With ever-increasing methods to view your favorite shows and movies, it can be hard to determine which platform best suits your needs and budget. The wide variety of services competing for your attention might leave you with a few questions such as, “Is there really a big difference between cable and satellite programming?” and “Is online streaming a viable solution?”
Cable is popular due to the small amount of hardware required and generally excellent picture quality. Cable can support over 300 analog channels and also supports digital channels with the use of a digital receiver. Now many cable platforms support high-definition viewing and DVRs (digital video recorders), so you can watch your favorite shows at your convenience and skip commercials. The variety of cable programming is generally sub-par compared to satellite systems, however, and could be pricier depending on your location and service provider.
Satellite has a broad variety of programming options and channels. Most satellite TV services offer a pristine digital signal rather than analog, with a wide variety of HD channels. DVR or time-skipping is also offered by most vendors. One liability of satellite TV is that a dish must be installed on your house (facing southwards) with an unobstructed view of the sky. This can be an eyesore, and also leads to an occasional outage or reduced picture quality depending on the weather and environment. however, most satellite TV providers offer professional installation — often times free of charge. Satellite programming is generally inexpensive, and hardware prices vary.
Online television is convenient and easy to configure. It only requires an active Wi-Fi connection and a method for streaming video (computer, dedicated box, etc.). Television programs and movies can be viewed through services that provide on-demand HD access, such as Hulu and Netflix. In general, these streaming shows have fewer advertisements, resulting in fewer interruptions. You can also pay for services that allow you to stream shows completely ad-free. Be warned, however, that while online TV streaming services are inexpensive or even free, they are subject to long load times and questionable picture and audio quality. Online streaming services also have a reduced library of movies and shows, so your selection is limited.
There are vastly different methods for viewing television, each with its ups and downs in performance and features. In the end, the decision comes down to your desired features. Whether it be the unobtrusiveness of cable-TV equipment, the channel options and picture quality of satellite TV, or the convenience of online streaming, there’s a way for everyone.[cf]js[/cf]