I am in Philadelphia, PA. Does anyone know what my choices are for cable tv?
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Choosing cable companies may or may not be an issue. In some areas, people will have two basic choices: the local cable provider and satellite TV providers. Other places, especially larger areas, may have several cable companies to choose from, in addition to having a number of satellite TV companies. Whether or not people have a choice depends very much on where they live.
Cable companies may offer the following differing services. They can offer access to television programming, cable Internet access and even phone service. Obviously customers need to decide what they want when they look at the different companies available. They may only want TV programming, or they may be looking for full service that gives them TV, phone and Internet at the same time. Cable Internet is definitely faster than most other forms including those that run through regular telephone lines (DSL) and wireless service, and this might be a point of consideration.
A lot of the cable companies sell things in packages, which means people pay higher prices for more channels and more services. Sometimes these packages have attractive early incentives. For instance a company could offer phone, Internet and a good selection of channels for under $100 US Dollars (USD). These are usually initial rates and cost will go up after the introductory period has expired. It’s a good idea to understand eventual cost, including any extra charges for boxes, DVRs, and taxes before being drawn in by an introductory rate, and certainly find out how long the introduction period lasts.
Within these packages, consumers may have some choices about what type of programming they’d like, though they’ll still get some channels they probably never view. It makes sense to get an across the board comparison between the cable companies and any satellite providers in the area to determine the channel offerings most suited to channel needs. Also look at things like number of digital channels (if that matters) and availability of digital video recording, on demand services, and premium channels. Usually companies also have a very low rates for “basic” customers. If all people want is local news and a few of the main broadcast networks, compare prices of the basic packages to determine least expensive ones.
Other things to compare include average time to complete repairs. How soon will a cable provider be out to fix any problems? Ask friends and neighbors too, about the companies they prefer. Some may have definite opinions on companies they like or dislike, and are able to make recommendations based on their experiences.
Many people are torn between the virtues of cable companies and satellite providers. Satellite may provide slightly better picture quality, but it is less reliable in extreme weather, and it means having additional equipment that must be attached to a dwelling. Renters and anyone belonging to a homeowners association should check permissibility of installing small satellite dishes prior to contracting with a satellite TV company.
When there are several cable companies it is possible to strike deals with each one to get the best prices. If another company, which a homeowner doesn’t want to use, is offering a better rate, talk to the preferred cable provider to see if it will match the deal. Surprisingly, some companies are very good at this because they clearly want to keep people as customers.
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