABILITY

Independent studies rate cable TV out at about 3% per year while satellite TVs average about 1% per year. Over the last five years, a subjective rating of customer satisfaction rates cable TV companies at 'Good' to 'Poor' and both satellite TV companies rate higher in overall satisfaction. Again, cable TV comes out lower than satellite TV's.

On the basis of this simple four point rating scale, cable TV come out lower in every category except one, where it is a 'maybe'. If the conditions in your local area are similar, you may want to consider going to the favorite satellite provider, as so many others are doing. Technology continues to advance, and so it sees that cable television is no longer the cutting edge. Where hardware will head in the future is anyone's guess.

However, if you live where you can not get satellite programming, or you do not watch more than a few shows monthly and cable costs are less expensive. Or if you simply prefer the capability of watching everything in digital format, or if you want to record shows for later playback, then satellite TV is the wiser choice, with more programs for the money, better sound and picture quality and capability to record in digital format.

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