Satellite vs. Cable continued...
Should you get Cable or Satellite?
Which technology is the one for you has to do with your preference and the economics of your individual situation. There is variability in pricing between the competing satellite TV and cable TV providers. There are big dollars at stake for all providers involved in this debate, and with that comes a lot of misinformation from both camps. So let clear up a few issues.
With DirecTV or Dish Network you will probably always need a set-to-box. The signal is encrypted to protect against piracy, so a de-encryption device will always be needed. Also the two-way communications capabilities of the digital realm, such as interactive TV, ordering pay-per-view etc., are courtesy of the set-top-box.
You will likely need a set-top-box for most digital cable implementations, for most of the same reason. Some cable TV providers do offer you the ability to use a CableCard so you can eliminate the set-top-box, but much or all of the additional features of digital TV will not be available to you if you go that route. You will likely be hit with a setup fee for the CableCard. If you have multiple TVs in your home, you will need a set-top-box or a CableCard for each of them.
If you are chasing HDTV, make sure that it is included in the package you are interested in. All of the channels on satellite or digital cable are not high definition channels! So you will need to check the cable provider or satellite channel listings to determine what is or isn’t available. The number of HD channels available is continually growing, and channel
availability is not the same from provider to provider, so know what you are getting. Also all of the content available on a channel may not be broadcasted in high definition so check the cable or satellite TV program listing, to make sure that playoff football or baseball game is being broadcast in high definition,
and available on an HD channel you subscribe to.
The last misconception is regarding satellite reception and its susceptibility when it comes to severe weather. It is true that satellite broadcasts can suffer interruptions from heavy rain or the accumulation of snow and ice on the satellite dish. In reality, this is no big deal; while I couldn’t find any reliable hard numbers on how often this happens, a JD Powers study of the major satellite and cable providers published by BusinessWeek online, put the DirecTV and Dish Network ahead of the cable providers on the issue of performance and reliability.