Cable vs Satellite

I have an issue with my cable company – IT’S TOO DAMN EXPENSIVE!

Oh that feels much better. Anyway I have been thinking about moving over to satellite. Now there are only two major satellite companies to consider and I looked at them both.


First things first: Technology

I know that the technology of satellite is good. Excellent in fact. Hence the argument between cable and satellite technology is actually mute because there is no real difference between the two technologies. Both are reliable in every aspect of the word. So in my research I have found that overall the technology is matched evenly.

So if the difference isn’t technology what is it?

Let us talk about cable companies, of which there are many. However each cable company is set in it’s own monopoly which means you do not have the option of changing cable companies. You are stuck with your cable provider and the only way out of it is via DSL or satellite.

Now I’ve only had experience with DSL internet not television so on that issue I am not knowledgeable enough to make an opinion. Not as of this writing at least. However my opinion of DSL internet is not favorable thus I draw a conclusion that television may not be much better. But I do need to do more research on this element before I can say definitively. Hence I will keep this article strictly between cable and satellite.

Cable companies vary greatly but in general they all employ the same technology which makes them equal in that regard. So again we will ignore the technology side of the equation and move on the real differences between cable and satellite. Which is: Service.

Cable Service

Customer service to be exact.

Since all cable companies are created differently their customer service is also different. One cable company may provided excellent customer service while another is just the opposite. Again this element depends upon who is in charge of the cable company.

Drawing upon your own experience you must decide at what level your cable customer service is operating at. Excellent to poor are the choices. For my cable company the choice is FAIR, not outstanding, just fair. They could do so much better. Which is another reason I wish to leave them.

Satellite Service

Again we are discussing customer service.

Having a desire to lower my cable bill, which includes cable internet, I began to research what satellite had to offer. Now I must interject here, having experience in satellite internet communications (via my job) I know that nothing beats cable internet. So I know that I must stay with my cable company for my internet service. This is a no brainer and we will speak of it no more.

This leaves the television side of the equation. Satellite television has a lot to offer and we already discussed the technology side meaning I had to look at customer service. What I found has discouraged me from going satellite. I shall explain.

When I research a company I go the BBB website. First thing I do. On the BBB website I look for the following:

  1. Are they a member?
  2. What is their rating (A+ to F)?
  3. What is their customer complaint record?
  4. Are their complaints resolved?
  5. Are they resolved in a timely manner?

Asking these questions I can make some conclusions which I use to determine if this is a business I want to associate with. Now they do not have to be a member of the BBB because there are some really great businesses who are not members but are outstanding in every respect. So this question is not a break it or make it issue for me.

If the business is not a member they generally do not have a rating assigned to them. Understandable of course, but some do and it helps in my conclusions.

No, where I give the weight is on the complaint record. Now every business is going to have complaints. We deal with human beings and some customers being human (I think) will complain about anything. This is expected.

However the question becomes how many people complain and what are they complaining about? When doing research I seek out the reasons people are complaining. These reasons tell me if the complaints are valid or invalid. Experience has taught me how to weed out those who complain just to complain and those who have legitimate complaints.

What I found with satellite (both companies) discouraged me from my plan to switch service. Two or three hundred complaints about various items out of several thousand customers, expected and most can be ignored. Several thousand complaints about the same issue (over a one year period) cannot be ignored.

And satellite customer service complaints about the same issue, regardless of provider, tells me that satellite customer service is going to be a nightmare. Words like “bait and switch” used hundreds, if not thousands of times, is not good. Additional words like “hidden fees,” “taking money out of your checking account without your permission,” “unable to get help on customer and technology service” is also a negative issue.

All of this leads to one conclusion: The technology is there and very dependable, customer service is not.

Now for those who may ask I did a comparison with my cable company and discovered only about 300 complaints (over a three year period) most of which were concluded in a satisfactory manner. Like I said, but will repeat, I give my cable company a FAIR rating, not outstanding.

Bottom line is this: Until satellite gets their customer service act in gear there is no way I can switch providers. I won’t do it. I have enough headaches without adding another to my life.

Now to be fair there are some satellite customers who are extremely happy with their satellite service. Bravo Zulu to them. Unfortunately the number of negative complaints compared to the positive ones, well negative won hands down.

So  I will stay with my cable company for now, but damn that bill is expensive.