I think an area where satellite has an edge over cable, is the dish people don't have to code for so many boxes. And the competition is more proficient at writing and testing code.
Actually there is more, with DirecTV at least. While with Time Warner you mainly have newer SA, Cisco and Samsung boxes running ODN Navigator along with Motorola boxes that are in a MOCA setup and older SA boxes with MDN. With DirecTV there are currently 8 different hardware manufactures of their receivers and DVRs.
You would never know it, since an HR24 DVR manufactured Samsung looks identical to an HR24 manufactured by Pace. The not so new HR34 dubbed ‘Genie’ recently by the DirecTV Marketing Dept is currently only manufactured by Pace. The standard HD DVR, the HR24, is manufactured by Thompson (RCA), Samsung, Humax and Pace. Philips, LG, NEC and HNS also manufacture or have manufactured DirecTV receivers ever since DirecTV went to their own branded boxes in 2005. All of the newer boxes are DirecTV branded and feature very similar firmware. While a final release of firmware may work fine on an HR24 from Pace and one from Samsung, that is not the case if you participate in the Cutting Edge beta program. Some beta firmware will not work the same model box, but from different manufactures. And some people report mixed results when it comes to beta, release candidate and national releases of firmware between different manufactures.
Aside from the original crop of DirecTiVos and S2 DTiVos, in the old days, all those companies I listed above in addition to Sony and possibly another company or two that I don’t remember all manufactured DirecTV receivers under their own names, they all looked different physically, the all had different features, all ran completely different firmware. In 2005 they started to unify their product lines, but since DirecTV doesn’t have a manufacturing arm ever since they split from Hughes Electronics, they still need third party companies to manufacture the hardware.
Dish Network, I'm not sure about. As I said many time I forget that company even exists most of the time. Echostar, their former parent company, now split off from them, used to manufacture all of their hardware. They did at one point have branding agreements in place with JVC, Philips and RCA, but I’m not sure who actually made those receivers. I can’t say for 100% certainty, but these days I believe all Dish hardware is handled by Echostar or Echostar Technologies Corporation or whatever they call themselves these days.