The bottom line is that cable television and satellite providers have been directly competing with each other for quite some time. Within the cable company world there is not as much competition, since their setups require local networks and investing in those where other companies already exist is not very optimal. On the other hand, DirecTV is able to give service to customers almost anywhere so they are a potential threat to every cable company whether they are national or regional. Over at http://www.cable-tv.com/directv-vs-cable/ you can see a breakdown of many of the differences between cable and DirecTV.
For the most part a lot of it comes down to small differences that do not really create a clear winner in the overall picture. Anything that one company does to take a quick lead is either copied or countered by other companies, as they cannot afford to fall behind and lose customers. The bottom line is that all of them need to maintain or grow subscription numbers in order to pay off the costs of their infrastructure, so they fight tooth and nail to try and get every customer possible.
At the same time, there are differences that can make a clear choice for specific customers. Obviously a lot of it depends on the cable company that is available in your local area, as not all of them offer the same quality. In fact, DirecTV is known for providing the best customer support in the market and they have won over a lot of permanent customers by helping them out in tough situations. Another huge advantage to DirecTV is specific to NFL fans who want the Sunday Ticket package to watch every single football game of this season. Ultimately though, both sides provide great HD pictures and tons of channel packages that should cover any customer’s needs.