How can cable TV service work nearly 100% of the time while internet service is inconsistent?

It is a common complain of the users that internet connection works slower as compared to cable television. To any common man, all the wires look the same. Yet, the system behind these wires is quite complex. And to understand the reason behind their varying speeds, we have to take a closer look at their differences. 

The television and internet services have a lot of dissimilarities. Some of them are highlighted below:

Coverage Area

Firstly, cable TV companies are a lot smaller as compared to the internet ones. They cover a single neighborhood or a town at max. But internet companies have the potential to cover entire cities. Due to this vast coverage area, maintaining the internet services and speed gets quite tricky.


If we compare the access of cable and internet, we will notice that the signals that cable sends are unidirectional. It means that for a TV company, they send a signal, you receive it, and it is then displayed on your screen. In simple words, television uses the technology of a closed system.

But, when you look at the distribution of the internet, the story gets a lot more twisted. Internet access is multidirectional. Meaning, that they send a signal, you receive it, then you send one and so on (sending and receiving of various packets). This sometimes causes a delay in the signal transmission and hence compromises the speed.

Access Location

Now, if we take a look at the access locations, things get even more complicated. When you use cable, the only communication present is between you and the provider. When you tune in to a channel, the operator receives a signal and displays it. End of story.

But, with the internet, you connect with a lot of different locations. Not only that, but all the locations vary in size of their software. Some websites use small servers, while others use large systems. This, too, makes your connection unstable.


Another quite confusing thing is that cable TV service doesn’t ever stop to load the channels as opposed to the internet. In a conventional television, you never see buffering or loading. The reason behind this is that your provider is pre-downloading the channels constantly. So, when you change the channel, you never get interrupted.

On the other hand, internet services work instantly. When you want to watch something, you have to download it right at that moment. This causes the buffering and loading problem. And even though we all hate it, at least, we are able to watch anything much more interesting than watching the pre-downloaded channels by the provider. 


If you look at the other cable TV users (let’s say your neighbor), you will see that everyone have the same channels. This is because the cable providers send one signal to all the service holders. The signals that you receive are the same as the ones that your neighbor does. So, the cable network operation is a lot simpler in that manner.

But, if you observe how the internet services work, you will be shocked. Every single user of the service gets different signals. With a different IP address, you get signals that are unique to your requests. Even when different devices are used in a single home, every device receives different signals. This puts a burden on your service, and if a lot of devices are being used at the same time, the quality of the network gets compromised. 


Bandwidth determines the quality and speed of the network. Cable providers preset a specific bandwidth for every channel; hence you never face any interruptions during streaming. Although the bandwidth of the internet can be affected due to several factors. This also makes your connection unstable and slow.


With all the highlighted differences, you will agree that internet services are far more complex than cable TV ones. And even though these services are transferred using the same wires, they do not share any similarities. This is because the system behind both technologies is quite different. And, consequently, so is their speed. 

The Internet has a complicated system. Therefore, even when you are getting a trouble-free cable TV, you sometimes face problems even with your high-speed internet connection.