Cable TV vs. Streaming Services

Not sure if you want to bundle your Internet plan with cable TV service or opt in for streaming services instead? You’ve come to the right place. That seems to be the ultimate question when it comes to making the decision about TV options. This article contains several comparison charts to give you visuals of the yearly expenses for all of your options when it comes to watching content.

Table of Contents

  • How to Reevaluate Your TV Budget
  • Is Cable TV or Streaming Cheaper?
  • Cable TV vs. Streaming Customer Satisfaction
  • FAQ

Summary

Any decision affecting your monthly bills is a big one. This article will help you compare and contrast various options when it comes to TV. You could bundle your other service into a TV package or simply opt in for a streaming service. The charts below can help you envision what your payments will look like for each option.

How to Reevaluate Your TV Budget

The average American does not have a very clear idea of how much money they’re actually spending each month on subscription TV, such as streaming services or cable and satellite. Most people probably don’t even realize the amount of money that actually goes toward TV services until taking a step back and adding everything up. The truth is, you can reevaluate your TV budget just like you do for a simple grocery list or a savings plan.

You will want to start by comparing internet pricing using your zip code in case you do decide to go with streaming TV, which in that case, you will only need to worry about a solo internet plan, independent from any sort of bundle. For example, take a look at this price chart comparison of the top internet providers in St. Louis, where National Broadband’s office is located.

Spectrum InternetAT&T INTERNET 300Frontier Frontier Fiber 500 Mbps
Monthly cost$49.99 for 12 mos$55.00 plus taxes, $55 for the second year$49.99 w/ Auto Pay
Contract lengthNo contractTwo-year agreementNo contract
Max speeds300 Mbps300 Mbps500 Mbps

Is Cable TV or Streaming Cheaper?

Now, let’s say you really do want to bundle your internet because you like a single bill every month. Or maybe you just want a side-by-side comparison of what streaming options you would have if you didn’t bundle. Use the tables below to compare the prices for standard bundling options versus several popular TV streaming options. However, keep in mind that this is just a general, nationwide selection of offers that may not be available at all locations. That’s why it’s so convenient for you to use our FREE tool on finding specific options in your zip code.

Popular Bundling Options
Xfinity (Starter Pro Double Play)Spectrum TV Select + Spectrum InternetAT&T Internet 300 + DIRECTV Entertainment
Monthly cost$94.99$109.98 for 12 mos$119.99 for 12 mos
Contract lengthOne-year agreementNo contractTwo-year agreement
Number of channels140+125+160+
Estimated year one costroughly $1139.88roughly $1079.76roughly $1079.88
Popular Cable TV Options
Spectrum TV SelectDIRECTV STREAM ENTERTAINMENTXfinity Extra
Monthly cost$59.99 for 12 mos$69.99 $49.99 for the first year
Contract lengthNo contractNo contractOne-year agreement
Number of channels125+75+ and HBO Max included for three months140+
Estimated year one cost$539.88$719.88$599.88
Popular Streaming Options
Netflix PremiumHulu + Live TVYouTube TVDIRECTV STREAM ENTERTAINMENT PACKAGE
Monthly cost$17.99$64.99$64.99$69.99
Contract lengthNone, cancel anytimeNone, cancel anytimeNone, cancel anytimeNo annual contract required
Number of channelsOver 1,500 titles10,000 titles PLUS 65+ live and on-demand channels85+ with unlimited cloud DVR storage space65+ and 7,000+ apps
Estimated year one cost$215.88$779.88$779.88$839.88

As you can see, there’s no clear-cut answer to which option is the best deal. It all comes down to how often you watch TV, the variety of channels you prefer as well as if you are also already paying for internet, which would most likely mean that you should go ahead and bundle. However, if you tend to stick to trendy series and movies, then you might want to go with a singular internet plan and use a streaming service like Netflix for your TV choice.

It is also very important to know which channels are being offered to you because a lot of times, these channels could very easily be ones that you are completely uninterested in. Whereas, when it comes to TV streaming, YouTube TV for example, there are not going to be popular networks you might be expecting such as A&E or the History Channel.

The biggest benefit when it comes to TV streaming is the freedom customers are given with no contracts or termination fees. By paying one month at a time, customers are never locked into a contract or faced with price hikes after a promotional period ends, which is typically the case with most cable companies. Even if a streaming service happens to raise their monthly rate, it’s as simple as cancelling your membership and that’s that. The bottom line is if you find major TV networks to be a necessity for you, stick to bundling your internet with a cable deal. If not, streaming for the win.

For more information on the newly rebranded streaming service that was once AT&T TV, visit our page dedicated to DIRECTV STREAM.

Cable TV vs. Streaming Customer Satisfaction

It turns out that the majority of TV streamers are much more satisfied with their service than traditional cable customers. According to a survey conducted by SurveyMonkey, of over 500 Americans, more than half (58.5%) indicate that streaming services are cheaper in the long-run and more convenient for on-demand programming than cable/satellite services.

Winner: Streaming Services

Although the prices may somehow even out if you want a broad channel selection, streamers are generally happier. It seems that the overall satisfaction rate of TV streamers is higher due to the freedom of options provided over cable companies.

Frequently asked questions

What are the best live TV streaming services?

Hulu + Live TV is a great option for you. Check out the pricing above.

How many channels would I get with the Xfinity Starter Pro Double Play option?

140+

Are there contracts with streaming services?

The great thing about streaming is that there are never any contracts.

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