Digital Cable vs. Satellite

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Shade Watson, Feb 23, 2001.

  1. Shade Watson

    Shade Watson Stunt Coordinator

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    Can anyone tell me the pros and cons of digital cable vs satellite? I plan on upgrading from regular cable. I am leaning towards digital cable because I can still watch regular cable where ever I don't have a receiver box. Is this a mistake?
     
  2. ScottH

    ScottH Producer

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    The only advantage to digital cable that I'm aware of is that there are no installation hassles associated with it (although depending on your local cable provider this could be debatable). Satellite has a much better picture, more channels, more options, better sound, HDTV channels (albeit very few), and I'm pretty sure even the monthly price is better. I guess you could say one other advantage to digital cable is that you don't have to buy any equipment upfront, but I know Directv has a special now where you can a buy a Directv system for $200 and receive a $200 rebate with a yearly subscription commitment of some sort. If you have a rear projection TV, you should definitely go with satellite.
     
  3. DaleB

    DaleB Stunt Coordinator

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    Another case for satellite is generally the programming packages offered are more cost-effective than cable, at least the last time I checked. Cable may be more competitive now.
    Taking the system as a whole, satellite is offering a neat self-contained packaged with 'local' wiring if you will.
    It's true, something might fail in a satellite system, or the central uplink ground station that supports it. But one advantage is that satellite is relatively new, and there are a lot of cables systems dealing with old equipment, or equipment in a constant state of renovation.
    With cable you at the mercy of the whole system where there could be a breakdown. On the downside, satellite is subject to the effects of weather. Which I have found to be quite rare. I do live in California (northern) but we have been hit with large series of storms lately. And disruptions have been seldom, and last only for a few seconds.
    In almost 2 years I have never seen a total Sat. system outage (unless I lost power!) or if I did it must have been very short!
    Service also has been excellent, and programming change requests effective in about 2 mintues.
     
  4. Henry Colonna

    Henry Colonna Stunt Coordinator

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    In this area, the product "digital cable" is more a fancy marketing term than a reality. With the "digitcal cable" package you get about 6 channels that are truly digital, plus all the PPV stuff. The channels were some rather off the wall channels, the only one I liked being the Independent Film Channel. All the other channels are your traditional analog crappy cable signal.
     
  5. TimothyP

    TimothyP Extra

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    IMHO, the one major advantage that cable has over satellite (at least DishNetwork) is the availability of local stations. In every other way, I think satellite is better. I own a Dish 6000 with the OTA module which seamlessly integrates the OTA locals into my menu. On my other TV I have the 4900 receiver. To watch locals here I have to bypass the receiver to use the rooftop antenna. I switched from regular cable to satellite because I wanted HD programming (which is awesome BTW). I get my local OTA braodcasts via my rooftop antenna, and I get HBO and Showtime in HD through DISH.
    Tim
     
  6. Christopher Cheadle

    Christopher Cheadle Stunt Coordinator

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    In my area at least, Digital Cable is kind of a joke and more of a marketing term than anything. From a purely technical standpoint, there are major flaws. The channels that are "digital" are actually fed from the analog signal and then converted to digital. The digital feed is then sent over fiberoptics along with the analog signal. The cable box then converts the digital signal back to analog to be displayed on the TV. As you can see, there are some extra conversion steps in there that actually show up as fairly noticeable artifacts.
    On the satellite side, you are receiving an RF signal through your dish that contain the digital 1's and 0's that are then converted to analog by the receiver and then output to the TV. Plus, the native signal of satellite is separate Y and C signals (read s-video), whereas cable is a composite signal that must then rely on your TV's comb filter to be displayed.
    We moved about a year ago and had a dish installed the same day I moved in. We have been enjoying ever since and don't regret the switch at all. Heck, with all of the intererance problems I was encountering from living too clost to the broadcast towers, my local channels come in better OTA then they did through cable.
    Hope this is helpful.
    ------------------
    Christopher Cheadle
    Dayton, OH
    -------------------------
    "I gave my love a chicken that had no bone...MMMMM chicken."
    - Homer
     
  7. Rob Roth

    Rob Roth Stunt Coordinator

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    I'm about ready to make the switch. I 'upgraded' to digital cable and saw some improvement but not amazing. Now that I have a new A/V receiver I wanted to have a TV signal in S Video that could be switched by the receiver. Comcast refuses to provide the better Scientific Atlanta boxes in my area; we are stuck with old General Instrument boxes that only have composite output. Typical of the cable company's arrogance.
     
  8. ChrisMatson

    ChrisMatson Cinematographer

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    FYI: I am also considering an upgrade from regular cable to either digital cable or satellite. I live in Silver Spring, MD and I emailed Comcast over a week ago asking what exactly the specifications are for the new digital cable they offer in my area. I have not received a response yet. I currently have the crappy GI box and my signal ranges from fair to poor.
    I would love to move up to satellite, but I want local channels (network and public television) with as little hassle as possible. No HDTV in the forseeable future. Any ideas? I will check out the websites mentioned above.
    -Chris
     
  9. Scott Amendolaro

    Scott Amendolaro Auditioning

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    90% of the programming on the Digital Satellites is coverted from a C-band Analog Feed.
    The only place that Digital it better then Analog is in Cable and OTA. Although I guess the days of watching those snowy far away channels.
     
  10. DaleB

    DaleB Stunt Coordinator

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    I have the larger Dish 500 (21.5" vs. 18") and with dual LNBs enjoy local programming. Unfortunately, not ALL the local programming, but 4 major networks plus PBS.
    At a $5 a month charge. For the overall quality and convenience, it's worth it to me.
     

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