Cable TV And Satellite TV: Is It Right For Me?

While some people continue to watch only broadcast television, the majority of Americans have cable TV or satellite TV at their houses. Why the need for cable or satellite?

Expanded Programming

The most frequent reason for cable TV and satellite TV is the expanded programming. Television is no longer just the major broadcast networks. So much of what is on television today is only offered on cable or satellite tv. Both cable TV and satellite TV offer basic packages that include local channels. Networks such as ESPN, Comedy Central, The Food Network, and The Discovery Channel are usually included in these basic packages. Expanded news networks, like MSNBC, CNN, and CSPAN, are also generally included. For a few more dollars, your programming options can increase dramatically. Sports packages, where you can get local sports networks from across the country are very popular. Also popular are packages that feature networks for children, such as Sprout and PBS Kids. Of course, there are the premium networks, such as HBO, Showtime, and Cinemax, which have gone beyond just playing recently released movies, and now feature some of the most critically acclaimed programs on television.

Beyond Television

Most cable TV and satellite TV providers go beyond television programming. Many packages also include digital music channels, which are a huge perk for subscribers. For example, DirecTV customers have access to XM Satellite radio channels. Other cable TV and satellite TV providers have similar programs. Some companies also have the option to subscribe to high-speed internet along with your television package. These packages can offer much faster speeds than dial-up access, and are often discounted when bundled with a television programming package.

Things to Look For

Of course, before you decide to subscribe to cable TV or satellite TV, there are several things you should look for. The first is cost; be sure to compare costs of various packages. Sometimes companies bundle together channels that you really want, and the package is worth the money. Other times an upgraded package may have no additional channels that you really want or need. Also look at cost of set-up, installation, and equipment. These added costs can significantly effect the overall cost of your subscription. Next, look at programming. Some channels and packages are only available through certain providers. For example, the NFL Sunday Ticket package (which airs all of the NFL football games each week) is only available on DirectTV. Finally, ask around about the customer service from various companies. For many, it is worthwhile to pay a little bit more for better customer service.


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