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Satellite TV vs. Cable TV Comparision Chart

Below we have provided a comparison chart that lists the differences between satellite and cable television. Each of these services has its own advantages and disadvantages. In general you get mostly the same programming with each, however there are some subtle differences that could make all the difference depending on your viewing habits. Do you want more HD channels? Is sports programming the most important thing to you? Or are you looking for simple and basic TV that doesn't require any cable box, receiver, DVR, satellite dish or any other equipment? These are all important things to consider when making a decision. Still, for some it won't make much of difference at all. It is in your best interest to look into all options carefully before making a decision. Especially if you decide to go with satellite, since it generally requires a contract.

The process of choosing a television service provider can be quite difficult and confusing and our chart should make things just a bit easier for you. Of course, going with a paid service is not a must, and you could always settle for free over-the-air TV with a digital TV converter box or a newer TV with a built in digital tuner..

*This chart has been updated as of February 2014. All Information Contained Within This Chart Is Deemed Reliable But Not Guaranteed Due To The Ever Changing Nature Of The Television Industry. We will however make every effort to update this chart whenever changes occur.



Satellite TVCable TV
Total Number Of SubscribersOver 30 million subscribers40 million subscribers
Signal Technology100% digitalAnalog and digital
Equipment NeededSatellite dish and receiverAnalog - none, digital - cable box
Start up CostsAll equipment and installation free with a 2 year contactFree or small activation fee
Contract OptionsContract almost always required - Includes discounted prices for the first year of serviceGenerally month-to-month with discounted prices for the first 6-12 months
Number of HD Channels200 full-time HDTV channelsUp to 200 HD channels but generally less than Satellite
Programming PackagesPrices starting at $20 for as little as 55 channels and ranging all the way up to over 285 channels for $92.99 per month (Reg. $129.99)Prices starting at $30 for as little as 15-20 channels and ranging all the way up to over $100 for 200+ channels.
Pricing ComparisonLower intro packages and lower on a per channel basis. Higher overall bill if you go with the premium or several add on packages.Generally more expensive on a per channel basis.
Average Price For 100 Channel Package$30$50
Movie PackagesHBO The Works, STARZ Super Pack, Showtime Unlimited, CinemaxHBO The Works, STARZ, Showtime, Cinemax
Sports PackagesClear leader in sports program offerings with Sunday NFL Ticket, MLB Extra Innings, NCAA Mega March Madness, NBA League Pass, NHL Center Ice, ESPN Full Court and MLS Direct Kick.Wide range of various local, regional, and national sports packages. More limited than satellite offerings
Local ChannelsIncluded for free with all packagesIncluded for free with all packages
Geographical AvailabilityAvailable anywhere nationwide via satellite signalsOnly available where wiring and infrastructure is already set up
Customer Service AvailabilityOutsourced. 24 hours per day via email, chat, or phone. 7 days a week. (phone hours limited)Walk In Stores. 24 hours per day via email, chat, or phone. 7 days a week. (phone hours limited)
Customer Service RatingFairly high but limited without the ability to walk into a store meet directly with customer service repsRated higher than satellite due to storefronts that provide the ability to meet directly with service reps
Equipment WarrantyUsually 12 months6-12 months
Special DiscountsExtremely aggressive discounts in the first year for all two year contracts with regular prices for the second yearOften offers an introductory special for 6-12 months then regular price for the rest of the time you have service
Online Streaming OptionsStreaming of some live and previously aired programsVery limited streaming options
DVR OptionsStandard and Premium DVR services offered for an additional feeStandard and Premium DVR services offered for an additional fee
Online Streaming OptionsStream most shows the day after they air along with thousands of on demand programming options.Thousands of live and on demand options
Cost For Additional Receivers/Digital Box$5-$7 per month$5-$10 per month

