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Cable Vs. Dish: Find Which One to Choose And Why

Omkar Phatak Nov 23, 2018
The comparison between cable and dish aims to differentiate between the two services, making easy for you can decide between the two.
The boom in television entertainment has gripped the world. Where there were only three or four channels once, there are now thousands! You could gain access to these entertainment channels in more than one way today.
Gone are the days of the Yagi antenna that adorned the roofs of many. It is being fast replaced with the dish antenna or the cable network. People have had a cable connection for their television since ages. Nowadays though, is the era of the dish network.

Cable Vs. Dish Comparison

There are many aspects to consider when you make a comparison. There are many companies offering dish connections (Direct broadcast satellite services) in USA. Some of the prime Dish satellite connection providers are DirecTV and Dish Network Satellite TV.
This comparison is mainly between DirecTV and Dish Network, which offer satellite TV service and distributors of cable television like Comcast that also provide broadband Internet access. Let us explore each one of the features, that need to be considered, to help make you a choice between the two.

Difference In Technology

  • Consider how satellite TV works. The channel signal that you receive on your television via a set-top box, starts its journey from a remote uplink station which modulates and broadcasts the channel content to an orbiting geo-stationary satellite.
  • The communication satellite receives the signal and broadcasts it down to Earth on a different downlink frequency.
  • The satellite dish installed on your television receives the signal and amplifies it to the desired signal strength.
  • This signal is then received by the set-top box, which demodulates it and displays channels on your television.
  • These digital signals provide high quality picture compared to the cable networks as the signal uses a high frequency for transmission and faces very less interference from source to destination. However, the service may be affected by disruption caused by rain and thunderstorms.
  • On the other hand, cable television services are terrestrial based. The signal is received by the cable television provider's main station and from there the channel signals are broadcast in radio frequency through coaxial or fiber optic cables.
  • The quality of picture provided by cable services is decent; though not as high quality as dish services, because of interference that enters via transmission cables.
  • Still, cable services have an advantage of not being much affected by acute changes in weather as the signal is transmitted via cable.

Installation & Services

  • The installation of dish based satellite TV services involves a setup of the satellite dish and set-top box. This makes it easy to install in almost any place in the country.
  • On the other hand, local cable distributors must set up cables from broadcast centers to homes for providing service.
  • This makes it difficult to provide cable service in remote places. It also increases the cost of installation.
  • Cable television service providers offer a range of services including internet TV and net telephony.
  • The range of TV channels offered by cable services is lesser than the range offered by satellite TV.


  • Dish antenna based satellite television services are cheaper compared to conventional cable TV subscriptions.
  • While cable television companies provide many more services compared to satellite TV, it is a fact that the cost of their setup is more, which means that their subscription cost is more.
  • While a satellite television connection will cost you around USD 50, a cable television subscription will cost around USD 99.
There are pros and cons of opting for both. Personally, perhaps you should opt for a satellite television connection, because of the better overall picture quality and price of packages offered. Choose whichever is the most convenient and cost-effective option for you.