Internet TV Verses Satellite TV – Pros and Cons

For the past several decades Satellite and cable TV have dominated TV distribution, and just 20 years ago the thought of cable and satellite being challenged was science fiction. However today things are changing and as of 2017 more people watch entertainment through Internet TV than Satellite and cable TV combined. However that does not mean Satellite and cable have faded away, it just means internet TV is going to continue to grow stronger.

If your are thinking of starting a TV channel then here is some pros and cons to the different platforms:

Satellite TV for those inside the USA is not even a feasible choice for starting a TV station UNLESS you are trying to reach an audience that exists on Galaxy 19 satellite (mainly ethnic backgrounds) and even that can be a little shady these days as the cost does not justify the audience. So where does starting a Satellite TV channel make sense? It makes sense in those countries that do not have low cost internet and the prices of bandwidth are still expensive for consumers. Some countries in Africa for example may be a great fit for satellite TV because they have expensive internet fees and on satellite they have an existing audience for FTA beams. This means that as soon as you are on that satellite platform you have millions of existing receiving dishes already pointing at that satellite. Obviously the more people watching that particular satellite the more it cost to have your own channel. In these scenarios satellite is still supreme as long as you can afford the monthly fees.

However there are several companies now that have internet TV in Africa that are doing a better job at their encoding so they can still target consumers who have less data available due to higher costs. On a mobile device you can get away with a nice picture even at a lower data rate of lets say 384 Kbps. This means that you can still make it work in countries that are more internet challenged due to higher cost. Of course in some countries Satellite is the number one choice to start your channel, but you can only do what your budget allows, and if you budget only allows for internet TV then you can still use some encoding techniques that allows for your slower internet consumers to still be able to view it.

So the pros of satellite are obvious if you know what your doing:

  • Instant audience
  • No internet needed to watch it.


Expensive to start and maintain

Not a feasible option in more developed countries.

Bound by geography ( you only have so big of a footprint that can receive your channel)

Now lets talk about the pros of Internet TV in which there is so many:

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For the most part it is not geographically bound. Meaning that if you start a subscription channel for people that like skateboarding then anyone in the developed world can access that channel. Compared to cable and satellite that is a huge advantage because your audience can be anywhere and does not have to be within a geographical foot print or have a cable attached to their house. This means you can literally advertise your channel anywhere in the developed world that speaks the same language as your channel.

Other advantages is now there are more people watching entertainment online than cable or satellite. Although you do have to advertise your channel to make them aware of its existence. Other advantages is you can style your channel anyhow you want, you can have VOD (Video on Demand) menus, multiple channels, and much more. Really the sky is the limit because you do not need expensive decoder boxes that have limited capabilities.

Obviously the other advantages is that its more cost effective to start and much less money monthly to maintain.


Cost less to start

Cost less to maintain

Can give it the look and style you want

Not bound by geographical limits

Every company has their different goals and their targeted audience so there is not one “shoe that fits all” per say. However if I was trying to mimic the “look and feel” of a satellite channel internationally using internet then I would choose the Android TV platform. I am not speaking of the mobile phone version (although I would also have my channel on the phone as well) I am speaking of their TV box that connects to any TV. These boxes are extremely popular and you can even customize your box to have your name branded on it both on the box and when the box is started on the TV screen. This means you can customize the entire box to give the exact user experience you want….kind of just like your own satellite decoder box except its for Internet TV. What does this mean for your viewers? This means if you are packing just one channel or 1,000 channels you can self brand it so that they only get your channels on the box. Kind of like having a Directv, Dish, or Multichoice box where the viewers can only get what you want them to see.

So altogether which is better Internet TV or Satellite? Well of course the overall winner would be internet, but given your goals and budget satellite still may be viable option for you.

For more information on how to monetize your internet TV channels check out our video on https://tvstartup.com/internet-tv/ or contact us if you looking to start your own Satellite TV or Internet TV network.