Cable vs. Network

What is the difference between cable and a network? When you sit down to watch TV, it is…

What is the difference between cable and a network?

When you sit down to watch TV, it is available in your home by means of either cable or a network. Network TV is older than cable TV, which was developed to bring television programming to areas where the reception was very bad. There were only a few broadcasters available until the mid-1980’s and this meant that there was very little choice in the number of television channels you could watch. Cable TV changed that because it brought in an era where homeowners had access to different programs on a wider selection of TV channels. The primary difference between cable and network TV is that the cables that bring the television signal to your home carry radio frequencies. Those used in network TV use radio signals.

At one time it was quite common to see antennae on the roofs of homes. This was the way in which the television signal was brought to the TV. Rabbit ears on top of the television set were also a common sight. There is no need for either of these with cable TV. This is because the cable operator is required to have an antenna large enough to capture the TV signals and deliver them to the homes of the subscribers.

The quality of the sound and video is also different when you compare cable and network TV. Network TV has poor sound quality and it is very hard to see the picture because of grainy images. This problem does not exist with cable TV.

Cable TV is more expensive than network TV, whereas network TV is free. As soon as a person installs an antenna on the roof, he will get a TV signal. The infrastructure for cable TV is expensive and you do need to have a television modem attached to the TV. This is why you have to pay for this service but the expense is worth it with the extra channels and better quality.


  1. Cable TV comes into a home by means of cables, but with network TV the signals come through the air.
  2. Cable TV is more expensive than network TV.
  3. There is much more variety in the programming offered by Cable TV.


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