Which of Satellite TV or Cable TV shall you opt for while living in USA? What are the relative pros and cons of both these types of services? This article aims to bring more clarity to these questions.

Let us first acquaint ourselves with the terms used in this context-


Satellite TV

Satellite TV signals are transmitted to your television via a dish on your roof. The signal then goes down a cable to your television. Satellite television is less reliable than cable because the weather can interfere with reception, but it is less expensive.

Cable TV

A dish on your roof transmits satellite TV signals to your television. The signal is then transmitted to your television through a cable. Because weather might interfere with reception, satellite television is less reliable than cable, but it is less expensive.


CharacteristicsCable TVSatellite TV
Nos of channelsManymany
Bundle packageManyDepends upon cost per channel
PackagesBloatedNot at all reliable in bad weather

Brief comparison

The functionality of these devices can be divided into several parts. Let us see what they are:

  1. Pricing: The pricing is conclusive. So, it all depends on the type of provider you choose. With some providers, you can find great deals with cable TV. But statistics tell you a different story, where the price for satellite TV at least for the initial year is low. The pricing also may vary when there is a lack of availability or you are in your 2nd year of installation.
  2. CPC:  A Cost per channel can be calculated, by this small formula, i.e.

CPC= (cost per month) /(no of channels)

  • For satellite TV the cost is $109.4 per month for 209 channels s its CPC will be: 109.4/209=$0.36
  • Cable plans is =$0.21-0.92 per month.
  • So overall the cost per channel for satellite TV is better than cable TV.
  • Availability: Cable TV network is widely available in each part of the USA. The cable TV providers outnumber the number of satellite TV providers in the USA. So, it is easier to get a connection, if you are trying for a cable TV connection rather than going for satellite TV.
  • Services (On-demand & inclusive):
ServicesCable TVSatellite TV
DVR Limited
Mobile App  
Add on (premium)  
Pay per view/rentals  
Multi-room view  
Library (on-demand)  

Some related terms

  1. Bundling: Some providers especially cable TV providers offer a combo pack for TV and internet at cost-friendly service. However, this service is found limited if you are going for the satellite TV option.
  2. DVR: Some providers may charge an amount for this service, which includes the greatest storage capacity for recording the most number of episodes, shows, movies or web series. This service does come in handy when you miss an episode or can’t binge-watch your favourite show r web series due to a busy work schedule or you happen to be at a wedding. This usually costs around $4-$20/month.
  3. Mobile app: Most providers always offer a mobile app for free downloading, bill paying, account management and other services.
  4. Add-ons: These are premium ones so, before you avail of this service, you need to enquire about the kind of service and the number of channels they offer. Make sure these channels when you buy them does not make a hole in your pocket. It usually costs between $6-$20/month.
  5. Pay per view: some providers rent their titles. Enquire before you make the purchase.
  6. Library (on-demand): Some providers offer live streaming services completely charge-free.

Hidden Fees Charged

Heard of hidden fees/calculated amount/charges/ Well these are all the same. And changes from one provider to another. So, it is important to know before you make a decision.

Many of the providers in the USA charge hidden fees. After a brief analysis of the market, we found that these below stated charges are some of them. Let us see:

  1. Taxes: It all depends upon the location of where you are interested in taking the connection.
  2. RSN: For specific channels, you need to pay extra other than your regular bundle of channels. RSN stands for the regional sports channel. For example: If you want to watch sports on Fox Sports South, you need to pay $9.99/month apart from your regular pack.
  3. Equipment fee: A provider will always tell you beforehand about the device fee they charge which is usually not above $20.00. However, it depends upon one provider to another.
  4. Service charge: For broadcasting the services the customers need to deposit the amount. And there is no fixed amount. It depends on the provider, how much they charge.
  5. Installation fee: This is a one-time amount, you have to deposit when the provider sends an engineer to do the needful and installs the device at your home.
  6. Self-installation fee: This is a one-time thing, where the amount that needs to be deposited. It includes a self-installation kit with all the shipping costs are involved.
  7. Late fees: If you fail to deposit there is a late fee just like your utility bill!
  8. Reconnect fee: Due to circumstantial reasons, if you want to reconnect it will always cost you a sum.