A cable machine uses cables that are organized in a pulley system to lift weights. The cables are usually able to move freely in all planes of direction, and multiple different handle attachments are capable of attaching to the end of the cable. This allows for many different exercises to be done on one machine.
Some cable machines, like the one in the picture above, are specifically meant for either a pulling or pushing exercise. Some machines have two different cables on either side of the machine and have a wider range of options.