Pros and Cons of Cable TV

By Amanda Parme
Is cable the right choice for your family?

Approximately 100 million Americans have cable television. Cable television offers packages of channels, of which many are unavailable over the free airwaves by antenna. The cable industry is responsible for nearly 1.8 million jobs in the United States. The industry is a major contributor to the U.S. economy. People who work for the cable industry are directly benefited by cable television. People whose only connection with cable is their remote may choose to weigh the pros and cons of cable each month as they receive the bill.

Variety

The variety of channels available through cable television is seemingly endless. Choice and options are at the touch of a button. This wide selection of channels and programming ensures that every household with a cable subscription has access to diverse programming to meet their information needs and entertainment desires. The negative side of this is the way cable companies lump the channels together. Families are often required to get channels they do not desire in order to have the channels they want to watch. These package offerings can be costly and bring programming into the home that is undesired for many reasons. It may be as simple as the family not caring for the programming, or the package may have channels that have inappropriate content for family members.

Reliability

When compared to antenna television reception and satellite television, cable is considered to be a much more reliable option for reception. Cable service that is a direct feed into your home and television set has fewer outages and fewer instances of static or loss of picture due to weather conditions. However, some cable services may still experience outages or faulty equipment. These instances are becoming fewer and fewer as technology continues to improve.

Added Services and Equipment

While some basic cable does not require you to have any more than a coaxial cable to be connected to the service, many companies require cable boxes and specific remote controls. These boxes provide access to more channels, High Definition capabilities, DVR, and Video on Demand. With a new contract, often this equipment is free, but after the introductory period you may be charged a fee to continue to use this equipment to access the services you have chosen.

Cost and Contracts

Cable is a contracted service. Many cities have access to multiple service providers, creating a competitive market for the consumer to get the best deal. Introductory prices offer great savings and deals for the consumer, but make sure you read the fine print. These prices often go up dramatically six to 12 months after the beginning of service. Premium channels cost extra. Keep your paperwork that outlines your contract, to ensure you are billed correctly. At the end of your introductory period, it may be wise to call the company’s customer service to see if you can renegotiate in a competitive market. While they may not lower your cost, they may offer you additional service or channels.

About the Author

Based in Wisconsin, Amanda Parme has been a writer and teacher since 2001. She has continued writing while teaching and completing a Masters of Fine Arts at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Parme also has a Bachelor of Fine Arts in music education from Northern State University