A week ago, the biggest member of the cable litter, Comcast (Nasdaq: CMCSA), told us about a rather solid quarter: Digital video subscribers rose by 9.7%.

Time Warner Cable
Then on Thursday, both Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC) and Cablevision (NYSE: CVC) took their turns at earnings season. By most standards, and particularly in these economic circumstances, Time Warner's results weren't bad. For the quarter, the company earned $342 million, or $0.95 per share, compared with income of $316 million, or $0.90 per share, last year. Revenue was up 6% to $4.73 billion; the analysts had been anticipating a per-share number of $0.89.

Looking at individual components, video revenues were held to but a 2.8% subscription revenue increase -- primarily because of the march of customers from basic video to the digital format, along with additions of digital video recorders and video-on-demand. At the same time, high-speed data revenue was up by 9.7%, while voice added another 7.2% to the revenue pile.

The number of commercial data subscribers -- i.e., small businesses -- along with those taking the triple play of video, data, and voice, all rose significantly. But perhaps most important was the 24.1% growth in advertising revenues. Not long ago, cable companies generated the lion's share of their revenues from subscriptions, but that trend is changing quickly.

And then Cablevision
Cablevision reported net income of $60.9 million, or $0.21 per share, versus $87 million, or $0.30 a share, a year ago. The most recent quarter included a $110 million loss from a debt repayment, along with investments and other financing costs. The company did not include information on the quarter's results without the associated losses.

For the quarter, Cablevision's telecommunications services increased net revenues by 6% year over year (the group includes cable television, high-speed data, and residential voice, along with the "Optimum Lightpath" commercial data and voice services). Indeed, all of the services in the group experienced revenue growth. Rainbow national services, Cablevision's programming unit, expanded its revenues by 11.2%. Only Newsday, the company's Long Island-based daily newspaper, broke the chain with a 9.7% decrease in revenue.

The cable operators continue to compete head-to-head with the likes of telephone companies such as Verizon (NYSE: VZ) and satellite video providers such as DIRECTV (Nasdaq: DTV).

Nevertheless, in targeting the cable companies, I'd quickly opt for Comcast. It's soundly managed, and its impending acquisition of General Electric's (NYSE: GE) NBC Universal will add nicely to its capabilities.

Fool contributor David Lee Smith doesn't own shares in any of the companies mentioned above. He does welcome your questions or comments. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy