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By: Christine Peppler
In the world of television programming options, cable and satellite TV services are the primary contenders. Both options offer varied programming and an ever increasing number of channels to view from the comfort of the living room. For those seeking to save a few dollars or who wish to have access to the largest number of HD broadcasts available, satellite TV is often the preferred choice. However, for millions of others who prize the convenience of bundling television programming and internet access into a single bill, cable TV is the service most often selected. At least until recently, when developments in the world of satellite TV providers such as Dish Network have begun to erase the distinction between the bundled services of cable providers and satellite TV.

Certainly, in the hectic lives of most Americans, any effort to consolidate services is a welcomed step in the direction of simplifying some of the more mundane tasks such as tracking and paying bills. Thus, the move of satellite TV providers in partnering with internet service providers to provide bundling comparable to that offered by cable companies may further push the advantage in their favor.
In 2006, Dish Network rolled out a program that paired the satellite TV provider with the high speed internet services of Wild Blue. This new program allowed Dish customers the option of receiving a single bill for both their satellite TV programming and their high speed internet access and was simple to implement. For existing customers, obtaining internet access required having a dish antenna and satellite modem installed. In addition to simplicity, the new program also needed to be very affordable. Thus, the satellite TV provider installs the necessary equipment without charge although a one time fee is assessed for the equipment lease which also covers any future equipment upgrades. This new service through the satellite TV provider should prove to be particularly attractive to users in rural areas who currently have fewer options in obtaining high speed access and more often rely on slower dial up services. The WildBlue powered internet services offers SPAM and virus filtering, 24/7 technical support, and at least 5 e-mail addresses with a minimum of 10MB storage.
In addition, spyware and anti-virus protection is offered at no charge for the first 18 months of service. With the recent pairing of satellite TV providers and internet access services, consumers now have a more difficult choice to make when selecting their television programming service as both cable and satellite TV can provide the convenience customers crave. As satellite TV providers continue to increase accessibility, expand programming, and now begin to bundle services, their ability to compete and, in some instances, outperform the older and more traditional cable providers continues to grow.
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