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Should You Choose Cable Or Satellite TV Service?

Company president Mike Abt and general manager Marc Cook were interviewed for an NBC Channel 5 “Around Town” segment, discussing the differences between cable and satellite TV service.

With the switch to digital television, many consumers are considering cable or satellite to improve their reception, but it can be difficult to know how to get the biggest bang for your buck. The crispest, clearest picture comes from high-definition programming, and when it comes to HDTV, satellite has the edge, according to Marc Cook, general manager of Abt Electronics. “DirecTV has a dramatic edge in high-definition channels. They have a higher count of channels,” Cook said.

But snow or ice can wreak havoc on a dish. “When it was snowing, it would just go out all the time,” one former satellite subscriber said. Still, experts say satellite has a slight edge in picture quality. Cable bundle packages may be a bit cheaper, but they come with a cost. “Your picture is probably going to be sharper with a DirecTV signal than a cable signal because with cable you have a lot of signals fighting in one wire, and then they’re all being pulled out at the other end,” Cook said.

Then there’s all that equipment. That’s where cable triumphs, Abt Electronics president Michael Abt said. “With cable, you don’t even need to have a box on every TV,” Abt said. “Whereas DirecTV, you really need to have a box on each TV.”

So, what’s the best deal? Experts say that in general, satellite TV offers more channels per dollar. “You’re contracting in a specific price, which is a nice thing. You don’t have to worry about price increases month after month or year after year,” Cook said. But if you’re looking for just the basics, cable is the clear winner.

“For $10 a month you can get basic cable, which is all the main stations you can get now with free TV, and a few more,” Abt said. If you’re considering a switch, first contact your current service provider. They may offer you better pricing to keep your business.

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