Difference Between Cable and Network (With Table)

Cable vs Network

Cable and Network are two mediums to provide television channels to the consumers. Channels are provided by cables by arranging the radio frequency to the best fit frequency for each channel. The clarity of the channel changes according to the frequency alteration. Networks provide television channels through radio waves in air.

Cable television is a popular manner of watching television channels. It is implemented by tuning into the perfect frequency for each channel. The channels are transmitted using coaxial cables. The latest form of transmission is by fiber optic cables. This encourages minimum loss and maximum output.

Network can also be called as telecommunication networks. Networks provide the consumers with the channel using radio waves that pass through air. They distribute the television program on the air. Most of them have evolved from radio networks.  An operation center provides channels to many television stations using their network.

The difference between Cable and Network is that Cable provides television channels through radio frequency that can be operated by antennas and Networks provide television channels through radio waves in air. This is transferred from the operation center to the pay television providers using the network.


Comparison Table Between Cable and Network (in Tabular Form)

Parameters of ComparisonCableNetwork
PeriodCable television is operational in the present generation as it operates using the frequency of the regionNetworks were used earlier when the only medium to transmit channel details was by radio waves.
TransmitterCable televisions use coaxial cables to catch up with the signals and alter them with the correct frequency.Networks use antennas to transmit the waves from one region to another.
QualityCables provide better quality as the clarity is not compromised while using coaxial cables and fiber optic wires.Network televisions were leftover in regions where transmission of radio waves was not possible.
ExpenseCable televisions cost high while comparing to networks. This is due to the quality they assure.Since the installation of the network is not a tiring process, networks were cheap.
ExampleCable televisions have now been developed as set-top boxes.The BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation) is an example of a network broadcast.


What is Cable?

Cable television is the way of providing television channels to the clients using radiofrequency. Radio frequencies of different channels would be different. Hence tuning of radio frequencies is required according to the channel that the client requires. So, many packages are provided by cable television operators for a fixed rate.

Radio frequencies are tuned according to the client’s needs. Then the channel signals are passed through cables. The cables used are normally coaxial cables. Now, the technology of fiber optics has also increased in this field. These cables can be drawn anywhere and hence the space required for this connection is low.

Frequency division multiplexing is the technique used to transmit the signals through the cable. At the operation center, the frequencies are multiplexed and passed through the channel. Each frequency has a special slot. The set-top box at the destination looks up to the frequency that is desired and here the frequency strength is regained and thus the clarity is high.

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If coaxial cables are used for this purpose, the cables have bidirectional operational strength. So it is easy to pass data to and fro through the cables. After using the space required for transmitting television channels, the rest of the space can be used to access cable internet and other wireless services.


What is Network?

Networks are a type of broadcasting method that uses antennas to broadcast signals. Antennas are set up between fixed distances. When a signal approaches an antenna, it gets amplified and then it moves to the next one. When the signal reaches the destination where the channel has to be viewed, the corresponding antenna amplifies and shows it.

The broadcast of a network happens through air. Radio waves are the medium through which these signals pass through. They do not have a proper medium to pass by. So the signals have complete freedom to pass wherever they like. To guide the signals about the routes they need to pass, antennas are kept correspondingly.

In this model of broadcast, the chances of signal losses are high. An antenna that is placed in a rural area cannot pass the signal to the next one since there would be disturbances such as mountains and terrains. So when signals pass through them, they get rugged. This is why the usage of networks is getting low day by day.

Until the late ’90s, most of the customers used broadcast networks. They used the same principles as that of the radio. Signal clashes were also experienced when both radios and television networks were operated at the same time. Hence there were many reasons for customers to shift to cable networks.


Main Differences Between Cable and Network

  • The usage of Cable is done by the present era since they use radio frequency to operate. Networks use radio waves to pass signals and hence were used in the past decade.
  • Cables have a defined medium to pass signals and hence signal losses can be highly reduced. Since there is no usage of a stable medium, the signals can be damaged in networks.
  • Cables don’t use antennas to align their signal strength. They have coaxial cable for this purpose. An antenna is set up at a fixed destination to direct signals in a network broadcast.
  • Cable cost a bit high because of the materials they use for their installation and operation. Networks have a comparatively lower cost.
  • The quality promised by cable is high. The quality of networks cannot be determined since it is decided by many external factors such as wind, rain, and mountains.



Cable is a broadcast method that is currently being operated by the television channel operators. This is a simple and high-quality method of selling channel programs to the customers. People who have a television have to install the setting that a cable broadcast needs. The channel signals pass through the wires until they reach the destination.

Networks are another type of channel broadcast method. This was used by the past generation to view channel contents. They use radio waves to pass the signals. Antennas are installed wherever required so that the signals are amplified until they find the next one. This process continues until they reach the consumer’s television.

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Word Cloud for Difference Between Cable and Network

The following is a collection of the most used terms in this article on Cable and Network. This should help in recalling related terms as used in this article at a later stage for you.

Difference Between Cable and Network