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Choosing a Television Service Provider

Updated on May 20, 2015

Television set

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Choosing a Television Service Provider

There are several options available from which one can choose when considering a provider of television service, and internet as well. One can opt for simply installing an antenna, or perhaps a good pair of rabbit ears, choose a satellite service, or choose a physical cable connection, which might be a coaxel cable or a glass fiber. Which you will choose depend on your location and needs. Not every service is available in every location. And, internet is not going to come through an antenna or rabbit ears.


Local Service

Picking up signals of free channels is, well, free. That is a real inexpensive option, but the service is limited to only some channels, and those are not necessarily clear. It depends on the distance you are from the transmitter, and the power used to transmit. An outside antenna helps, and indoor rabbit ears can also assist, but may need adjustment as channels are changed.

Samsung Television Set

Samsung UN32J4000C 32-Inch 720p LED TV (2015 Model)
Samsung UN32J4000C 32-Inch 720p LED TV (2015 Model)

Buy a quality television, then find the best service to make the expperience great.

 

Fiber Optic Service

If fiber optic service is available it has the advantage of not being subject to electrical interference, and does bring in a clear image. Fiber optics allow several signals to be transmitted together by using different frequencies to carry them. This is like radio signals from different stations arriving through the same atmosphere. But, fiber optics is digital, meaning the signal is sampled and the wave reconstructed before your television set uses it. It is that freedom from electrical interference that makes a clear image.

Other Cable Service

Cable service that does not use glass fiber uses coaxel cable, which is needed to transmit images adequately. It is less susceptible to interference than free television, which tends to struggle through lightning in the proximity of the transmitter, but is not as good as glass fiber. Some older services still use cable in lieu of fiber because of the enormous expense of replacing many miles of cable with glass fiber.

Rabbit Ears

RCA ANT111Z Durable FM Antenna, Rabbit Ears
RCA ANT111Z Durable FM Antenna, Rabbit Ears

If you use a satellite this is a good back-up.

 

Satellite Service

This may be a good option for you, or may not. It depends on the weather. If it works, the incoming signal produces a very clear image. But, that image can really deteriorate fast when the signal passes through thunderstorms. It appears that there is a problem transmitting through ice, and there is ice in the tops of thunderstorms. This is a service that might work well in a dry climate, but might have problems elsewhere.

My Experience

About ten years ago I had coaxel cable serving my home. Unfortunately, I was far out, and had both television and internet from the same provider. This is the economical way to go, since bundling can bring about discounts. During the week I would have my computer go down in the morning. The pattern, and repetition of the time of day, indicated a repeating cause. Then, it came to me that there was a business corridor on the same cable as I was on, and when the businesses, mostly retail shops, opened in the morning there was just not enough signal for me. I may be wrong, but this was my evaluation of the situation, the energy was being drained from the cable and unable to carry my service.

I tried another provider that used fiber optics. Things went fine until the promotional discounts disappeared. When I called to see what could be done, which was a little over a year ago, I was told that there was a partnership with a satellite service. I was advised to convert to their new partner. That proved to be an error.

Once I got to a representative from the satellite service I asked many questions, including whether or not the service could be received during rain. I was assured that only during severe weather, which would be about twice a year, would there be a problem. Well, the service went down after about a week, and I reported it. I was told there was severe weather in my area. It was a light to moderate rain, which is not considered severe in an area with over sixty inches of rainfall annually. Yet, it knocked my service out. A week later, and down it went again. After still another week it started to look like a pattern. In fact, it would go down if the storm was just close by, but between me and the satellites.

I became a chronic caller, just to keep the log going. I was sent the special team that could fix whatever the problem happened to be, but they reported everything was right with the service. I asked several questions, and often would be given an answer, then have that answer contradicted during the next call. Questions they do not like include such things as “Why can the government satellites get through ice and you cannot?” When I got high enough I was told that they boost the signal during the Super Bowl and during the final for American Idol. But, there was silence when I pointed out I bought the service for every day, not just two, and boosting the signal might be the answer, although cost them something. If they sell a service they should provide it.

A few weeks back came the decision to go back to glass, even though I have several months on a two year contract that I have to pay to leave. A severe thunderstorm with a tornado warning was approaching, and the meteorologist had just broken into the programming. Then I lost service. A few days later I got my bill, and the promotional package had expired. It want up! So, in my location I cannot recommend satellite service.

Avoid Long Contracts, Things Are Changing

The current trend is to have television via your computer. It may soon be that other services are obsolete. And, you can get the internet anywhere your smart phone will work. Those cell towers transmit below the ice in the towering thunderstorms.

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    • Blackspaniel1 profile image
      Author

      Blackspaniel1 2 years ago

      I am also hoping internet can become a reality. The shopping channels and many others can be dropped.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

      I'm hoping that Internet options for local tv service will eventually make cable unnecessary in my area.

    • Blackspaniel1 profile image
      Author

      Blackspaniel1 2 years ago

      It is too wet here, thunderstorms, to make satellite a good option for me.

    • Lady Lorelei profile image

      Lorelei Cohen 2 years ago from Canada

      We also had quite the battle figuring out which television company to go with (personally I think they are all too expensive for what you get). We had cable but like you we kept having outages so my husband got angry and asked that they compensate him for the downtown. They refused so he disconnected their service and went with a satellite system. I am not too impressed with it but after having had it for 2 years now my husband is content with it so it will stay. We also have our services bundled and it has reduced our costs substantially over the first provider. Bundling is definitely the way to go.