There were only a few major broadcasting networks that dominated the television industry when cable stations were first introduced. In the beginning, skeptics could not understand why consumers would want to pay for a service that had been free in the past. Many well to do families were among the first on their blocks to order cable television subscriptions but it was still many years before it became standard. Consumers would pay for subscriptions to individual cable television stations, however, when discounted cable packages emerged the world responded by signing up in droves.
The similarities between cable television and satellite radio are numerous. Both technologies garnered a lot of attention at their inceptions, however, satellite radio has one clear advantage. Not only are subscriptions affordable, but accessories such as XM car antennas and radio transmitters are also becoming much more accessible. When cable television was first introduced only listeners in certain areas were able to purchase the equipment needed to get reception. Cable companies originally targeted large suburban neighborhoods and cities in order to gain the largest amount of subscribers. Although satellite companies have always offered the equipment necessary to tune into their stations, it was sold only be a few licensed dealers.
Like cable, satellite radio gives listeners access to uninterrupted airtime. Disc jockeys on satellite radio may still talk about their sponsors, but there is no comparison between the occasional promotion and the extended commercials that run on AM/FM radio stations. Today, satellite TV is becoming favorable to cable television, however it is easier to transmit audio frequencies than it is to consistently deliver stable television programming.
Some of the same types of equipment needed to enjoy cable television is used with satellite radio. For instance, xm power cords are comparable to the cable cords that attach to the back of converter boxes. Early on, television owners needed antennas in order to get reception, whether they subscribed to cable or just watched regular TV. All in all, it will take some time before consumers are willing to equip all of their vehicles with satellite radio transmitters, however, times are fast changing. Young consumers that have grown up listening to satellite radio will no longer think of it as an extra, much in the same way that many people view cable television. As these people start their families and invest in the forms of entertainment that they have come to know and love satellite radio will become the norm.