There was a time when satellite TV was a clear favourite. They offered more channels and options, and as they tried to gain a foothold in the industry, their pricing was aggressive. But the competition between the cable and satellite television providers eventually settled down. The channels, the options and even the pricing structures became similar. Satellite was no longer the clear choice, and over the years, the choice became increasingly more complex.
Now, a new option has entered the fray: Internet TV. Internet television has been around in one form or another for quite a while, but it is only now that it is becoming accessible to such a widespread audience. Perhaps what’s most interesting is the timing. These are difficult economic times in the US and all over Europe. Average Joes are feeling the pinch, and looking for ways to do more with less. Enter Internet TV, which is often free.
Of course, nothing is ever quite that simple. In theory, free Internet television seems like a panacea for our entertainment budget woes, but it’s just that, a theory. Free Internet TV is still extremely unreliable and likely will be to some degree for the near future. If you want to upgrade to reliable, it’s going to cost you. So this addition of a third option is actually going to make this choice more complex rather than give us a simple way out.
Further complicating the issue is that there is no single answer. The right answer for you will very much depend on your needs, wants and means. If cost were not an issue, then we’d probably go with a deluxe cable package, a basic DirecTV package just for the NFL Sunday Ticket, and a healthy dose of IPTV (Internet Protocol television) sprinkled in. Since that’s an unrealistic option for most, we’ll instead consider the pros and cons of the single-service options.
When it comes to cable television, such as a company like Time Warner, the greatest upside is dependability. Cable experiences very little downtime, and since almost all the cable is underground these days, these companies aren’t prone to accidental outages. Cable also delivers channels and features as diverse as satellite, minus a certain sports package. The downside, however, is that cable is by far the most costly choice at the basic level.
Satellite outages can occur because of severe weather or damage to your dish, and if a problem does occur, the repair process tends to be slower than with cable. However, accidents are rare, and the weather issues tend to get overblown. On the plus side, good satellite TV deals can offer attractive entry-level packages that are better than your over-the-air offerings. But if you decide to enhance your package, the gap between satellite and cable closes quickly.
Keep in mind that as we move forward both the cable and satellite companies will embrace more Internet-enabled features in order to keep up with new services competing for their business. In other words, don’t doing anything rash because you might regret it. On the other hand, if you are an infrequent TV watcher and have a solution to the lack of sports and news, than switching to an IPTV-based solution can save you a great deal of money.