Dish satelite vs Cable quality?

I am new to home theater and would appreciate any feedback.

Comparing video and audio quality between your local cable company to any dish satelite system, which of these do you feel is better? Also, please compare standard definition programing to any High Definition between the two.

In addition, what about the content in the selection of programs available, (cable vs dish).

Lastly, if the consensus is dish, which dish network would you recommend.

Thanks for your time.
I used to have digital cable and switched to Direct TV dish, (no hi def with either) I thought the quality would be so much better with the dish from what I had heard. Personally I don't like either one. The both are a far cry from DVD. It might not matter so much if you have a TV that is 36" or smaller, but with bigger TVs it matters a lot.

If I had to say I would say that the sattelite is slightly better. The fact that most movies come not in widescreen is a big problem and the fact that there is such bad contrast in darker scenes makes viewing TV a real bummer. If it's movie viewing you're after I reccomend Netflix.
For me, sat was better than digital cable. More programming and a better picture with a cheaper price. I haven't seen HDTV on cable because they didn't have it when I switch. My local Cox keep pushing the date back. I grew tired of waiting and went thei Direct TV. I love it. I had to buy a HDTV reciever but my local Cox is requiring that I buy a HDTV capable set-top box as they don't ren them so I'd have had to buy some addition anyway. My wife is the big tv person and she loves Direct Tv. No the quality isn't as good as DVD for regular broadcastl but what is? HDTV is gorgeous though. My only regret is that I didn't start enjoying HDTV sooner.
I currently have a High Definition cable box from the local cable company. The cable Hi Def broadcasts from HD NET and HD Discovery are spectacular, like looking out a window. HD Movies, and the two HBO HD channels and especially the local ABC HD seem to be a small step down in Video quality.

The excellent Cable High Def source absolutely kills DVD in quality with my Pioneer Elite PRO-530-HD.

The standard def programing including local channels, (ABC, NBC, CBS), CNN. Fox News, USA etc, etc leave a lot to be desired in video quality.

I have tried Better Cables Silver Serpent Reference component cable between the HD cable box to the tv inputs AND Monster's 8 way cable splitter to send signal to all the tv's in the house, (The cable company mesured -3db strength which they said is acceptable).

Has anyone had better luck running S-video from the HD cable box to the tv so that the tv's internal progressive scan would then be default without the component cable hooked up?

I also have a dedicated 20 amp circuit with 10 gauge wire and Hubbell Hosp grade outlets to the system.

Thanks and Peace.
I switched from digital cable to the Dish Network about a year ago. The picture quality is about the same, maybe slightly better. I have not tried the high definition programming. With the Dish Network, you have to add a second satellite dish (and high definition receiver). One advantage of Direct TV is that you can get the high definition programming with a single satellite dish. High definition cable is not available in my area.

If you decide to go satellite, Direct TV is probably the way to go because of the single satellite dish for high definition. I will probably switch when I decided to purchase a high definition receiver (my TV is HD ready, only).

By the way, the programming is about the same between cable and satellite. It just depends on the package that you decided to purchase. Hope this helps.
a HDTV that has a built in line doubling can really improve the analog cable signal considerably. I think direct TV vs. dish network is very little quality difference at least in my experience. Both show compression artifacts. I prefer Canadian Express View System they have 19 HDTV channels currently.
As of right now, we have regular cable through the
whole house. Talk about CRAPPY picture! It leaves ALOT
to be desired! And yes, we do have 1 digital cable box,
but no digital service, just basic SBC cable service.
NOW, I have Directv in my music/theater room, and the
picture is ALOT better, BUT you can see even on a
27" tv the digitalization of the picture=squres.
Now my tv set is from 1991, but I can see squareing
of the picture, and even some time delay in the light
background. Not constant, even flowing smooth
picture. Maybe my tv can`t handle it.
But my dvd player has alot better picture quality
than Directv. I haven`t made the jump yet to HDTV
or upgrading equipment, due to lack of
channels shown in HDTV.
I watch VH-1 Classic 90% of the time, and
Music Choice 8% of the time,
so no need to upgrade right now.
If you want great picture quality, there is really just one way to go. BIG DISH!

Seriously, the 10 foot diameter, "C" band has the best picture I have seen, and I have had, both cable and Dish Network to compare it against. (To be honest, I have not had HDTV on any of the systems, but from what I have read, it still is the best on the Big Dish).

