How are broadcast TV and cable TV different?


With the emergence of technology and how rapidly the TV industry has grown in the last two decades, we need some explanations when we discuss a particular set or tool. The devices, tools, gadgets are all made for humans’ convenience but at some point, it gets confusing because before availing them or disregarding them, educating yourself, staying informed, and enlightening is the key.

When it comes to getting cable service providers, we have limited options that we can subscribe to but the best idea is to be aware of the one that delivers what it promises in your area. In a similar scenario, Mediacom internet, Xfinity, Spectrum are on the tips when it comes to availing internet services in the United States.

Broadcast TV transmits its services through airwaves. There is an antenna at the receiving end to catch the signals to display channels from 2 to 13. NBC, CBS, and similar networks are fine examples of broadcast TV. Apart from this, you’ll find a few independent stations working as broadcast TV.

In this article, however, we will try to find how broadcast TV is different from cable TV. For those who cannot differentiate already, let’s find out in the further read!

How cable TV works?

Cable TV transmits its services in the form of microwaves where it uses cables as the only transmission medium. You have to purchase these cables as there is no other option of enjoying your cable TV services without them. As it uses cables instead of airwaves, the FCC (Federal Communication Council) doesn’t have any jurisdiction over it.

Cable TV has been serving people since the 1940s. It has been a long time, but around 70% of Americans still vote for Cable TV as the best entertainment source.

When we use the word Cable TV, entertainment is what comes into everyone’s mind. This system isn’t for displaying commercial ads. It offers seamless entertainment for those who buy its subscription. Cable TV providers offer many subscription plans that you have to purchase to watch Cable TV channels.

Cable TV channels have something for every one of you which makes a popular choice of households. You need to make sure that you read the terms and policies as they are passed by the FCC. And don’t feel surprised if you see a Cable TV channel running commercial ads. It also has the right to do it and ads are one of the sources of income for cable companies.

What is broadcast TV?

Not only in the US, but broadcast TV is well-known worldwide. The majority of TV users prefer broadcast TV because of its cheap cost. This is, in fact, a free-of-cost service, except for the equipment used i.e. antenna and wire that connects to the TV. It also doesn’t need much equipment to let you use the services which makes it hassle-free. You need a TV, a broadcast transmitter, and a receiving antenna. The antenna will catch the signals from the transmitter and those signals with allowing you to watch the received TV channels on your TV screen.

Commercial Channels is another name for Broadcast TV Channels. Companies pay for displaying their running ads on the channels. The channels charge a heft amount of money for running the commercial ads. However, not all broadcast TV channels are for displaying commercial ads. PBS, for instance, is a non-commercial broadcast channel as it doesn’t run ads. It generates its income from donations it gets.

In the US, companies prefer displaying their commercial ads on Broadcast TV Channels to the local ones. It shows the importance of Broadcast TV Channels for commercial ads and companies.

Conclusive Notes

In the aforementioned discussion, we have shared all the factors that differentiate cable TV from broadcast and how each of them functions. As the name suggests, cable services involve wires to function, while broadcast TV relies on antenna and wire. We hope you have gained clarity on the subject after reading this article and now can easily identify the difference between both when someone mentions their names. Broadcast TV gets you 2-12 channels while cable TV offers hundreds of channels in lineups along with on-demand and premium channels.


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