Television has come a long way over the past few years. With literally thousands of channels to choose from, and a range of different companies offering different television packages, it can be overwhelming.
The digital switch over in the UK has made things even more complicated. Now that analogue TV is no longer an option, every householder has had to decide how they want to receive their signal.
Whether you’re planning on getting an extensive package, or are just going for a set top Freeview box, you still need to choose how you’re going to receive your signal. There are three main options: satellite, internet, and cable. Each one has its own pros and cons, which you should make yourself aware of before signing any contracts.
Best for: masters of their own TV-watching destiny
Also known as internet protocol television (IPTV), internet television uses broadband signals to deliver programming to television sets. On-demand services such as iPlayer and streaming sites like Netflix can be accessed through an internet television, making it a great option for people who want to have control over what they want to watch and when.
There are a few disadvantages associated with internet TV: the main one being that not every television show is available to stream online. In some cases, programmes aren’t broadcast online until weeks or months after they were shown on satellite or cable TV. You may also need to buy a new television set that can support browsing.
While sites like Netflix have a good range of movies and TV shows, if you want a full range of options you may find yourself paying a variety of subscription fees to a number of different websites. Instead of getting one easy to read bill at the end of the month, your subscription charges will be taken from your bank account on a piecemeal basis.
Best for: avid telly watchers
Homes with satellite TV’s receive their signal through a dish, attached to the outside of the building. People have been choosing satellite TV for years because it offers high definition image and sound. Another selling point is that it’s possible to receive a signal even if you live in a remote area without access to cable TV or broadband internet. There are more satellite channels than cable channels, so avid TV viewers may find they have a better range of programming with a satellite television package.
There are a few cons, of course. The signal can become interrupted during heavy snow and rain, and if there’s anything obstructing the dish (such as a tree) it can cause some signal issues. However these problems are generally few and far between, and dish technology is improving all the time.
Best for: people who want a choice of satellite channels without installing a dish
Cable TV enters the home through underground cables. If you live in a listed building this is a better option than satellite, as there’s no need for dish installation. Because the cables are underground the signal isn’t interrupted by external factors such as weather. Cable TV doesn’t have the same huge selection of channels as satellite, but the range is still pretty impressive. Cable is often less expensive than satellite, too.
The problem with cable is that it’s only available in certain areas. While most city slickers will be able to get a cable package no problem, if you live in a rural village you might find it a little more difficult. It’s worth checking whether cable is available in your area before committing yourself to the idea.
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