Television watchers tune in best provider

There have been many questions human beings have pondered throughout existence. Why are we here? Paper or plastic? Do you want fries with that? Here's another one you can try on for size: Is satellite or cable television best for me?
Norwalk Reflector Staff
Jul 24, 2010

There have been many questions human beings have pondered throughout existence. Why are we here? Paper or plastic? Do you want fries with that?

Here's another one you can try on for size: Is satellite or cable television best for me?

Cable and satellite television both appear to provide advantages and disadvantages.

First, according to several online sources, satellite television appears to be less expensive.

On a national basis, many dish packages begin at about $30, while cable packages can start at about $45.

In the Firelands area, Time Warner Cable's basic package starts at less than $15, while the expanded basic costs between $50 and $55.

The amount of televisions in the home can play a part in which system to choose.

Homes with more than three televisions may want to go with cable because satellite companies will charge for extra receivers in the home.

But, satellite dishes usually come with pay-per-view options right there with the initial package, while cable subscribers often have to add an extra box and extra cost to obtain pay-per-view choices and higher-tier channels.

For those interested in Internet connections, satellite can offer a DSL connection which is faster than dial-up, but slower than the cable connection like Time Warner's Road Runner, which is popular in this area.

Many say signal interruptions also are a key component in choosing a system. Foul weather can knock out a satellite signal for a few minutes, but a cable line being cut on accident can down cable television for hours.

Availability is another factor. Cable may not be offered in some rural areas, while satellite is available everywhere.

Some say customer service is better with cable as cable companies often have a real building where the customer can walk in. Satellite customers many times have to call a toll-free number and end up being serviced by a company that has contracted with the satellite provider.

Kelly Henry of Huron, assistant education coordinator at Fisher-Titus Medical Center, has chosen cable over satellite.

"We chose cable over satellite because cable is more reliable considering Ohio's weather patterns," Henry said. "In our experience, satellite TV loses its signal in high wind, rain and snow storms. We also want to keep our local channels. Another benefit to cable is the ability to bundle phone, high-speed Internet and cable."

Cable companies often provide a month-to-month service, while satellite providers might require a contract, sometimes for up to a year.

Diana Strouse of Castalia and the local Farm Service Agency has also chosen cable.

"We have Buckeye Cable Express at home," she said. "We have had their service for a long time for cable. We recently upgraded to broadband and they are now our Internet provider and we have our phone through them (Buckeye). It is easy and dependable. Cost is actually less than having a separate provider for each item. We have been very happy with our choice. Only problem is finding time to watch the bazillion channels we have now."

But not everyone is in on this satellite or cable television craze. Retired Huron County auditor John Elmlinger has used the old-school antenna since 1983 at his home on Dogtown Road south of Monroeville.

"Yep, since 1983 that's all we've known," Elmlinger said. "It's actually in the attic. We can pick up the Toledo stations perfectly, but with Cleveland we have a tough time with Channel 5. Channels 3 and 8 are no problem."

Elmlinger said his family has toyed with the idea of getting a satellite for years.

"With the sports channels, it would be nice to have the satellite," he said. "Next year we'll probably have it. My kids say we're the only ones in the whole word that don't have it."

Robert Wheeler of Milan Township and system administrator at FTMC, has satellite service.

"I live in Milan Township and I use satellite because I cannot get cable where I live (and) given the option of cable I'd stay with satellite as there are stations I cannot get on cable," Wheeler said. "FSTV and LINK alone are worth the price.

"I do have intermittent problems when there is severe weather, but this is a minor inconvenience," Wheeler added.