It's an ages-old battle. Which one is better: cable television or satellite television? I've been on both sides of the issue. My family had satellite for a long while until we switched over to cable TV. And in my experience, I've found that while satellite generally offers more variety of channels for often a cheaper price, cable is more convenient and gives you more reliable service. Let's take a closer look at both options and how they stack up against each other.

Initial Setup

If your house is already wired for cable, you'll just need to plug your TV in to get the basic channels, then purchase or rent a cable box to obtain the additional channels. However, if your house isn't wired for cable, you'll need to have a professional installer run cable throughout your home and install a wall plate with a connector in order to tap into the cable. As for satellite, all you really need is the dish and the satellite receiver box. The only catch is that the dish must be facing the South, which could be a problem if you live in an apartment with a shared South-facing wall.


In this case, reception answers two questions: can you get service where you live, and are there any issues that can interfere with reception? One of the good things about satellite is that, as long as you have a clear view of the southern sky, you can get service just about anywhere, even out in the boondocks. But satellites can be susceptible to a number of reception inferences, such as severe weather, or the dish itself getting knocked out. On the other hand, it's quite a bit more difficult to get cable service in the boonies, as it takes many, many miles of wires to get cable service to a rural community. However, with cable you don't have to worry so much about losing your signal, except in the case of a cable outage.

Channels and Cost

Of course, the exact line up of channels and costs will vary from provider to provider. But generally speaking, in most cases your basic satellite package will carry the same line-up of channels as your premium cable package, often times for the same cost. Many cable providers will boast about bundling and how much money you can save when you combine their cable service with telephone and Internet service as well. But for those of you who take the time to shop around, you may find that combining the more personalized, "a la carte," satellite packages with a stand-alone Internet service could save you quite a bit of money.

Third Option?

If neither cable or satellite strikes your fancy, you could always do what I did and take the third option: ditch cable and satellite altogether and get a streaming service. Since I don't watch much TV anymore myself, I've found that using streaming services like Netflix and Hulu to watch TV shows and movies is not only more convenient, it's also much cheaper than either option. And apparently, I'm not alone. There's a growing trend of households ditching both cable and satellites and going to "zero TV" homes. I'll explain more about it in next week's edition of The Geek Girl Report.

Be sure and check out The Geek Girl Report every Tuesday morning, only on And be sure to follow me on Twitter as well: @ArielWalden214.