Let’s say that, like me, you’re a long time cable user and you haven’t given much thought to what it would be like to switch to a satellite TV service. Perhaps it conjures up memories of the old giant dishes you used to see back in the day, but the technology has come a long, long way since then.
Satellite TV operates by broadcasting it’s signals (both video and audio) vua geostationary satellites that broadcast to the earth’s surface or, in this case, to your receiver. Each satellite contains what are known as transponders, which carry the signal back to earth. Just about all satellite TV is now encoded digitally, and it’s available in standard or high definition formats.
Of course therein lies the eternal question for any TV Viewer…which is better, satellite tv or cable tv? Despite the ongoing advertising campaigns aimed at making one or the other look stupid, unreliable, or incompetent, both services have perks and drawbacks. Technically speaking, Satellite TV does have a higher quality picture and usually a wider variety in programming. The juggernauts in this sector are DirecTV and DISH Network, and both fiercely compete with cable providers on a daily basis for customers.
Cable, for it’s part, offers a much wider variety of local programming. Also, despite the advances in satellite technology, there are still instances of signal interference in cases of bad weather and other circumstances. Overall this is a relatively minor concern, but it only needs to happen once during a big game or your favorite series premiere to get annoyed. Internet access is also typically a smidge faster and more reliable than DSL is (Both DirecTV and DISH Netowrk both currently offer DSL options to serve their customers).
Another legitimate issue with satellite TV is watching programs on more than one TV at a time. While you can hook up your satellite TV system to anywhere between 1-6 TVs at once, they’ll all be on the same channel. If you want to watch different programming on different TVs in your home (or your siblings, roommates, significant others, etc.) then you’ll have to get a separate receiver to allow you to do so. Thankfully many satellite TV companies offer extra receivers at no cost or include a bundle of receivers in their packages to allow you to switch around easily.
So, let’s say that you’re ready to make the jump after understanding the benefits and drawbacks of satellite TV, where do you go? As I mentioned before, your best bet is to go to either DirecTV or DISH Network and review the offerings they have. With the economy in a downward spiral and market saturation increasing, there’s a lot of competition out there and as a result there’s a huge number of promotional rates and offers, so take advantage!
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