What Should I Consider When Comparing Satellite Service?

Ken Black

The decision to subscribe to a satellite service is one that many people have trouble making, especially if they have never used such a service before. Cable, in some ways, is much simpler. There is usually only one provider in the area and the provider has a preset number of packages. Satellite service providers are numerous, with the two major ones, at least in the United States, being DirecTV™ and Dish Network™, both of which are owned by the same people but offer competing products.

Communications satellites are used to broadcast television signals.
Communications satellites are used to broadcast television signals.

The first thing to consider, when looking at a satellite service, is whether your site location is good for such a service. Heavily wooded lots, or areas with many tall buildings around, may not be able to get the line of sight needed for the service. If there are questions, a satellite service installer should be able to help provide answers. In rural areas, satellite TV may and satellite internet may be the only options.

Choosing a satellite provider often is a personal choice.
Choosing a satellite provider often is a personal choice.

Also, it is good to look at the packages. Satellite TV packages can be purchased with high definition channels or without. There are different tiers of packages available as well, with more channels being offered with the more expensive packages. However, the regular channel lineups are not the only thing to consider.

Some satellite service providers will offer special sports packages, a few of which may be exclusive to a particular service. If sports subscriptions will be a major factor in the decision-making process, this may make the choice relatively easy. For example, the NFL Sunday Ticket™ is only available on DirecTV™.

Another thing to consider is whether a potential subscriber wants satellite internet service. This service is available from a number of different satellite providers, some of which may offer package discounts. However, there are a number of things to consider with broadband satellite internet service. The line of sight is still an issue. Upload speeds can also be a problem. In some cases, they are much slower than download speeds. For those who are sending large amounts of information over the Internet, this could be an important factor.

In most cases, choosing the right satellite service will not depend so much on what the company is capable of delivering -- all offer adequate levels of service -- but on what the personal preferences of the individual are. Some companies may be able to get installation completed quicker than others, depending on the time of the year. Others may have better introductory promotions taking place when a potential customer is in the market for the service. In the end, the choice often comes down to price and convenience.

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