Apr 17
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Which cable or satellite provider is right for you?

Undecided which cable or satellite TV you'd like to get? There are several factors you might want to consider before signing-up to any of these cable/satellite companies. Do you have a budget in mind? Do you have a set of specific cable channels you'd like to watch? Are you a foreigner/expat in the Philippines?

Price Budget

When it comes to budget, the cheapest plan would be SkyCable's Pre-Paid Plan. For 99 pesos, you get all the channels included in SkyCable Silver Plan. The catch? You can only watch them for 3 days and you must have a SkyCable DigiBox installed.

SkyCable recently launched SkyCable Select which allows cable subscribers to select additional channels together with the subscriber's current plan. You start off with the Starter Plan for 280 pesos inclusive of DigiBox minus the installation fee. Other plans include the Silver Plan for 780 pesos, Gold for 1000 pesos (previously 850), and the platinum packs (HBO or Metro Pack) for 1,350 pesos. See our SkyCable Select Calculator to compute for the prices of the additional channels.

You can get Global Destiny cable for 500 pesos a month exclusive of the installation fee. If you refer one of your friends (or at least anyone you know) to subscribe to Global Destiny, you get one month subscription for free.

Cablelink is another cable company in the market. You can get a Cablelink subscription starting at 495 pesos a month exclusive of installation fees and other miscellany fees (1 month advance, 1 month deposit, and additional fees for extensions/lines).

Cablelink only cover specific areas: Las Piñas, Parañaque, Muntinlupa, Taguig, Pateros, Pasay, Imus, and Bacoor. According to them, they have the most number of quality movie channels in the market (Hallmark, PBO, HBO, Star Movies, and Flip TV).

Dream Satellite is a DTH (Direct-to-Home) satellite provider in the Philippines. Before you subscribe to Dream Satellite TV, you must purchase a decoder box which cost 5,900 pesos. Among their price packages are Dream 390, Dream 690, and Dream 890. Dream Satellite subscription is only advisable if you are living in an area where coverage of cable TV is limited or far from the reaches of civilization.

Another satellite provider is Cignal Digital TV. It comes at a highly expensive price starting at 4,700 pesos with a monthly service fee of 390 pesos. This does not include the 1,000 pesos installation fee. Cignal TV has two other packages: Cignal HD and Cignal Combo. Both has a one-time fee of 6,500 pesos. The HD pack has 8 HD channels at 990 per month while the combo pack comes at 1,290 pesos including MAX Asia.

Locations

SkyCable, Global Destiny, Dream Satellite, and Cignal Digital TV are available all throughout Metro Manila. Cablelink, as mentioned, is only available in selected areas. There are also regional cable companies such as Cable Star which can provide you with a cheaper plan but with limited set of channels.

Customer Service

SkyCable has a 24/7 hotline for any technical or cable TV concerns. Telesales is available from 8am to 5pm only during weekdays. SkyCable also has a text service in which you can text in your questions and concerns. You can contact SkyCable at 631-0000.

Global Destiny has several branches which you can call but only a specific branch is assigned to your area. This is the same branch that is responsible for handling your monthly billing. There are difficulties calling Global Destiny during peak hours and during a wide-range of TV interruptions. The number for their main branch is 810-2828.

Dream Satellite customer service is limited by phone. They have no main office nor specific branches where you can draw-in your concerns. Their call center is located in Pasong Tamo, Makati. You can contact them at 918-8000.

Billing

There is a wide range of available billing options for SkyCable subscribers. You can pay your bills through several Bayad Centers available in the metro. You can also pay your bills through credit card auto-debit (AMEX, VISA, BPI Express Credit, Diners), online (UnionBank, BPI, MetroBank), phone banking (BPI Express Phone, HSBC), or by going to their main branch.

Global Destiny has collectors that will come to your doorsteps to collect your bills. This is the best options when paying for your subscription. You may also pay by going to a specific branch for your area. If you pay using this method, a collector will still deliver your bills. You will just have to inform them you've already made your payments.

Unlike SkyCable and Global Destiny, Dream Satellite has no specific office or branch where you can go to. The only option they have for billing is by calling-in or through a collector (similar to Global Destiny) that will go to your house to collect payments.

TV Signal

Service interruption often occur during power outages or during a thunderstorm. SkyCable often provides a list of areas where there will be a scheduled interruption on channel 33. Global Destiny's service interruption can last from a few hours to days. As such, if a problem occur during weekend, your signal will have to wait until the following Monday or if the interruption occur during midnight, the signal will probably be back later that afternoon.

SkyCable Digital takes 3-4 seconds for a channel to load. Intermittent signal can be experienced on some areas.

Movie Selection

If you're into classic movies and you're on a budget, the best option would be Global Destiny. Global Destiny has Turner Classic Movies and MGM included in its standard pack together with classic pinoy movies being shown in Pinoy Box Office and Global Pinoy Cinema.

SkyCable also provides these channels but with additional costs. Cablelink and Dream Satellite has TCM.

SkyCable's HBO Pak provides three additional channels namely: HBO HiTS, HBO Family, and HBO Signature. These three channels usually show more or less 75 movies per month that were previously seen on HBO Asia or MAX Asia.

Aside from their HBO Pak, SkyCable also has Cinema One and Star Chinese Movies not available through other cable providers. Global Destiny has 4 additional movie channels, all non-English: ETTV Mandarin Movies (PPV, Mandarin), Global Pinoy Cinema (Tagalog), HBO Mandarin (Mandarin), and Zee Premiere (Hindi).

Dream Satellite has 2 additional English movie channels but they're available only through Pay-Per-View: Dream Cinema 1 and Dream Cinema 2. Cablelink has only 1 additional channel, and that's Flip TV, the Philippine feed for the Mabuhay channel.

