Cable Cool Box
In the United States television consumers have the allusion of many choices for HD television providers be it from cable or satellite. The reality is that most only have one cable option especially in cities like New York City (dominated by Cable Vision) or Philadelphia (dominated by home town player, Comcast) or Los Angeles (dominated by Time Warner). East coast consumers have issues that keep them from players like DirecTV and or Dish Network such as reliability issues that arise during thunderstorms and or issues with connectivity because of tree cover. Those living in large buildings in big cities up and down the east coast may also not have "roof rights" thus even more cable television monopolies come into play.
Cable providers know that they have a monopoly and spend tens of millions of dollars in Washington D.C. lobbying members of Congress to protect their anti-consumer business model. And for the most part it works. Look at Time Warner's recent dropping of CBS – the number one network on TV in the United States right now with programming like The David Letterman Show, The CBS Evening News, 60 Minutes, NFL Football and many other top rated TV shows. Consumers are up in arms and are even suing but is Time Warner balking? Not at this stage in that they know that switching from cable to satellite is a difficult of not nearly impossible process for some customers. Add in the fact that many cable customers have their Internet and telephone bundled in with their TV service – what once seemed like a savings means that they are a technological slave to their cable companies.
The Pros and Cons of Satellite TV Service
• Satellite TV has more channels than cable.
• Satellite TV often looks a little better than cable because of less compression.
• Satellite TV offers more sophisticated DVR products such as Dish Network's Hopper or DirecTV's Genie servers.
• Cable TV service isn't as effected by weather as satellite.
• Cable TV is often less expensive.
• Cable TV offers "bundles" for telephone and Internet service that is often better (faster) than satellite TVs Internet service.
• DirecTV has an exclusive with the NFL that for fantasy football or out of market NFL fans – puts them over the top.
• Most cable services and all satellite services have online streaming and or apps for your iPad or other devices thus that category is a bit of a wash.
Which System Should You Pick Satellite TV or Cable?
This is a personal and often geo-specific topic based on where you live. Sat lite has many advantages over cable TV assuming weather and tree cover aren't an issue for you. At the same time, people in the Western United States can't get The Pac 12 Network over a similar fight between the college sports network and DirecTV thus no USC, UCLA, Arizona, Cal, Stanford, Oregon, ASU, Washington, Washington State, Nevada or Utah NCAA football games for those using DirecTV.
The fact is that TV providers need to keep their costs down on programing while trying to offer as many services as possible to consumers. Content providers want to be paid as much as possible for their programming thus there will always be conflicts. The dark horse in the TV programming game is Apple. While they have an "Apple TV" there have been many reports of them buying an HDTV factory from Sharp to make OLED HDTVs that not only will be cool actual HDTV sets but they are rumored to have pay-per-channel programming which could throw the entire TV game on its ear. Factor in Google's Fiber high speed Internet program that's being tested in a few test cities like Austin Texas, Kansas City etc… now and you've got the pipeline needed to offer a meaningful solution to cable and satellite TV that will speak directly to the growing number of Millennial customers in the market today and in the coming five years.
Read more about Apple's TV programming here.