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Everything You Need to Know about Satellite TV & Satellite TV Providers

Comparing Satellite TV to Cable TV is not that easy. Satellite TV providers leaded by DIRECTV serve the whole nation, while cable providers serve limited areas where they have franchise. So the data/findings used in this comparison are national average of all major cable providers in the US.

We will look into differences between Satellite vs Cable television in various categories, including picture quality, cost, channel offering, customer satisfaction and more.

Features Satellite TV Cable
Free Equipment Free Equipment up to 4 rooms (satellite dish and receivers) Free Equipment for 1 room. Expensive equipment cost starting from 2nd room.
Free Installation Yes $9.95 to $49.95 depending the house layout/condition
Activation Cost $49.99 (Fee waived with 2-year activation) $49.99
Picture Quality 100% digital quality Even digital cable doesn’t offer 100% digital quality
Signal Reliability/Percentage of Outages Satellite TV delivers 99.9% signal reliability; Signal remains stable even under bad weather Cable delivers 95%-97% signal reliability: Signal out in heavy rain or snow
Channel line-up Satellite TV providers over 285 channels natiowide, plus local channels in over 94% of the US Cable in most areas of the country, offers just over 100 channels
Monthly Price Satellite TV offers 150-channel package at $44.99 per month Digital cable in most areas offers 100-channel package at $50 per month
Local channels Includes local channels in base packages at no additional cost. Includes local channels in base packages at no additional cost
Sports Packages Offers multiple exclusive sports package such as NFL Sunday Ticket, MLB Extra Innings, NBA Legue Pass, NHL on the Ice, NASCAR Hot Pass, CricketTicket™, Mega March Madness, plus 35 regional sports networks, including NFL Network and Big Ten Network Offers limited sports content
International channels Offers over 100 international channels in 28 languages Cable in most areas offers minimum international channels
DVR Free DVR upgrade. $5.99/mo. DVR fee apply. Free DVR upgrade. $9.95/mo. DVR fee apply.
HD Offers over 170 national HD channels plus local channels in HD. Add HD Access to base package for $10/month. Offers 50 national HD channels plus local channels in HD in most areas. HD channels are included in the base package at no additional cost.
Internet/Home Phone Bundle Offers DSL high-speed internet, home phone and Satellite TV bundle in selected areas Offers high-speed internet, home phone and cable TV triple-play
Customer Satisfaction Ranked #1 in customer satisfaction over cable eight years in a row according to annual American Consumer Satisfaction Index Survey and JD Power & Associates Score lower than DIRECTV in customer satisfaction ranking

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