Technology has played a paramount role in the advancement of our lives today. From simple TV sets to modern LEDs, we have seen it all! Now, you can conveniently watch your favorite TV shows and movie series on many different types of devices. Furthermore, you can also choose from a variety of different TV connections to do so. Many people shift from a regular internet package to a double or triple play that also includes a TV. The reason being that for these bundles, many service providerโ€™s prices like Spectrum internet prices are quite economical.

However, many of us still have certain confusions and queries regarding cable and broadcast TV. You may be wondering if a cable connection is better than a broadcast one or not? No problem! Know about the key differences between these two connection types and then make a final decision.

The Difference Between Broadcast TV and Cable TV

There are many options in the market such as broadcast, cable, and local connections. In such a situation, it is important to understand the salient features of all these connections. It is also important to note their differences. The pricing and the packages of all these types are quite different from one another. Likewise, there is also a difference in the type of data transmission. For both viewers and advertisers, these different types of connections bring different possibilities.

In the following passages, learn more about the differences between broadcast TV and cable TV.

Broadcast Television

In the US, broadcast television used to be the most widely used type of TV connection. This terrestrial TV system transmits and receives data with the help of public airwaves. Any TV is eligible for a broadcast TV connection. The TV, however, must be within the range of the broadcast transmitter. Broadcast television systems come in both analog and digital formats. NTSC, PAL, and SECAM are analog versions whereas ATCS, DVB, ISDB, and DTMB are the digital ones.

Commonly known as commercial channels, the channels on the network focus on advertising. ABC, CBS, NBC, and The CW are all broadcast channels. Do note that analog transmission is no longer in operation in most parts of the world. Digital transmission, however, is quite active.

Broadcasting TV channels are, in fact, legacy networks due to their obsolete technology. Since they are available for free for any TV in the transmission range, they are quite useful for TV channels who want to boost their advertising campaigns.

As broadcasting TV systems are no longer in use largely, it is wise to avoid them. A majority of TV networks have already shifted to cable TV. 

Cable Television

Cable television is quite different to broadcast TV. Unlike broadcast TV systems, cable TV systems transmit and receive data with the help of radiofrequency (RF) signals. Recently, the transmission has also been through other modes such as coaxial cables and optic-fiber. A cable TV connection, unlike a broadcast connection, is not free. Users have to subscribe to such a service.

For RF transmission, an antenna is connected to a TV that receives and transmits waves. In the case of coaxial cables, the transmission is via cables. For optic-fiber cables, the transmission is through glass strands within the cable that transmit data in the form of light.

Note that channels available on a cable TV connection are private entities. Therefore, the competition between these channels is quite high. Furthermore, the diversity of content on cable TV is also higher compared to broadcast TV. The network runs ads to generate revenue. The subscribers also pay either a monthly or an annual subscription fee.

On cable TV, you can find a wide range of TV channels. TV channels related to sports, movies, children, adults, news, and weather, etc. are present in abundance here. Video-on-demand and live shows are also a key offering of cable TV. Today, cable TV is the most popular TV connection type in the US.


Now you know the differences between broadcast TV and cable TV. With the help of this information, you can decide if cable TV works for you or not. Make an informed decision after understanding your requirements.

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