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Satellite or Cable television?

dish32354063.jpgWith the big switch from analog to digital signals, millions of Americans are being forced to purchase converter boxes to receive their signal. However, if you have cable or satellite television, you don't need to worry about this because the signal is already digital. Satellite and cable television provide clear pictures, more channels to choose from, and higher levels of customer satisfaction. To determine if cable or satellite television is right for you, here is a comparison of the two.

Most people that choose to upgrade to satellite or cable television usually want to option of having more channels to view. Usually cable and satellite offer the same amount of channels to choose from for their lower pricing brackets. However, cable is limited on the number of channels they can offer, and Dish Network and DirecTV can offer over 250 more channels.

Another downside to cable is that you need to pay an extra monthly fee for the digital channels, usually an extra $10 a month. All satellite TV is broadcast in digital signals, and this has always been the case so they don't charge you more for it.

Comcast, DirecTV, and Dish Network tend to be the 3 big television companies out there. Comcast sells cable while DirecTV and Dish both sell satellite television. The basic package for cable starts around $39.99 a month. Dish and DirecTV offer packages starting at $29.99. Of course this cost is only to add the channels to one room, if you want more rooms wired; you will need to pay an extra $9.99 or more per room.

The benefit of selecting satellite television is that you usually get free installation and equipment. Cable will charge you to install the wires and to program your stations. Once you start adding more features to your satellite programming, like DVR and sports packages, you are looking at paying at least $20 more per month. Comcast also offers DVR services which can cost about the same amount.

When you are deciding between the two, find out which ones have rights to your local sports channels. Cable television may own the rights to a local sports broadcast and they may refuse to sell it to satellite companies, causing you to miss some of your favorite games.

The bad part about satellite television is that you need to install a dish on your home. Then, you will need to wire your home, causing several wires to be strung all over the outside of your home if its not already wired. With cable, there is only one cable line and a cable box that is placed on the TV. Although, this may mean you have wires running all over the interior of your home if you don't have a good installation team that can hide them.

Since most customers choose to have at least one DVR box, you better be prepared to pay for it. To purchase the DVR box, you will pay at least $20 a month to rent it and over $300 to rent a HD receiver.

Customer Satisfaction
The ultimate decision will come down to how happy you are with your cable or satellite television service. Cable tends to have outages about 5% of the total viewing time per year. However with satellite TV you can have outages when the weather gets in the way. Too much snow on a receiver or a big storm can cause you to lose your picture for several minutes. According to DirecTV, they only have outages about 1% of the time.

Another thing you need to consider is their customer service department. Most companies have computer automated systems that will walk you through some of the initial problems before you can talk to a customer service agent.

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