Features Comparison Chart Of 100s Of Different TV Converter Boxes

Brand Model S-Video Analog pass
Through
Smart antenna Universal Remote


Other features
Access HD DTA1010-U No No Yes Yes


D, L, -N, V
Access HD DTA1010-D No No Yes No


D, L, -N, V
Access HD DTA1020-U No No No Yes


D, E, L, -N, V
Access HD DTA1020-D No No No No


D, E, L, -N, V
Access HD DTA1020A-U No Yes No Yes


D, E, L, -N, V
Access HD DTA1020A-D No Yes No No


D, E, L, -N, V
Access HD DTA1030-U No Yes No Yes


D, E, L, -N, V
Access HD DTA1030-D No Yes No No


D, E, L, -N, V
Access HD DTA1050-U No Yes No Yes


D, E, L, -N, V
Access HD DTA1050-D No Yes No No


D, E, L, -N, V
Access HD DTA1080-U No Yes No Yes


D, E, L, -N, V
Access HD DTA1080-D No Yes No No


D, E, L, -N, V
Airlink 101 ATVC101 No No No No


C
Airlink 101 ATVC102 No Yes No No


C
ALPHA DIGITAL AT-2016 No Yes Yes No


D, V

AMTC AT-2016 No No Yes No




Apex DT250 Yes Yes Yes No


C, D, L, V

Apex DT502 Yes Yes Yes No


C, D, L, -N, R, V

Apex DT1001 Yes No Yes No


C, U
Apex DT250A Yes Yes Yes No




Apex DT502A Yes Yes Yes No




Apex DTA250A Yes Yes Yes No




Apex DT1002 No No No No




Apex DTA205A No Yes No No




Apex DT150 No No No No




Apex DT500 No Yes No No




Artec T3A No No No No


D, E
Artec T3AP No Yes No No


C, D, E
Artec T3Ap Pro No Yes No No


D, E
AVION ATB 7707 No No No No




CADENCE DTVC-9 No No Yes No




CASTi CAX-02 Unknown Yes Unknown Unknown


C, P

CASTi CAX-01 No No No No


C, D, P, V
CASTi CAX-03 No Yes No Yes


C, D, L, V
CASTi CAX-04 No Yes No Yes


C, D, L, V
Channel Master CM-7000 Yes No No No


D, L, V
Clear Tech CTDCB100 Unknown No Unknown Unknown




COSHIP N9900T No No No No




COSHIP N9988T No No No No


D, L, V
Craig CVD508 No Yes Yes No


D, V
Daewoo DAC-100 No No No No


D
Daytek CAX-01 No No No No


C, D, P
Denca NL8118 Unknown No Unknown No


C, P
Denca NL8119 Unknown No Unknown No


C, P
Denca TBX1005A Unknown No No Unknown




Digital Stream DX8700 Unknown Yes Yes Unknown


C, P
Brand Model S-Video Analog pass
Through
Smart antenna Universal Remote


Other features
Digital Stream DSP6500R Unknown No Unknown Unknown


C, P
Digital Stream DSP7700T No No Yes Unknown


C, P
Digital Stream DSP7700P No Yes No Yes


C, P
Digital Stream DSP7500T No No No Unknown


C, P
Digital Stream DTX9900 No No No Yes


C, D, L, P, V
Digital Stream DTX9950 No Yes No Yes


C, D, L, P, V
DISH Network DTVPal No Yes No No


D, E, T, R, V
DISH Network DTVPal Plus No Yes No No


D, E, T, R, V
EchoStar TR-40 CRA No Yes No No


D, E, T, R, V
Falcon FT-200 Unknown Unknown Unknown No


C, P
Fuyai ATSC 630 Unknown No No Unknown




GE 22729 No No Yes No


C, D, L, R, V
GE 22730 No No No No


C, R, V
GE 23333 No Yes Yes No


C, D, L, R, V
GE 23334 No Yes No No


C, D, L, R, V
Goodmind DTA980 Unknown No Unknown No


C
Goodmind DTA900 No No No No


C
Goodmind DTA1000 No No Yes No


C
Gridlink GLT-200
GLT-200
No No No No




Gridlink GLT-300 No No No No




iNET Access SSR1921 No Yes Yes No


D, L
Insignia NS-DXA1 No No No No


C, D, L, P, -S, V
Insignia NS-DXA1-APT No Yes No No


C, D, L, P, V
Jiuzhou DTT6000 Unknown No Unknown No




Jiuzhou DTT9001 Unknown Yes Unknown No




jWIN Electronic Corp JD-TV1000 Unknown No Unknown No




Kingbox K8V1 No No No No




Kingbox K8V8 No No No No




Lasonic LTA-260 No No No No




Magnavox TB100MG9 No Yes No No


D, L
Magnavox TB100MW9 No No No No


C, D, L, P
Magnavox TB100MW9A No Yes No No


C, D, L, P
MaxMedia MMDTVB03 Yes Yes Yes No




MaxMedia MMDTVB02 Unknown Unknown Unknown No




MaxMedia LuTRO No Yes No No


T
MicroGEM MG2000 No No No No


D, E, L, V
Microprose MPI-500 No No No No


E, V
Microprose MPI-500PT No Yes No No


E, V
Mustek MAT-K50 No No Yes No




Olevia DTA100 Unknown No Unknown No




Philco TB150HH9 No Yes Yes No


D
Philco TB100HH9 No Yes No No


C, D, L
RCA DTA800A No No No No


C, -N, P
RCA DTA800B No No Yes Yes


C, D, L, -N, P
RCA DTA800B1 No Yes Yes Yes


C, D, L, -N, P
RCA DTA809 No Yes Yes Yes


C, D, L, P
RCA DTA809L No Yes Yes Yes


C, D, L, P
RCA STB7766G1 No Yes No Yes


C, D, L, P
Sansonic FT300RT No No No No


C, E, P
Sansonic FT300A No No No No


C, E, P
Skardin DTR-0727L Unknown Yes Unknown No


C, P
Sunkey SK-801ATSC No Yes No No


D, E, C, L, V
SVA DAC100 Unknown No Unknown No




Synergy Global Supply SYN2009 Unknown No Unknown No




TATUNG TDB3000 No No Yes No


E
TATUNG TDB3001 No Yes Yes No




Tivax STB-T9 No No Yes No


D, E, L, V
Tivax STB-T8 No Yes Yes No


C, D, L, V
Tunbow E60010 No No No No




Venturer STB7766G No No No Yes


E, L
Venturer STB7766G1 No Yes No No


E, L, V
Winegard RC-DT09 No No No No


C, D, E, L, -S, V
Winegard RC-DT09A No Yes No No


C, D, E, L, -S, V
Zenith DTT900 No No No No


C, D, L, P, -S, V


Zenith


DTT901
No Yes No Yes


C, D, L, P, V
Zentech DF2000 No No No No


C, D, E, L, V
Zentech DF2000L No Yes No No


C, D, E, L, V
Zinwell ZAT-756A Unknown No Unknown No




Zinwell ZAT-736 No No No No




Zinwell ZAT-856 No No No No




Zinwell ZAT-950 No No No No


C, D, E, L, T
Zinwell ZAT-857 No No No No




Zinwell ZAT-950A No Yes No No


C, D, E, L, T
Zinwell ZAT-970 No No No No


C, D, E, L, T
Zinwell ZAT-970A No Yes No No


C, D, E, L, T