DISH vs Cable TV

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March 24, 2020

This day and age can make it difficult to know which TV service to choose. Between cable providers, satellite services, and streaming, one may not know which one they should pick. For now, let's leave streaming out of the equation and break down the two titans of the TV industry, DISH or Cable. There are benefits to both of these services, as well as a few downsides that some may not know.

Service Availability

Many families tend to go with cable purely because it has been around for a long time. In fact, some people may not even be aware of the various options available. Sure, they may have heard of DISH network, but not know the benefits and details of the service. One of the largest benefits of DISH over cable is service availability.

Each state tends to have one or two cable companies that have a monopoly over that particular area. If someone needs cable in that area, they don't have much choice as to who they receive their service from. Unfortunately, this comes with a certain issue for many folks. This issue being that if the provider does not cover a particular county or area, then they are out of luck with getting service. This tends to be a common problem for those residing in rural areas, as servicing those areas is not a priority for cable providers.

The DISH Network is the winner when it comes to availability. A satellite based service can be installed and used wherever you may live in the country, including in both urban and rural areas. Since it is nationwide, so the same service can be easily setup again if you move to a different area. This is a much easier option than having to find a new cable provider and get the service installed.

Service Quality and Reception

When satellite services started becoming more popular years ago, people were concerned with the quality and reception. This was a reasonable concern back then, but modern technology has made it no different than the reception and quality of a cable service in optimal conditions. Weather can interfere with both services, but it may be more likely to cause problems with satellite since the dish is exposed.

Channel and Package Availability

Channel options were another big concern for consumers when satellite TV entered the scene. Back then, cable TV tended to have more channels and premium package options, but there is virtually no difference in modern times. Whether you are looking for your favorite series or want to watch all the big games, both services can provide what you need. In addition, consumers can create tailored packages to suit whatever their viewing needs.

Satellite service is much better for those interested in watching international TV channels. Not only can you watch free international channels that are picked up, but DISH also offers international package options from several parts of the world.

Package Pricing

Pricing is a huge concern for consumers, with costs going up on everything these days. Both cable and satellite costs have been going up for years now and this has lead to increasing numbers of people cutting off their service. According to S&P Global Market Intelligence, cable and satellite TV bills have increased by 53% since 2007.

Cost will always be a valid issue for consumers and satellite wins out in this area. Both services have multiple package options, but satellite services like DISH tend to have lower monthly rates. This is often the main problem for consumers, being that high monthly costs can be difficult to keep up with for some. Many cable packages offer their services with no contract so that they can be disconnected easily, but this also means that their monthly costs tend to be noticeably higher. DISH Network does also offer a no contract prepaid service called Flex TV for those who do not want a commitment or those with low credit.

High Definition Content

With modern video technology improving all the time, consumers want to watch their content in the highest definition possible. 1080p used to be the ideal when it comes to picture quality, but now 4K is what people want to see. Satellite is definitely better when it comes to high definition content due to the technical limitations of cable. Cable services may offer high definition local channels, but most people likely don't care about watching the weather In 4K.

Starting Service and Installation

When a customer signs up for a new TV service, they want to be able to watch it as soon as possible. Installation speed can vary between cable and satellite, but DISH Network often beats any cable company in this area. DISH can install satellite service rather quickly in many cases, with even next day installation available in some areas. A lot of cable companies will charge for installation services, whereas DISH can be installed in up to six rooms for free.

DVR Technology

DVR comes with most cable or satellite packages these days, but which one offers a better DVR? DISH Network has one of the most top of the line DVRs on the market. Most cable service DVRs can record around six shows at once, but the DISH Hopper 3 technology allows up to 16 shows to be recorded at once. The difference is also in the amount of storage that a device has. Cable DVRs can typically record around up to 300 hours, with the DISH network Hopper 3 nearly doubling this at 500 hours. There also comes the matter of being able to skip the commercials in your recordings. The DISH network DVR allows you to skip these commercials, but with cable DVR, you have to fast forward through each commercial break.

The bottom line is that the best option often comes down to what exactly a consumer is looking for in their TV watching needs. Although, DISH is able to customize their packages to accommodate virtually anyone's wants and needs.