Is Satellite TV Better Than Cable TV?

There are many ways in which cable and satellite TV differ. The weather is less likely to affect cable TV than satellite TV, but cable TV service is often more expensive. Those who rent their house or want to avoid long-term commitments may find cable more suitable. Bad weather can disrupt satellite TV signals, but it is generally less expensive. There is also a difference in the availability of cable and satellite TV services; cable TV is only available in areas where it is available (which may exclude rural areas or new neighborhoods in the suburbs), whereas satellite TV can be accessed anywhere a dish can be mounted pointing south.

If you are having a hard time choosing between these two, this article might help you. Below are some of the ways both these are different from each other:

  1. Satellite vs. Cable: Installation

Cable TV requires the assistance of a professional technician. Your cable provider must rent you a cable box and remote if you want anything beyond basic cable. You can generally install TV service yourself if you already have the cable line in the house. This is possible if you already have internet service from the same provider.

Your home must be equipped with a satellite dish so you can receive satellite television. The dish must face south as a non-negotiable condition. In an apartment with a southern facing wall, this can be a problem. It is usually quite time-consuming to install a satellite dish by yourself. Generally, the equipment must be returned at the end of the contract, but some companies make exceptions if it is difficult to reach the antenna. If a consumer signs a long-term contract, the installation fee can often be negotiated or waived.

  1. Satellite vs. Cable: Cost

Prices for cable packages vary, but basic cable runs around $30 per month. Considering everything, satellite offers close to 200 channels, which is comparable to cable’s premium channels, for a price comparable to basic cable. 

However, there are many cable TV providers that have amazing deals. For instance, Grande cable offers affordable packages without the contract hassle. You can also have the option to customize your package. But again, if you cannot afford cable, the satellite is still a great option as an alternative. 

  1. Satellite vs. Cable TV Reception

When cable TV reception goes out, it is usually the entire system or the cable lines along the path into the home.

The satellite dish receives a clear signal only if nothing is between it and the southern sky. Any obstruction – a tree, building, wire, even heaving rain – can cause an outage. Dishes can sometimes become out of alignment, and even slight movement can negatively affect reception. When a dish is mounted securely with good exposure to the southern sky, the reception will be good most of the time, except during bad weather, when it may become fuzzy or lose signal entirely, but it will return once the storm passes.

  1. Satellite vs. Cable: Availability

A cable provider makes cable available only to homes located within its coverage area. Rural areas are often excluded.

As long as the dish faces the southern sky, satellite TV is available everywhere, however installing it in an apartment with a south-facing wall, or one with a big tree, building, or another obstacle in the way, becomes difficult.

  1. Satellite vs. Cable: Content

Satellite TV may offer more channels (including HBO and Showtime) than cable, but what you get with basic satellite TV (about 200 channels) can be compared to premium cable, making it a better value.

Local programming (such as public access stations) may be available through a cable instead of satellite.

In addition to the east coast feed, ESPN and Fox Sports offer alternate sports programming. They also offer several international channels that are not available on cable.

  1. Satellite vs. Cable: International Programming

Some cable channels are geared toward international audiences, such as Chinese, Korean, and Portuguese channels, however, these are all US-centric channels.

You can watch any international free channel picked up by your dish with satellite TV. The best choice for international programming is usually satellite TV, which offers a variety of package options from a wide range of locations, including Europe, Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and Latin America. First-generation immigrant households are more likely to use satellite TV because of this service.

  1. Satellite vs. Cable: Bundled Services

Although satellite companies have started offering bundles of Internet and phone services, cable companies are more likely to offer such bundles. Generally, bundles with cable are more affordable, and the price of a bundle is less than what it would be if each service were purchased separately.


Choosing one option between cable and satellite can be hard. It is imperative to look at every factor, including price, availability, the content available and more before making a decision. We hope this article helped you in that regard. Let us know by commenting below if you have any questions.

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