It's interesting to watch how consumers build up brand awareness for a company over time, but the minute that company tries to do something outside of its core, things tend to blow up. Expansion should occur mainly in areas of strength; the mistake that some companies make is trying to be all things to all people.

The cable TV industry has gone through a rough transition the past few years. Old analog lines have been slowly replaced by digital wires capable of producing crystal-clear TV reception and sound. Cable companies such as Cablevision Systems (NYSE:CVC) and Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA) have spent billions of dollars on upgrades and have also invested in grabbing a piece of the huge Internet pie by leveraging cable modem technology.

I recently had quite a positive opinion on Comcast (Comcast Is Wired for Success), primarily because the company has focused its operations on improving its core strengths. Not surprisingly, the company is starting to see the benefits of those investments. Conversely, Cablevision appears to be in the midst of an identity crisis. If the company had simply held firm and stuck to its cable roots, it would be in as good a fiscal shape as Comcast. The lure of sports franchises and satellite operations has sent the company off course, fighting a battle it probably never should have started.

Cablevision's results for the second quarter revealed that its direct broadcast satellite operations (Voom) lost $81.5 million (the unit produced revenue of only $2.7 million out of $1.2 billion total company revenue, but accounted for a good part of Cablevision's $187 million net loss). What is one of the country's most solid cable TV companies doing in the competitors' territory? I say leave the real satellite TV services to the experts, which in this case would be DirecTV (NYSE:DTV) and EchoStar's (NASDAQ:DISH) DISH Network. Although the company has said that it will put a cap on its Voom investment, that restraint will do little to stop the bleeding.

The company's shares are hovering around their 52-week low for a reason. Investors appear to be as confused as the company is about its future direction. All one has to do is look at the name of the company. With obvious strength on the ground and not in the sky, Cablevision must stick to what it does best. Until then, I would avoid the shares.

Rub your eyes and tell about your vision on the Cablevision discussion board.

Phil Wohl spent more than 12 years on Wall Street and now concentrates his writing on more fictional characters. He has no stake in any firm mentioned above.