Cable TV has never been the same ever since the early 2010’s when every cable provider has to provide a box that takes its role as an all-purpose cable op. It’s a platform that lets you do all sorts of features besides watching cable TV itself. You can look at schedules, see previews of upcoming pay-per-views and even take screenshots on TV. But ever since cable providers implemented this, cable bills have increased since you’re required to pay for their box. So, is it necessary to use a cable box or are there good alternatives to it? Let’s find out.
The Cable Box: A Standard of Cable Providers
It’s simple: you subscribe to a provider, they’ll wire your house with their connection plus their cable box. Sure, it never quite existed in the late 90’s to the 2000’s but it’s the new standard now. Whether you subscribe to Comcast DIRECTV (see here for full review) or your local state cable, you’re given a standard box for them to channel their service to your TV. Some call it Digibox, others refer to it as simply box. Whatever you name it, every type does more or less the same.
And since it runs as a 3rd party platform, you will need to change the input mode of your TV. Gone are the days when the channels are directly linked to the telly. And because of this, you’re going to have to deal with 2 remote controllers: one for the TV and one provided from the cable box. Hassle, I know. However, some are quite generous enough to give you a universal remote so you can use it for both the television and the cable box.
How is it Different from Other Services?
Okay, so you have 2 other television viewing: local and internet. Cable is kind of somewhat in between but nevertheless, it has its significant differences between the other two. Let’s take a look at them one by one.
Cable Box vs Local
This one is straightforward enough. The cable box needs to use a different input from the TV just like how you’re supposed to use a game console or a DVD player. As for local, you only need your antenna and nothing else. It’s very brief: you open your TV and there you have it; some local channels directly shared with you.
As such, cable box, of course, has a monthly billing. Where areas, local doesn’t cost you a cent.
Cable Box vs Internet
Ever since the rise of internet streaming and online shows, cable and television in general weakened. This is because the latter has more limitations compared to internet. At least with internet TV, you have full control over what you want to watch at any time. Internet viewing even lets you watch on your device by proxy.
But as for cable, you will need one cable box per television in your house in order to watch – which is pretty much a nuisance and carries unnecessary additional costs.
This is why a lot of people start to stow away from cable and move on to internet TV. Why bother with scheduled shows that force you to deal with it whenever you miss out on their programs on a specific time when you can just search for the movie or series you want to watch and press play. Oh, and you can even pause it at any time – something cable lacks.
At least, the cable box is away from any cybersecurity issues if ever there’s a cyber attack going on somewhere.
Is It Necessary for You to Use a Cable Box These Days?
Because of the shift in telly viewing especially with the popularity of the internet, some cable providers like Comcast have created cable boxes with internet capabilities in order to let you utilize your internet TV fully. After all, everyone needs the internet now; even cable.
Unless you’re planning on watching TV on the internet alone, you’re still obliged to use a cable company’s box.