Is Streaming Really More Cost-Effective Than Cable?

Over the last 15 years, streaming services have become increasingly popular. What began as an additional way to enjoy content, eventually became a more affordable alternative to cable. In recent years, cable subscriptions have started to dwindle while streaming services continue to rise. Now that there are so many streaming options available, people simply don’t see the need to pay expensive monthly bills for access to cable TV. Instead, they prefer to subscribe to the streaming services that best fit their interests. However, as the number of streaming services grows, so does the number of monthly fees. Have we officially gotten to a point where cable actually makes more sense? Keep reading to find out if streaming is really more cost-effective than cable.

When Does It Make Sense To Cut The Cord?

Once streaming services started to gain popularity, lots of people quickly jumped at the opportunity to get rid of cable. In a lot of ways, it felt like a great way to stick it to companies that had been charging ridiculous prices for decades. However, cutting the cord isn’t the best option for everyone. If you’re someone who doesn’t watch a lot of TV, or only watches a few things, you may be able to get by subscribing to just one or two streaming services. In that case, having cable probably doesn’t make much sense for you anyway. If you watch lots of sports and/or local news, you may also be dissatisfied getting rid of cable completely. On the other hand, if you’re the type of person who likes to watch a variety of things and enjoys being in the loop on all of the latest movies and shows, you’ll probably find that ditching cable and subscribing to several streaming services is your best bet.

The Cost of Cable Vs. Streaming

When it comes to cable, the price depends on a few factors: your location, your service provider, the number of channels you want, the number of TVs, and whether you want access to DVR and other features. Basic cable services can start at around $25 per month, but this package typically only offers local channels with a few additions. More comprehensive packages can cost upwards of $70 per month. On average, households in the United States are paying well over $100 dollars per month with some bills even reaching into the $200 range. Many cable companies will offer discounted packages for people who bundle other services such as internet and telephone. On the other hand, there are several streaming services that are completely free. However, the content on these services may not be as appealing as some of the paid options. If you’re willing to shell out money to stream, there are some services that are only a few dollars a month. The beauty of streaming services is that you can pick and choose which service you want based on what kinds of things you like to watch and how much you’re willing to spend. Below are the standard monthly subscription fees for the most popular streaming services:

  • Netflix – $13.99 (the basic plan is $8.99)
  • Hulu – $6.99 or $69.99
  • HBO Max – $9.99
  • Disney + – $7.99 or $79.99 per year
  • Apple TV – $4.99 per month

Additionally, there are several services such as Hulu, YouTube, and Sling that offer live TV packages that range from $30 to $65 per month. If you were to subscribe to all of these services you would be paying $43.95 per month. While this may be more than a basic cable package, it would also give you access to way more content. However, it’s important to note that in order to stream content you need to have an internet connection. This means you will have an additional monthly bill that will likely be somewhere between$50-$70 per month. If you factor in the cost of internet, streaming is almost always more expensive than cable. Although it’s true that most people would have internet regardless of streaming, having internet without a cable package is usually more expensive due to the bundle options we mentioned before.

The Verdict

At the end of the day, whether streaming is more affordable than cable will depend entirely on what kind of TV experience you’re looking for. However, we have officially reached the point where there are so many streaming services that many people are paying close to the same amount they were before. This is especially true for those who have opted to subscribe to live TV packages. Although we may have thought we were rebelling against cable by utilizing streaming services, we should’ve known cable wasn’t going to go out with a fight.


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