What is Satellite television?
The Satellite TV Now Blog
February 14, 2017 – 12:23 am
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honest and up-to-date reviewsContrary to what the media may tell you, satellite TV is not losing subscribers. Quite the contrary, satellite TV is gaining subscribers by leaps and bounds. Here’s the full story: It's an appealing idea to ditch your cable TV provider for much cheaper alternatives. Since there are now a host of such plans, there has been much talk of "cord cutting, " or the symbolic severing of that cable in favor of alternatives. Conventional wisdom has it that customers who ditch cable replace it with video streaming services like Netflix (NFLX) or Hulu Plus. Surprisingly, however, that's not necessarily where the lost subscribers end up. Staying Tuned Contrary to popular opinion, the wider pay-TV universe isn't really losing much business to the Netflixes and Hulus of the world. According to data compiled by Leichtman Research Group, the top 13 pay-TV purveyors in this country - including cable, satellite TV and telecom companies - saw a net loss of approximately 125, 000 video subscribers in 2014. At first glance, 125, 000 is a big number. But the surveyed companies collectively broadcast their product to over 95 million customers. So the net loss was barely over 0.1 percent of the total. So the overall migration away from traditional pay-TV services is fairly limited. See You Later, Cable However, the picture shifts when we look just at cable companies. They're shedding subscribers in notable numbers (nearly 1.2 million net in 2014, leaving a total of just over 49 million). Meanwhile the TV service bundles provided by telecom incumbents AT&T (T) and Verizon (VZ) added them at a rapid clip, according to Leichtman. All told, the two companies took on just over 1 million new subscribers last year, padding their combined total to almost 11.6 million. Meanwhile, satellite TV companies DirecTV and Dish added a combined 20, 000 subscribers last year. Cable customers are ripe for the poaching, not least because the cost of such services keeps rising. That isn't necessarily because the cable companies are getting greedy, however. Retransmission fees - effectively, the cost of content from popular cable channels like AMC Networks' (AMCX) flagship AMC or Disney's (DIS) king of sports, ESPN - have been increasing significantly over the past few years. Those expenditures are being passed along to end users, at least according to the cable providers. But a rapid upward climb in costs isn't the only problem. After all, the satellite services have to cope with it, too. Compounding the issue for cable is its abysmal record in customer satisfaction, the rates of which are stubbornly low. A recent article in The Washington Post revealed that 53 percent of surveyed cable subscribers would abandon their service if they had a viable alternative. Yes, cable and satellite TV are pricey, but it’s still the best alternative if you want to watch ALL of your favorite shows. Hopefully pricing will go down in the future. Read more at Most of us couldn't imagine life without our cable or satellite TV, high-speed Internet access and wireless communications. They've become basic utilities, and we pay handsomely for them. Yet, we aren't very satisfied with the service we get. According to the latest American Customer Satisfaction Index, customer satisfaction with subscription TV (cable, satellite and fiber optic service) and Internet service providers continues to decline. Satisfaction with pay TV fell 4.4 percent, to an ACSI score of 65 (on a 100-point scale), while ISPs - which include many of the same companies - dropped 3.1 percent to 63. These are the lowest scores of all 43 industries tracked by ACSI. "Customers question the value proposition of both, as consumers pay for more than they need in terms of subscription TV, and get less than they want in terms of Internet speeds and reliability, " said Claes Fornell, ACSI chairman and founder. The survey finds that customers are much more dissatisfied with cable TV than with fiber- optic and satellite service. Dish Network (DISH) at 67, the lowest-scoring satellite TV company, still rates higher than the best cable company, Cox Communications, with 63. Comcast (CMCSA) (parent company of CNBC) at 60 and Time Warner Cable (TWC) with 56 have the most dissatisfied customers. ACSI Managing Director David VanAmburg noted that for the last decade or so, the price of these communications services has been rising much faster than inflation. Some households, especially people living in an apartment, now pay more for TV and Internet service each month than they do for gas and electric. Another complaint: When there is a service issue, the customer service experience isn't very good. "These are not companies that do a very good job of providing good call center customer care or good face-to-face customer care, " VanAmburg said. Wireless Service and a New Cellphone Favorite Americans aren't exactly thrilled with their wireless providers, but customer satisfaction is holding steady at 72 out of 100. Customers are much happier with their cellphone service than they were five years ago. "It's definitely an improving service, although it's still one of the least satisfying, " VanAmburg said. Verizon's (VZ) ACSI score went up 3 percent to 75, which helped separate it from the other major wireless companies. T-Mobile (TMUS) rose 1 percent to 69, while Sprint (S), down 4 percent, and AT&T Mobility (T), off 3 percent, both scored 68. Looks like alternatives to satellite TV and cable TV are having their problems. Hopefully these services will get better as time goes on. We shall see. Read more at Dish Network purchased Blockbuster in a bid to become the satellite TV provider with the most services. With more than 20, 000 streaming videos from Blockbuster, your viewing choices are enormous. Ask subscribers to Dish Network (DISH) why they choose the satellite television provider and the most common answer is likely to be cost. Dish is cheaper than major cable providers like Comcast (CMCSA) and satellite rival DirecTV (DTV), starting at just $24.99 a month. But now that Dish has bought the defunct library of one-time movie rental powerhouse Blockbuster, you may see another big reason that consumers will buy into Dish: A digital library of movies they can access over the Internet, akin to Netflix (NFLX) The purchase of Blockbuster is an important strategic shift for Dish. It means the company is flexing its muscle in an attempt to become a major player. But more importantly for consumers, it may mean more viewing options and competitive pricing for consumers. Blockbuster's online content library could give Dish Network an opportunity to create an online product to supplement the viewing experience – akin to Netflix offering mail-order DVDs alongside streaming content. More Reasons for Dish Competitors to Worry That's just speculation, but it would align with the overall goal of Dish Network to provide a top-notch experience even as it is seen as a low-cost option. In recent years network has expanded HD offerings, on-demand movies and channel selection to make quality a bigger part of the equation. And now that Dish Network has snapped up Blockbuster and its content, customers may find many more reasons to like Dish Network than just the smaller monthly bill. That means rivals better take notice in the wake of the $320 million bankruptcy sale. Dish Network is the fastest growing satellite TV company in the world. The reason is they keep adding on new services for subscribers to enjoy. Read more at