What’s the difference between regular TV and cable TV?

What’s the difference between regular TV and cable TV?

Regular TV uses airwaves that can be picked up by anyone with a TV and an antenna.

However, the number of channels you can get is limited. Some popular networks, like CBS and NBC, are examples of regular broadcast TV. Cable TV works in a completely different way, using microwaves to send signals to users over cables. This means that not everyone can receive them without signing up for a cable service.

Regular TV operates through airwaves that can be picked up by anyone with a TV and an antenna. However, the number of channels you can get is limited to 2-13. Some popular networks including CBS and NBC are examples of regular broadcast TV. 

Cable TV, on the other hand, functions in a different way as it works through microwaves.

Microwaves are directed to users over the cables, so not everyone can receive them without signing up with a cable service company.

Cable TV is a great option for many people because it offers a wide variety of channels. With regular TV, you might only have access to 10-20 channels. Another great benefit of choosing cable TV is that you can bundle it with other services, like Mediacom internet or home phone.

This way, you can save money every month by paying for all three services in one place.

Though most of us on average only watch 10-15 channels, we all love to scroll through before finding something interesting, right?

The earliest cable companies used to work with the CATV (Community Antenna Television) system. They had higher TV antennas in the vast amount that would catch the signals from other stations which are situated far-off.

Those stations then transfer those signals to residential setups over the cables. Since the development of microwave technology, they reduced the usage of antennas.

Different Ways to Get TV Content at Home

  • You can get TV content at your house in four ways:
  • Terrestrial TV –  also identified as DVB-T(2) ATSC-T, or ISDB-T
  • Satellite TV – also known as DTH
  • Cable TV
  • IPTV

You can even get hybrid systems as well. For instance, in Italy, homes commonly use a mixture of both Terrestrial as well as satellite receivers. Furthermore, these systems functioned through three varying business models such as:

Free to air:

Through this model, channels can generate their revenue through sponsors, advertisements, or government. There are no such limitations in this model. Similarly, there is no need for smart cards or particular equipment to keep things operational.


Here you get a monthly subscription or a contract for 1 or 2 years.

In the pay-TV model, you will have access to channels that are not available on Free to air and you will also have a higher quality viewing experience since these channels are usually HD channels.

The “free to view” model may sound a lot like the “free to air” model, but there is one key difference: free to view requires a smart card to access the channels. This model is typically used when coverage needs to be regulated for legal reasons. It’s commonly associated with satellite TV services.

Let us explain how these services are different from each other in a little more detail.

Cable TV

Cable TV: Cable service has additional bandwidth which allows for the transfer of most channels. It could also easily become a source of telephone and internet services, bringing more convenience to the users.

Satellite TV: The best thing about satellite service is its coverage. Satellite’s coverage can effortlessly cover gigantic areas and continents. It lets the combination of local and internet channels. Besides TV content, it is a great method to enhance the serviceability of internet connection amongst rural areas.

Final Verdit

You’ll need a 300-ohm coaxial cable from the central office to your destination in order to get HD signals. Keep in mind, however, that HD signals are not guaranteed.

Additionally, the cost of this service could be expensive depending on various factors. Some benefits of choosing this option include a wide selection of channels and dependable cable signals.

In order to function, a 300-ohm coaxial cable is needed from a central office to the destination.

However, signals are not always guaranteed in HD. Additionally, the cost could be expensive depending on various factors. Some advantages of cable include the option to select from a wide range of channel lineups and the fact that cable signals are typically more dependable than other options.

Regular TV

HDTV signals via an antenna are HD quality and very affordable, though you may need to buy an antenna to receive the signals.

One downside to using an antenna for your HDTV is that you may have limited channels, be unable to access popular programming, and the service could be disrupted by bad weather.

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