What to Watch: Cable TV vs. Online Streaming



With the decreasing cost and increasing popularity of high-speed internet, more and more customers are watching television programs online.  Although several streaming companies offer paid-content services, many websites offer hundreds of TV shows and movies for free.  Below is a comprehensive analysis of cable TV versus online streaming.

Cable TV is a standard which has been around for decades.  One big advantage of cable TV over online streaming is that one can watch TV programs at any television in their home.  There is no additional setup required, and virtually all homes are already wired for cable.  Also, most television sets provide a larger viewing display than home computers and laptops.  There are no computer monitors comparable in size to 60-inch, 50-inch, 40-inch, or even 32-inch televisions.  For a full-size television viewing experience, cable TV beats online streaming.

Another advantage of cable is consistency.  All cable TV programs are viewable in full quality, meaning standard-definition (SD) or high-definition (HD).  Proper cable service doesn't provide blurry, glitchy content which might be seen online.  Regardless of the age of one's home or internet speed, all cable TV programs are available in full quality. 

The last main advantage of cable is immediate availability.  Programs can be viewed live, which cannot be said for online streaming.  New programs can be viewed as they air on cable, without having to wait a day or more.  For live programming and brand new TV show episodes, cable TV is the hands-down winner.  As of 2012, cable is the only way to watch new content as it airs, without any additional hardware.

Although cable TV service has its benefits, online streaming is not far behind.  Firstly, thousands of hours of television programming are available online for free.  Users with a high-speed internet connection are able to view their favorite programs at no additional cost.  To gain access to even more programming and the ability to view content on television sets, many online streaming sites offer a paid service.

Online streaming content also offers users mobility.  As long as an internet connection is available, one can watch television programs from their laptop or mobile device.  Because of online streaming, users can now watch TV shows in absolutely any room of the house, in a cafe, or even in their car.  For location flexibility (the ability to watch TV practically anywhere), online streaming is a great choice.

For the tech savvy viewer, online streaming offers ease-of-use.  Finding a TV program to watch is as simple as typing the show name into a search field.  High-speed internet browsing is often much faster than scrolling through cable TV menus and On-Demand content guides.  Cable TV menus are limited to hardware capabilities, while online streaming sites are constantly updated and improved for the consumer.

Overall, cable TV and online streaming each have their own advantages.  Depending on one's budget and preference of viewing, choosing between cable TV and online streaming can be a tough decision.  However, both services can be used by anyone, at any time.  

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