Choosing satellite or cable TV comes down to a matter of preference in many situations, though the line between the two is becoming more blurred all the time. As TV choices become increasingly interactive, both types of TV providers are becoming proficient at offering the customers more choices more conveniently. There are benefits and drawbacks to each that can make the choice somewhat difficult. There is no clear answer to which one is better.
The first thing to consider is location. For those living in rural areas, there may not be much of a choice, since cable providers do not always reach much of the rural market, simply because of the expense needed in infrastructure improvements to reach it. Therefore, a satellite service may be only option. In places that are served by both, satellite may not be an option if there is no clear line of sight on the property between the dish and satellite. This may happen in heavily forested areas or places with many tall buildings.
Another thing to consider is the availability of local channels. When satellite service first came out, there were no local channels offered. In some cases, it may have been possible to get them from an antenna, but that was outside of the satellite service. So for those who required local channels, cable would have been the better choice. Since then, satellite service has expanded its offerings to offer local channels in many major markets, so this is less of an issue.
In an area where satellite TV has traditionally excelled — on-demand pay-per-view — cable television has made strides in recent years. With digital cable, the some of the features of satellite or cable TV seem virtually identical. Therefore, many of these issues are no longer relevant.
Weather may affect the ability of the satellite dish to receive a signal in some instances. Especially in areas prone to severe weather or weather that may include intense cloud cover for a number of days, this is a big consideration when choosing between satellite or cable TV. No one appreciates service disruptions, and this may be one of the more common ones.
In some cases, the choice between the two may come down to a matter of customer service. Some cable companies have a poor reputation in this area, but most satellite companies do not. In the end, however, it often comes down to a matter of personal preference.