A lot of us have wondered at one point or another if cable TV is the right choice or would we fare better by cutting the cord. Given the number of streaming services on the scene right now, including Hulu, Netflix, YouTube, and SlingTV, which are quite popular, you may be tempted to subscribe to one. But, while each one of these doesn’t cost a lot separately, getting a combination of all the right services for a balanced viewing experience can get pricey. Everybody has a budget and you want to make the most of it. You also don’t want to remove the important things to splurge on the non-essentials.
This can make for a tough decision. To help you out, we’ve done a cost analysis of each to give you a better understanding of what buying each could mean.
Cable TV Packages and Prices
When it comes to cable, there are a ton of companies to choose from, but for the sake of this comparison, we’ll stick with the major providers.
Spectrum cable TV packages start at $44.99 with more than 125 channels, Frontier’s FiOS 200 + Prime TV at $69.99 with up to 300 channels and Cox offers packages starting at $69.99 a month and offers more than 140 channels. The number of channels they offer can make your eyes go gaga but it’s unlikely you’ll follow all these channels and even less likely you’ll like most of them. In terms of costs, they have a myriad of additional charges including promotional pricing that can increase heftily at the end of the year. Not to forget that these prices are bundle prices and buying the plan separately can get pricier. Activation fee, termination fee, taxes, equipment fee, etc. can really add to the cost. Suffice it to say the package is going to get expensive in which case streaming sites can be tempting. However, they too have their cons which you’ll soon find out. Keep reading!
Streaming Options and Prices
AT&T WatchTV offers one of the cheapest packages. For $15 a month, you get more than 35 channels including AMC, Animal Planet, BBC World News, BET, Cartoon Network, CNN, Comedy Central, Discovery, Food Network, Hallmark, HGTV, MTV2, Nicktoons, TLC and more. You also get access to tons of shows and movies on demand.
The next option on our list is Philo which offers more than 59 channels at $20 a month for up to three devices at a time. These include quite a few of the popular ones that AT&T Watch TV offers. You also get tons of on-demand shows and movies. Similarly, Sling TV offers 31 channels in its Orange and Blue package for $30 a month along with on-demand content. YouTube, on the other hand, costs $49.99 a month and allows you to stream a variety of channels along with on-demand content. You can also use it on six devices, which makes it great for families.
With Hulu + Live TV, you get more than 65 live and On Demand channels at $54.99 a month. Another option you can consider is AT&T TV Now, which was formerly DirecTV Now. For $65 a month it gives you more than 65 channels which is a great deal especially if you consider that the package includes the much loved HBO.
Depending on which channels you just can’t live without, selecting the package shouldn’t be as difficult. Additionally, given how much they cost, you could even get two streaming services to fill in the channels you love, but no single package contains all.
The best part about streaming services is that you don’t have to pay anything extra. No rental fee for DVR box, no broadcast fee or the plethora of hidden charges that really burden your wallet.
However, bear in mind that streaming services only work over an internet connection and that is something that you’ll have to pay for. So, the question that arises is how much internet do you need and what will it cost you?
Internet Requirements and Cost
According to Netflix, if you want to stream the shows and movies it offers, you need the following download speeds. To view SD quality videos, you need a speed of at least 3 Mbps and if you want to view HD quality, it is recommended that you get a 5 Mbps internet connection. For those that love the Ultra HD quality, Netflix recommends connections speeds of at least 25 Mbps. And, this is not all. If you’re to stream videos, you’ll also need tons of data that you can use.
For SD quality videos you need 1 GB data per hour, for HD videos you’ll need 3 GB data per hour while downloading 4K videos consumes 9 GB of data per hour. When you add up your favorite shows, your weekend binges, and movie marathons, it can really add up. Not to forget that if you have more than one or two people in your home, the bills can skyrocket.
To give you an idea of the costs let’s look at some packages offered by some of the major companies.
Spectrum offers a 100 Mbps speed connection for $49.99 a month. Bear in mind though that the speed varies from area to area. Xfinity’s package starting at $39.99 also offers up to 100 Mbps speed. If the people in a house all want to stream in 4K they will have to wait for buffering that’s for sure. Then again, those watching HD content, might not feel as bad if their area does get decent internet speeds.
All in all though, when you add it to the cost of your streaming package you might be paying the same or more. In addition to this, if you don’t have connectivity outside your home, you won’t really be able to watch outside so it’s not like cutting cord will make you more mobile. Also, if you if bundle and get a double play of internet and cable TV, you’ll be paying way less and your internet connection would be free for you to use to browse and use social media which sounds like a great bargain.
At the end of the day, it’s really your personal preference that matters. Cord-cutting does not really cut costs, but it can increase your options and give you greater control over what content you get to watch. This is why, cutting cord or staying with a traditional cable TV can’t really be compared. Sure one might cost a little less, but the differences are not all that high especially when you consider which plan gives you your favorite TV shows. So, remove the stress from your shoulders and go get the package you love most. Cable TV or streaming, it doesn’t really matter in terms of money. So, have fun!