What Is the Difference Between Cable & Direct TV?

By Darrin Meyer

One of the biggest decisions for TV fans is whether to choose cable or satellite as their television service provider. Since most areas only have one cable company, satellite TV, especially leading provider DirecTV, can be a welcome alternative. Both promise the best service and the lowest prices, but which one is the best for you depends on a number of different factors.


The rates a subscriber pays will obviously hinge on the services, features and number of channels desired. DirecTV has packages starting at $29.99 a month and generally offers lower prices for comparable packages, though that may vary depending on the cable company serving your market.


The higher bandwidth that satellite TV offers means more channels are available with DirecTV than cable, including more HD channels and a greater number of sports channels from different regions and geographic areas.


Both cable and DirecTV offer the major broadcast and cable-based networks, with cable generally being a better option for receiving all available local channels. DirecTV also has its own channel of original programming (Channel 101) as well as exclusive optional sports packages including the NFL and NASCAR.

Picture Quality

Though picture quality largely depends on the TV, satellite TV offers a slightly better picture because of the compression necessary with cable TV to send the signals through the network of cables.


Cable TV providers and DirecTV both provide similar service, equipment and features, but one advantage cable enjoys is that satellite TV has a greater possibility of being affected by storms, bad weather and other obstructions, causing the signal to fade or be temporarily lost.