Music Selection

SkyCable has its own MYX channel exclusive to them. They also have Channel [V] available for DigiBox subscribers. Channel [V] can also be seen on Global Destiny Cable. Aside from Channel [V], they also have their own Destiny KTV channel, an interactive music video and chat channel where you can txt in your requests.

Just like Global Destiny, Cablelink has its own videoke channel called Cablelink KTV. They also show the Sound Track channel which was previously available in the other cable provider's channel line-up.

Sports Channels

ESPN Philippines and Star Sports SEA are available through SkyCable, Global Destiny, Dream Satellite, Cablelink, and over 300 cable operators nationwide.

Cablelink has Solar Sports and DD Sports. SkyCable has exclusive rights on Balls.

Global Destiny has the most number of Sports channels: ESPN Philippines, Star Sports SEA, Solar Sports, bTV, Eurosport, Super Sports (PPV), and The Golf Network Japan (PPV).

Travel and Lifestyle

All 4 providers now has Discovery Travel & Living. Living Asia can also be seen in all of them except for Cablelink.

SkyCable has the most travel and lifestyle channels: The Lifestyle Network, Makisig Channel , Asian Food Channel, Discovery Travel & Living (Metro Pack), Living Asia, Fashion TV (Metro Pack), and Wine TV (Metro Pack).

Fashion TV is also available in Global Destiny and Cablelink. Luxe TV can only be seen on Cablelink.

News Channels

SkyCable has the most number of News Channels: ANC, DZMM TeleRadyo, BBC Wold, CCTV-9, Bloomberg, CNN International, CNBC Asia (Gold Package), DZRH-TV, Channel News Asia, CNN Headline News (Metro Pack), Fox News Channel (Metro Pack), Phoenix InfoNews (Mandarin), Star News (Hindi), and Voice of America.

Global Destiny Cable has Al Jazeera International (English broadcast from the Middle East), TVBS News, and Formosa News (both Mandarin). All three are not available through the other cable providers.

Kids Stations

Only Cartoon Network is available through all 4 cable/satellite providers. Nickelodeon is not available for Cablelink subscribers. Playhouse Disney and Disney Channel Asia are not available in Dream Satellite.

Hero TV, KidsCo, and Boomerang can only be seen on SkyCable. Smile of a Child can only be seen on Cablelink. Baby TV is now available on Global Destiny.

SkyCable has the most number of cartoon channels: Hero TV, Disney Channel Asia, Animax Philippines, Playhouse Disney Asia (Metro), Carton Network Philippines, KidsCo (Gold), Nickelodeon, and Boomerang (Metro).

Documentary/Education Channels

Although SkyCable has the most number of documentary channels, most of them are available through their more expensive Metro Pack or SkyCable Gold. It is the only cable provider to broadcast Knowledge Channel, Discovery Science Asia, Discovery Home and Health, and Nat Geo Adventure.

Most of the documentary channels available in SkyCable are also available on Global Destiny: Discovery Channel, History Channel, Discovery Turbo, Biography Channel, and Animal Planet. They do not have the National Geographic Channel.

Discovery Channel, History Channel, Biography Channel, and the Animal Planet are available through all of these providers.

General Entertainment

All providers have DW-TV (Deutsche Welle) and Australia Network. DW-TV broadcast English and German programming with a 4-hour interval.

2 nd Avenue, ETC, Arirang Global TV, TV5 MONDE Asie, and TVE Internacional are also available in all of the cable providers but is not available through Dream Satellite TV.

Unique to Cablelink is NHK World. Jack TV can also be seen on Cablelink aside from Global Destiny.

Global Destiny has several distinct channels that are non-English: Hunan TV (Mandarin), CTV ( Hokkien), Zee TV (Hindi), CTS (Hokkien), CTi (Hokkien), Doordarshan National (Hindi), Formosa TV (Hokkien), NHK World Premium (Japanese), and TTV World (Hokkien).

SkyCable has 5 additional entertainment channels: Maxxx, Velvet, AXN Beyond, FoxCrime Asia, and FX Asia. It also has KBS World, a Korean channel.

Both SkyCable and Global Destiny have NHK World Premium.

Other Considerations

  • QTV, 2nd Avenue, and ETC are not included in Dream Satellite's channel line-up.
  • SkyCable has 69 English channels, 47 for Global Destiny, 42 for Cablelink, and 26 for Dream Satellite.
  • Although SkyCable has the most number of English channels, you must also consider that some of them are available through a more expensive plan. 9 of these channels are not available in SkyCable Starter Plan, 6 are not available in SkyCable Silver, 11 are only available through their Metro Pack, 3 through HBO Pak, and around 4 or 5 channels are available through Pay-Per-View.
  • Most Hindi channels are available on SkyCable while most Mandarin channels are available on Global Destiny.
  • SkyCable allows DigiBox subscribers to select specific channels they would like to watch for at least 1 month. They cost mostly 20 pesos per channel. Some cost 100, 150, up to 800 pesos (MBC Korea).
  • All providers that carry MBC Korea require subscribers to have a decoder box. MBC Korea's subscription is 800 pesos per month.
  • All providers have a cable barker channel.
  • None of these providers has adult entertainment channels. Global Destiny previously provided the Hollywood Channel during the lates 90's but has since removed it from their line-up.
  • Least expensive monthly payment is SkyCable Select Starter plan for 280 pesos.
  • Most expensive monthly payment is SkyCable Platinum plan for 1,350 pesos.
  • SkyCable was the merging of Sky and Home Cable. Global Destiny was the merging of Destiny and Global Cable.
  • New on the market is Cignal Digital TV whch is now a direct competitor of Dream Satellite.