What Are the Differences Between Cable and Satellite TV?

Do you want to subscribe to a television service for your home, but are confused about whether you should go with satellite or cable? If so, it will help to know some of the key differences between the two services. 


The first thing you'll want to look at is if each service is available in your area. There is likely at least one cable TV provider that provides service to your home, which means you could be limited to which service you have to pick from. With satellite TV, the service is available anywhere across the country, so it is only limited in availability if you have issues installing the satellite dish that is required. 


The biggest difference that you'll see between the two services is when it comes to the installation. With cable TV, a coax cable needs to be run from a utility pole to your home, where the cable is run to your set-top box to get the service. Satellite TV requires installing a satellite dish on your property that points in the correct direction to get a signal from the satellite dish. This can be a problem if you live in an apartment or rental property where you can't install the dish on the home itself. 


Another way that these two services are different is how they handle on-demand programming. With cable television, all of your on-demand programming is sent through the same coax cable that sends the television signal. Everything is integrated and will work as intended when you want to access a show on demand. 

Satellite TV is a bit different since they offer on-demand programming through an Internet connection. You'll still have access to the same type of on-demand content from each channel provider, but it requires you have some sort of broadband access at home.

Potential Outages

Each service can have an outage for a variety of different reasons. Cable television can go out if there is a storm in your area that knocks out one of the connection points where the cable physically runs to your home. This means outages are out of your control for the most part, but will still be fixed by the cable TV provider.

Satellite television is a contained system that uses the satellite dish on your home. If a storm ends up knocking the satellite dish out of position, then you'll need to have a service call performed so the dish can be realigned. Satellite television is also susceptible to signal fade during heavy rainstorms, which is due to the signal having difficulty passing through water.