Cable vs. Satellite

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Sean Mota

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``The bill is about the same but I was getting a lot less with cable,'' said Hile, of San Jose. ``Now, I get the HBO channels. Now, I get a lot of channels.''

At the time, she wasn't sure if it was the right move. But when Comcast announced last week that cable TV rates in the Bay Area were going up -- the second increase in less than a year -- she felt better about the switch.

Cable TV rates are climbing about 7 percent in most cities next month -- from an average of $38.34 to $41.07 a month. Last December, AT&T, which has since been taken over by Comcast, hiked rates 6.5 percent.

By comparison, DirecTV announced a 3 percent rate hike to some of its packages last spring, its first since a similar increase in 2000.

Echostar, which owns Dish Network, raised rates by about 4 percent in February, its first hike in about a year.

Deciding to choose one type of service over another is no easy task. In many ways, it can be as frustrating as researching cell phone service plans.

Like cell phone plans, TV programming services offer many options -- digital upgrades, premium channels and sports packages, for example.

It can be overwhelming.
 

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