My idea of a perfect night is sitting back after a home-cooked dinner with an ice-cold beer and watching a baseball game in high definition. I turn the AC down low, settle in to our couch in the basement, kick my feet up and forget about the world as I stare into the big screen. Ideally it’s raining outside to keep the guilt levels at a minimum. It’s a perfect way to relax at home.

High Definition television has integrated its way into the mainstream. Many people now have at least one HD TV in their house. Even my grandma (yes I’m talking about you, Gram) has a beautiful, big, beast of an LCD TV in her den on which she watches Alex Trebek every night. It looks sooooo good, how could you not want one? As an avid sports-watcher, it has taken my enjoyment of watching a game to the next level.

Society’s demand for HD programming has presented yet another decision in homeownership. High speed internet, high definition television and telephone are primarily provided by the same provider and can be packaged for better deals and promotions. Climate, environment, personal preference and company participation can come into play when making your decision. So, how do you go about choosing a home entertainment provider?

I have a few opinions on which television provider is the best; however, these are my opinions only and based on personal experience and preference. You can narrow it down to two ways to get your TV signal ? from a satellite dish or from an underground cable.

Many people are die-hard satellite lovers. DirecTV and Dish Network are the two main satellite players. DirecTV is considered the premium provider while Dish is considered the cheaper alternative. The benefits, particularly for DirecTV, are the myriad of channels available and the features that are only available to DirecTV customers, such as NFL Sunday Ticket. NFL Sunday Ticket is for football lovers who want to have the ability to watch every single game. There are also several cons for satellite TV. During rainy or cloudy days the signal can be interrupted, and if something were to happen to the dish, it’s mounted on the top of the house and it can be difficult to get to for repair. Additionally, I have found that when you change from one channel to the next, there is a 2-3 second pause before the channel switches. For notorious channel flippers such as myself, this can be very irritating.

Then there’s the underground cable provider, such as Cox Cable, Comcast, or Verizon FiOS. These cables run underground and are less likely to suffer from signal interruption during a storm and the cloudiness of the sky does not affect them. They also offer the same channels as their satellite counterparts. I have had both Cox and Verizon FiOS, and I am now a loyal Verizon customer. When I had Cox, occasionally I would lose my signal or have a weak signal and have to call customer support for a refresh or some deeper troubleshooting. I had Cox for two years in an apartment and probably called tech support at least 10-15 times for help. Once they installed Verizon FiOS there, I made the switch. I have had Verizon ever since, and when we moved into our new house I was very pleased to hear the FiOS was available. I did not hesitate. I never, ever have a signal interruption and I have only had to call tech support to fix something due to user error. Their installation technicians, in my opinion, are excellent, and they are usually on time and have everything they need to get the job done.

Verizon FiOS is not the cheapest provider out there, but I believe they are the highest quality television/internet provider. I have their screaming-fast fiber-optic FiOS internet and two HD TVs set up. The picture is perfect. They also have NFL RedZone to compete against DirecTV’s Sunday Ticket, and they have an absurd amount of free on-demand programming depending on your subscription.

How much you spend, regardless of the provider, is up to you ? it depends on what channels you want. If you get ?em all, you’re going to pay for ?em. Before you opt for a channel package, just ask yourself, ?An I really gonna watch this?? The options add up if you’re not careful. Additionally, most providers offer promotions with a new subscription, such as free HBO for the first three months. Be careful ? because it’s easy to forget and when the three months are over they’ll just tack it on to your bill.

But overall, I love Verizon FiOS and I wouldn’t switch to anything else. I’m sure there are some DirecTV loyalists out there. Let me hear your experience. And if there are some Cox or Comcast loyalists out there, let me hear your reasons as well.

In the meantime, I think I’ll retire to the man cave and watch a ball game…on high definition!