The problem is that is is not nearly as convenient (I.e. you have to switch between 2 dozen satelites to switch between channels, it is fairly expensive (although still cheaper than cable) and the initial cost is very high. ($3K+). In addition, there is maintenance on the dish, which seems to malfunction every few years or so, I guess because it is constantly swivelling to track different satelites. I finally gave up after about 5 or 6 years, and went with the very convenienct Dish Network which has a built in Digital recorder, which is "Hella" cool (to quote Eric Cartman).

If you want absolute best picture, choose "C" band, or if you want next best, pick Dish Network (Or direct TV, as I think they are about the same thing.)

Good Luck!
I have a Motorola 5100 HD cable box and the HD channels are superb. They are essentially as good as my DVD player. Comcast here in Atlanta offers NBC, CBS, ESPN, INHD, INHD2, and 2 HBO channels in HD. (I am still waiting for ABC.) I use the component video out to get HD in progrssive scan. I like cable service because high speed Internet comes in on the same line and I get one bill for everthing.
I've had the chance to compare both HD cable and Dish network HD sat on my panasonic HD projector. On HD it is a toss up as far as video quality goes. On regular tv I would give the nod to Sat. I went with HD cable because the offer more HD channels. I'm located in the Atlantic CIty, NJ area.
I have some experience with both DirectTV and Dish. I prefer the on-screen programming of Dish, although their remotes don't last very long. I am waiting for the Dish 921.

For now I get my High Definition with a UHF antenna attached to my attic winsow sil. Great picture, enen on my High Definition projector.
I had cable for over 5 years, then the pricing sent me looking for something better. I now have a Dish 500 set up, with a receiver that receives dolby digital. I do not have HDTV so I cannot comment on it. As to the others, the dish kills the cable in every way. Sound, picture, and price. I'm watching on a 36 in television, so I have no idea how it would stack up larger ones.
both direct TV and dish network need only 1 single dish to receive the high definition programming. The direct TV high definition dish actually looks at 3 different satellites where the dish is only 2 satellites.
Face it, signal quality and program availability of HD on digital cable is going to depend upon your local provider and the signal you get in your house (how far are you from the headend, how much loss). Program availability of DirecTV/Echostar is pretty much a knowable quantity, but signal quality there will depend upon your view to the equator and how well your dish is set up. Direct comparisons seem a little difficult.

I ended ditching DirecTV for Comcast digital CATV in Virginia. For me, the +'s of CATV were:

- more HD programming content I liked
- better picture quality on standard def
- "on demand" programming
- single bill bundled w/internet service
- faster channel changing speed (no kidding, SAT is *slow* changing channels)

The only benefits of SAT were, in my mind, better DVR (TiVo) integration (but note, no HDTV box w/DVR capabilities). Cost for both was about the same.
I originally had Comcast Digital Cable in Baltimore and 2 years ago switched to Directv. My reason for switching was due to Comcast's poor service and price increases. Several times the cable would go out, and Comcast would send a signal to the digital box and couldn't find the problem. They wanted me to wait for someone to come out and look at the problem and this meant that I had to stay home and wait. Most of the time it cleared up on its own in a few days, without a service man even coming out. After several occurances I finally switched.
Since then, I have had no problems with Directv, other than the picture going out for 5-10 minutes during heavy storms. At least I can expect that though.
The picture from Directv is more consistent between channels, but to me, most standard TV channels looked better through cable than Directv. Directv just has a blurry look to most channels, some are better than others though. I have a 51" TV, but do not yet have HD hooked up because I'm waiting for the HD boxes to go down in price.
I was paying nearly $70/mo for Digital cable, and now pay only $45/mo and that includes Tivo.
Here is something I didn't expect: Regional differances in Satellite reception(?)!

I live on the West Coast and my Dish signal is always excellant, even with excessive cloud cover. I installed a Direct TV High Definition antenna for my Father-In-Law in the Midwest and excessive cloud cover scrambles the signal. This is on normal (non-HD) as well as for HD signals. I was so blown away by this that I got him one of those very tall, roof mounted UHF antennas so he can watch 'Raymond'.
I went from cable (Cablevision NJ) to Directv about ten years ago. My primary reason for switching was Cablevsion's limited programming (no TCM) and their refusal to broadcast stereo sound in all but a handful of stations.

Well, when the satellite was installed it was clearly superior to cable. When I switched from composite video to s-video the picture was even more refined. To my eyes, a satellite reception using s-video will surpass any cable hook-up.

Friends who visit who still have Cablevision tell me my set-up is sharper, with less video noise, better color saturation, less smear, and better sound.

By the way, "digital cable" is basically a fraud. The only stations that are broadcast digitally are premium channels like HBO and Showtime. So, all you "digital cable" users, when you say the picture is better, are you "wearing the Emperor's clothes"?