The title of this blog appears to have been taken from a bunch of spun articles designed to get people to look at specific cable TV services – and try as I might I can’t decipher the meaning behind it! So I’m going to make a wild stab in the dark and try to relate the above to the different kinds of services you can get from different types of cable and digital TV provision.

Now the cable providers in my area all provide the standard services you’d expect from modern cable provision: hundreds of channels, loads of them in HD; home phone connectivity if you want it; and internet services with massive download speeds. That’s modern communications for you.

The differences, from service to service, don’t appear to be that great – at first glance. Sure, in the internet provision there are some wildly differing claims about the maximum download speeds that the end user can hope to achieve – from the 1 or 2 MBps that a DSL connection on a budget package may give, to the eyebrow-burning 150 MBps that Verizon’s semi-legendary FiOS system can deliver under optimum conditions.

Aside from that, what’s to choose between them? Well, mostly the decision you end up making is based on two things – the strength of coverage in your area, and the amount of “free” stuff you get with your subscription. I say “free” in inverted commas because none of the cable providers in my area are stupid. Whatever looks free, they’ll all basically be making the same amount of money – whether it’s from me or from companies that have to pay them to piggyback in on their cable to their own customer’s homes.

It’s worth talking about that, while we’re on the subject. It can be worth finding out which of the cable providers in your area are owners of the cable backbone that runs through the neighbourhood – simply because their service should by default be either cheaper or more reliable (or both) as a result. The other companies (even the big ones) that supply digital and cable TV in your area have to rent the use of the line from its owner – so some of your monthly fee is effectively paid by someone else. Happy days.

The cable providers in my area do offer varying quantities of free equipment – again, they’ll be making their margin somewhere, no doubt about that, but it’s nice to see that some companies go to the trouble of finding ways to do that and still be able to offer their customers a free set top box, or a free wireless router. To be honest, as long as the programming you really want is available (at the right monthly price) from your chosen cable supplier, then the amount of free equipment you get with your subscription is not a bad way to make your final choice.

You can have a look, too, at the number of devices your connection is allowed to run before you get charged for extra use (with a cable internet connection, that is). Some packages charge instantly for more than one device (which is scandalous), while other will let you run up to five before they charge more.