Cable vs Network: Difference and Comparison

Cable and Networks are two mediums to provide television channels to consumers. Cables provide pipelines 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 the air.

Key Takeaways

  1. Cable television is a system that delivers television programming via coaxial or fiber-optic cables, offering a wide range of channels and services, including premium content and on-demand options.
  2. Network television consists of broadcast stations that transmit programming over the airwaves, which antenna-equipped televisions can receive without needing a subscription.
  3. Both cable and network television provides access to entertainment and information, but cable offers a broader range of content and features, while network television is more accessible and free.

Cable vs Network

Cable television is a system that provides various channels through radio frequency signals transmitted using coaxial or fiber-optic cables. Network television provides channels directly to the TV sets through the air, using radio waves and the antenna brings the transmitted programs to the TV sets.

Cable vs Network

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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 fibre optic cables. This encourages minimum loss and maximum output.

The network can also be called a telecommunication network. Networks provide consumers with the channel using radio waves that pass through the air.

They distribute the television program on the air. Most of them have evolved from radio networks.  An operation centre provides channels to many television stations using its network.


Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonCableNetwork
PeriodCable television is operational in the present generation as it operates using the region’s frequency.Networks were used earlier when radio waves were the only medium to transmit channel details.
TransmitterCable televisions use coaxial cables to catch up with the signals and alter them with the correct frequency.Networks use antennas to transmit waves from one region to another.
QualityCables provide better quality as the clarity is not compromised using coaxial cables and fibre optic wires.Network televisions were leftover in regions where radio wave transmission was impossible.
ExpenseCable televisions cost high while comparing to networks. This is due to the quality they assure.Since network installation is not a tiring process, networks are 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 a way of providing television channels to clients using radiofrequency. Radio frequencies of different media would be different.

Hence tuning of radio frequencies is required according to the channel the client needs. 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 coaxial cables.

Now, the technology of fibre optics has also increased in this field. These cables can be drawn anywhere, so the space required for this connection is low.

Frequency division multiplexing is used to transmit the signals through the cable. The frequencies are multiplexed and passed through the channel at the operation centre.

Each frequency has a particular slot. The set-top box at the destination looks up to the desired frequency, and here the frequency strength is regained, and thus the clarity is high.

The wires have bidirectional operational strength if coaxial cables are used for this purpose. 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 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 the 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 placed in a rural area cannot pass the signal to the next one since there would be disturbances such as mountains and terrain.

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 radios and television networks operated simultaneously.

Hence there were many reasons for customers to shift to cable networks.


Main Differences Between Cable and Network

  1. The present era does the usage of Cable since they use radio frequency to operate. Networks use radio waves to pass signals, which have been used in the past decade.
  2. Cables have a defined medium to pass signals so that signal losses can be highly reduced. Since no stable medium is used, the signals can be damaged in networks.
  3. 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.
  4. Cable costs are a bit high because of the materials they use for their installation and operation. Networks have a comparatively lower price.
  5. 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.
Difference Between Cable and Network


Last Updated : 13 July, 2023

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10 thoughts on “Cable vs Network: Difference and Comparison”

  1. The description of cable and network television is thorough and educational. It effectively explains the technical and operational processes involved in both mediums.

  2. Avatar of Michael Thomas
    Michael Thomas

    I appreciate the comparison table provided in this article. It’s a comprehensive guide to understanding the differences between cable and network television in terms of period, transmitter, quality, and expense.

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  6. Avatar of Bennett Yvonne
    Bennett Yvonne

    The article is well written and covers all the key takeaways of cable and network television. It’s great to have a clear understanding of the differences and advantages of each method.

  7. This article provides a comprehensive overview of cable and network television systems. It’s a valuable resource for those seeking a deeper understanding of these mediums of television broadcasting.

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  10. This article provides a detailed and informative comparison between cable and network television. It is very useful for gaining a better understanding of these two mediums of providing television channels to consumers.

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