Brandon Jarman is a freelance writer and a paranoid homeowner. When he's not writing, he enjoys spending time with his wife and newborn son.
Pros of Streaming Services
- Cheaper than cable
- Unaffected by weather
As cell phone rates, gym memberships, and a host of other monthly expenses increase, we’re forced to get picky about subscriptions and pare down where we can. Cutting off cable is one of the easiest places to start.
Alternative streaming services are all the rage because they offer an affordable option to shave down on your TV bill and still watch your favorite shows.
Cable subscriptions run anywhere from $24 to $85 per month, whereas streaming service subscriptions cost between $10 to $60 per month. On top of that, streaming services let you watch shows and movies-on-demand. You can do this on multiple devices, and you just need to have decent internet speeds to stream.
The biggest reason to cut the cord is the money. Cable subscriptions don’t come cheap, and you can save upwards of $300 a year by switching. Some cable providers offer internet and cable bundles, but between add-ons and extra fees, bundled cable bills can still be just as expensive as non-bundled cable.
Because there are multiple ways to stream on alternative streaming services, you have various price options to choose from. For instance, if you’re budget-conscientious, you can get one of the most affordable TV streaming options, like SlingTV. If you want carte blanche, you can splurge on PlayStation Vue.
Streaming services are also more user-friendly than cable. Whether you’re using a TV streaming stick, smart TV, or app, you can search for shows and movies versus waiting for them to come on live. Plus, unlike cable and TV antennas, streaming services aren’t affected by the weather.
Cons of Streaming Services
- Limited TV channels
- Multiple bills
- Dependent on the internet
- May have to rely on an antenna
If you don’t watch TV on cable, you’ll need to stream through the internet to watch TV—which is both bad and good. Even if you have a seemingly reliable, fast connection, you still run the risk of a blackout or lag in connection.
When you have multiple streaming subscriptions, you have numerous bills, and it becomes difficult (and annoying) to manage. What’s worse? The TV shows and movies are limited to what each service offers. For example, if you want to watch an original Hulu show but you only have Netflix, your only option is to get Hulu too.
One of the biggest downsides to not having cable is the limited access to live shows or sporting events. For example, you can watch The Bachelor or Bachelorette live on some streaming subscriptions, but others will make you wait until the next day. (Not fun if one of your Twitter followers ruins the finale for you.)
You can get a TV antenna to watch local channels, but depending on where you live, local market restrictions affect MLB, NBA, and NFL lovers. For instance, if you’re a die-hard football fan, owning NFL Sunday Ticket is the only way to watch all of your favorite NFL teams battle it out.
Should You Cut the Cord?
It all boils down to how much money you can save. Canceling your cable subscription is easy, but picking a cable alternative isn’t as cut-and-dried of a process.
There are multiple alternatives to cutting the cord. If you own a basic TV, you can get a Roku Stick or an Amazon Fire TV stick. With those, all you have to do is pair it with your TV and boom! Instant streaming.
If you have a smart TV like an Apple TV, it comes with multiple streaming service options—so you don’t have to choose between Netflix, Amazon, or HBO. You can also get a TV antenna, which lets you stream local channels (because sacrificing cable doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice watching your local news).
Crunch the Numbers
Plug and chug your budget into a cord-cutting calculator to see if ditching cable would save you money. Choosing to binge on streaming services over cable can save you some moolah, but remember that you won’t have as many options unless you mix and match.