According to reviewers at CreditDonkey, Yahoo Homes and About Tech, satellite TV services have an edge over cable in terms of price and availability; however, cable companies generally provide more reliable reception, offer better contracts and deliver better customer service. Satellite TV and cable services are fairly evenly matched in terms of bundled services and programming.
Satellite television trumps cable in terms of price because satellite providers do not have to maintain as much infrastructure as cable companies do. This allows satellite providers to pack dozens of channels into their cheapest plans. Cable companies offer cheaper lower-end plans than satellite providers do, but their entry-level offerings don't typically provide customers with much more than a few minor channels atop the standard blend of local broadcasters. On a cost per channel basis, satellite still wins.
The availability advantage of satellite is due to the fact that customers can still get satellite reception even if they live far from a city. As long as a location has a clear view of the sky, a dish, a receiver and a subscription is all that a person needs to get crystal clear TV. However, bad weather can obscure the direct line of sight required to maintain good reception. This allows cable to gain an edge over satellite in terms of reception reliability.
Cable companies also beat satellite TV providers as far as customer service is concerned because cable companies tend to have more physical stores. The nature of their business often leads satellite TV providers to rely more heavily on phone and online customer support, but the lack of face-to-face contact can leave some customers feeling less satisfied than with their cable counterparts.