You know the old saying: If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. In this case, our primary TV competitors — the direct broadcast satellite (DBS) companies — have made a lot of noise about their high-definition (HD) channel line ups. But what they deliver may not live up to what they advertise.

So, if you’re evaluating cable HD service versus satellite HD service, we hope you’ll take a few moments to consider the following points before making a final decision.

(1) Satellite channels may not offer true HD.

(2) Industry intelligence leads us to believe some of the so-called DBS “channels” are individual “events,” like sporting contests, not 24-hour programming.

(3) Satellite HD packages typically require an extra monthly payment. While some Suddenlink HD packages do, too, we have recently increased the number of free HD channels we offer in many areas — i.e., channels that cost nothing beyond the lease of an HD receiver — and we hope to add even more of these free channels in the future.

(4) When local ABC, CBS, NBC, or FOX stations broadcast HD signals, we carry those signals in most of the areas where we provide HD service. Furthermore, channels on our “HD Broadcast” line up are widely available at no extra charge to customers who have HD television sets with a built-in QAM tuner. Before signing up for HD from DBS, ask if they also provide local broadcast stations in HD, and if they do, ask if they charge extra for them.

(5) Suddenlink is working hard to expand HD programming wherever we can, both by adding new HD channels and by planning the future expansion of our video-on-demand (VOD) service, which has the potential to offer hundreds of HD choices and far outpace what our DBS competitors provide.

(6) To get the best DBS deals, customers could be locked into a 12- to 18-month contract, depending on the provider, services ordered, and equipment purchased. Such contracts may be available but are never required for Suddenlink’s residential services.