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IPTV and Cable TV: What’s the Difference?

By: Westman Communications Group
Posted: September 1, 2022 21:12Customer Experience, Television

Confused about which to choose? Shedding some light on the subject helps you decide which to go for.

Read Time:  5 minutes

Summary: With different options for TV plans and what to watch it on, it’s easy to get lost in your hunt to find the right TV package. This blog breaks down the differences between Cable TV and IPTV by showing you the pros and cons. Hopefully, this will help you to make that decision. Read on!


If we go back in time slightly, we go to the era of a TV set-up hooked up to an antenna placed on top of it or the roof of the house. The antenna picked up the radio waves from the nearby TV station, and the TV translated that signal into images and sounds we enjoyed as TV shows. That set-up is called Over-The-Air (OTA) Television, also known as Broadcast TV or Terrestrial TV. Telly viewers could watch whatever the TV station broadcasts based on their program schedule. Fairly simple.

While OTA TV is still alive, there are more TV packages, formats and technologies to cater to viewers’ ever-expanding list of needs, wants and lifestyles. Now, more than ever, viewers have so much control over what they watch and when and where they watch video content, primarily because of the different technologies available that deliver your favourite shows. The more popular of these options are Cable TV, and the newer technology is Internet Protocol TV or IPTV. Of course, these options have their pros and cons. Hopefully, after reading through the rest of this blog article, you will have a good idea of which option suits your needs better. Let’s dig in!

Cable TV

Video content on Cable TV starts with the owners of these shows transmitting the content to the cable TV operator via satellite communications systems. When the operator receives this signal, they distribute this content to their subscribers through fibre-coaxial cable connections that run through their distribution centres to the TV subscribers. Different frequencies are used for each content source to differentiate between signals we experience as TV channels.

The Positives

One sure positive of Cable TV is the viewing experience it offers. It is the one more stable and reliable technology around. With shows and content freely transmitted in dedicated cable lines from the distribution centre to the TV sets in homes, cable TV viewers enjoy high-quality videos with minimal buffering. Cloudy skies or thunderstorms generally won’t affect the video quality because the cables protect the signal from the elements.

Unlike terrestrial TV, where the viewer has to be within broadcast range of the TV station, Cable TV subscribers enjoy video content that originates from far away (even outside the country), all thanks to satellite technology.

Cable TV customers also have the convenience of being able to choose what kind of TV package they want to subscribe to. Put quite simply, they pay for the channels they want to see. Cable TV operators usually have standard packages from which their customers can choose. On top of that, they can also subscribe to other channels not in the TV package that they subscribe to a-la-carte. Pay-Per-View (PPV) content such as significant sporting events and Video-On-Demand (VOD) can also be ordered and charged to their monthly bill for them to have access to watch.

The Drawback

One clear not-so-positive about having a cable TV subscription is that you generally don’t get to choose when you can watch your favourite TV show, as each channel streams its content based on a scheduled program. While some TV box operators provide recording capabilities, someone still has to push a button to start recording a show. Although this function allows users to watch a show aired earlier, this is still not the most convenient of solutions.



IPTV, or Internet Protocol TV, was once touted as the future of television. Instead of your TV receiving broadcast signals from several channels from an antenna or a dedicated cable, your shows are streamed through your internet connection. Typically, an IPTV box receives and decodes the steamed data and displays it on your TV as your favourite TV show. Transmitting and handling video content has several benefits for the IPTV viewer.

The Positives

One clear (literally and figuratively) advantage of IPTV platforms is that they typically use their own privately managed content delivery network that allows them to provide high-quality streaming content. An uninterrupted and smooth viewing experience with sharp images and excellent sound quality is what customers will enjoy. This is especially true if the IPTV provider is your internet service provider, allowing them to manage your stream better. This helps IPTV keep a leg up over similar Over-The-Top (OTT) services such as Netflix, Disney+ and Hulu in terms of the viewing experience.

Another, perhaps the most significant benefit of IPTV is that it gives its users the flexibility to watch TV shows whenever they want. Yes, IPTV also allows for and offers Video-On-Demand (VOD), much like cable TV does. Still, it takes it to another level by making content available, usually for a limited time, after it was initially broadcast. So, viewers can enjoy delayed and even repeat watching of their favourite series episodes without having to record them on any device! You can even pause the video when you want to get your popcorn from the microwave or rewind ]it to catch an important dialogue you missed! These features of IPTV free its users from the tyranny of typical set-schedule broadcasts.

IPTV boxes provided to users have pre-installed Over-The-Top (OTT) video streaming apps like Netflix, Disney+ and YouTube. Most also allow users to download other apps that they prefer to use. This convenience of having all video entertainment sources on one device saves the IPTV user the trouble of accessing them on another device to screencast on the TV to view their OTT content. Just remember that some OTT apps require separate subscriptions.

The Drawbacks

Your IPTV experience will depend on the speed and quality of the internet connection. Your internet connection should be fast enough for you to appropriately enjoy the excellent user experience that IPTV promises. All IPTV providers prescribe minimum connection bandwidth and speed to meet these requirements. It would not be a bad idea to get an internet package that’s faster than the required minimum, especially if people in your household will be using the internet for their personal needs while you’re on the couch watching your shows on IPTV.

IPTV platforms are relatively easy to build, given today’s technology. Many IPTV services are available in the market, which is great since there are many options to choose from. However, one should exercise caution and carefully evaluate these options before subscribing to any IPTV platform. Some platforms illegally stream content, which is content piracy that may get you in trouble. Others, especially the ones who do not declare where they operate from, may even be privacy and security risks. You wouldn’t want to risk sharing your credit card details with someone you don’t know much about. Aside from doing your homework, it is always important to choose a trustworthy provider!

So, which one should you get?

We hope sharing these pros and cons of Cable TV vis-à-vis IPTV gives you a better understanding of what both have to offer and what the viewer experience will be like with each of them. Both platforms provide an awesome viewing experience with crisp pictures and clear audio. Cable TV offers the time-tested stability of the platform while offering the flexibility to choose the channels you want to pay for. IPTV affords flexibility as it does not always bind you to broadcast schedules and watch your shows when you want to watch them. It will all boil down to your preferences and what feature and benefit would be most important for you.

Westman Communication Group offers Cable (High-Definition) HD TV and IPTV InfiniTV packages. Both come with free mobile access to some channels with Westman GO Apps. You can learn more about Westman GO apps here and here.

Both services are available for Residential and Business. Learn more about our Cable HD TV services and IPTV InfiniTV by visiting our website or contact us on any of our customer service contact details.

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