You may have noticed recent headlines predicting the death of satellite TV, but don’t count it out just yet. While there has been a lot of talk over the last 5 years about cutting the cord on pay-TV – and going with just internet, and/or using an antenna to pick up local channel transmissions over the air – it’s not quite that simple.
Indeed, just this year, we’ve seen the big satellite players roll out low-end, internet-only offerings, such as DIRECTV NOW, specifically designed for these cord cutters. But there are serious technological advantages to the Direct Broadcast Satellite (DBS) model used in satellite TV as opposed to the Internet Protocol (IP) type that many cord cutters use instead.
In this article, we’ll cover all the big reasons why satellite TV won’t be going anywhere anytime soon.
1. The satellite TV product is just too good
For the last 20+ years, satellite TV companies have aggressively pursued the cable companies’ customer base in terms of value, channel selection, hardware, features, price points and more. The end result is an ultra-high-end consumer viewing experience.
The digital video recording (DVR) features have matured to the point where it’s super simple to record and store 5-16 simultaneous, high-definition video streams. And the set-top boxes just keep getting better and better with new features like multi-room audio and intelligent voice recognition from Dish Network in the last few weeks.
You won’t get all this with a TV antenna or streaming services like Netflix or Sling.
2. Satellite installations are higher quality and more affordable than ever
Long gone are the days when you’d have to pay $200 to a guy in torn jeans to install satellite system that you just bought for $500 at a big box store. These days, with an agreement, standard installations are free, most hardware is included and the satellite installers are highly trained, certified professionals.
The cost is not only lower for the customer, but the economies of scale mean it is more affordable for the satellite TV service providers as well. Even the quality of the materials used in the installations keeps going up as the industry continues to mature.
3. The broad bandwidth of satellite TV
Whenever someone watches a video stream over the internet with the new IPTV solutions, a server somewhere needs to actually spend finite memory, processing and bandwidth resources to upload that content to the viewer.
It doesn’t strain the servers that much for a few hundred or a few thousand viewers watching standard definition TV, but when you start talking millions of viewers simultaneously trying to stream HD video all from the same server cluster, you run into issues.
We will see growing 4K video delivery put the same kind of bandwidth stress on IP networks. Satellite television, on the other hand, is completely blind to the number of simultaneous viewers. In fact, there are some 30 million satellite television subscribers, and the satellite delivery infrastructure doesn’t skip a beat.
4. Satellite can handle the load of live events and sports
In particular, live events and sports tend to bring in a huge number of simultaneous viewers that often cripple internet delivery networks. IPTV viewers are all too familiar with the frustrating process of buffering, waiting, turning off other devices, waiting some more.
There is no getting rid of these major live events like sports, the Olympic games, breaking news of national importance, natural disasters, major network series releases, and so forth. And while IPTV suffers during times of massive simultaneous network usage, satellite can handle it all in stride.
5. The far reach of satellite TV
The United States is a massive, sprawling landscape. A large percentage of the population in the United States lives in areas where high-speed cable or fiber just isn’t available. No amount of IPTV offerings or promotions are going to bring high-speed internet to these remote locations.
Satellite, on the other hand, can go anywhere. Not only that, but the satellite network can still distribute service even for densely-populated areas such as high-rise buildings, massive condos and apartment complexes. From there, commercial accounts can be built to distribute over a mini-cable network just for that site.
The reach of satellite TV is limited only by the curvature of the earth, and its penetration is also 100% with diverse commercial and institutional offerings.
6. Satellite providers are more than ready for the future of TV
As we mentioned earlier, major satellite television service providers are highly adept at lowering their startup costs and increasing their promotions to meet the demands of the market. They know all about the cord-cutting movement, and while you might think that massive corporations with a strong financial interest in the status quo would want to pass laws restricting consumer access to alternative technologies, the exact opposite is true.
Many satellite TV providers have already rolled out packages aimed at cord cutters in the price range of less than $40 a month. Perhaps they’ve learned from other companies that new technologies must be embraced.
Check out satellite TV packages in your area
The list above is just a few reasons why satellite TV is here to stay. If you’re interested in getting satellite TV service for your home, check out available packages with Allconnect®. We’ll help you find and compare providers, packages, equipment and more, all in one place.
Originally published 1/26/17. Last updated 12/20/18.