Cutting Cable: It’s Time To Rethink How You Watch Television

As average monthly cable costs soar over $200 a month, it might be time to rethink your relationship with cable television. 

Cutting cable seems scary. We’re used to coming home and enjoying the comfort of our favorite programs on weeknights. But with all the alternatives, cable’s no longer worth the high cost. 

Here’s why you should cut the cable cord and how to watch your favorite shows without it. 

Cost of Cable Television

Allconnect, a marketplace connecting customers with internet service providers, conducted an in-depth review of cable costs, finding options ranging from $20-145 a month for cable alone and $112-237 when you bundle in internet (typically needed for cable these days). 

Those numbers didn’t account for the hidden fees, like service agreements, equipment rentals, and taxes often associated with cable or the add-ons for regional broadcast or sports packages. 

When you factor everything in, average cable costs soar to over $200 monthly. 

Alternatives to Cable

Thankfully, cable companies no longer monopolize how we watch television. Numerous alternatives allow us to ditch cable while enjoying our evening ritual. 

Streaming is cable’s primary competition, especially among millennials, but many opted for satellite instead of cable before streaming. 

Cable vs. Streaming

People who cut cable typically opt for streaming instead. Streaming services start at less than $10 a month, so if you pay for just one service and the basic internet plan, you will pay less than $100 a month for entertainment, saving you over $100 a month. 

Even those who want ad-free viewing save money with streaming. The premium versions of streaming services range from $8-$23 per month – still far cheaper than cable. 

Streaming prices increase when you combine all services or wish to watch live television. However, they’re still typically cheaper than cable. 

Common streaming services that make great alternatives to cable include:

  • Amazon Prime
  • Netflix
  • Hulu
  • Max
  • Crunchyroll
  • CBS All Access
  • Paramount

As streaming gains steam, more and more companies look to get into the game. Unfortunately, that’s bad news for customers. As each network and studio develops its streaming platform, it refuses to license its content to others. For example, Star Trek left Hulu when Paramount made its own platform, forcing users to sign up for an additional service to continue watching their favorite show. 

Paying for Multiple Streaming Services

If you opted for the premium service of the big four streaming services, you’d still pay less than cable each month. The combined cost of Hulu, Netflix, Max, and Disney is $71 each month. When you add the internet cost, your total internet bill will be around $140 – a savings of $60 per month over cable. 

However, streaming also has additional perks, like no contracts and no hidden fees. Many cable cutters rotate streaming services, paying for Hulu for a few months and binging the content there before switching to Netflix. With this system, they only have to pay one streaming provider each month but still have all the entertainment they desire at their fingertips. 

Cable vs. Satellite

Satellite television brands itself as the alternative to cable, but realistically, the prices don’t differ much. Satellite costs range from $70-160 per month and include hidden equipment rental and service fees. 

One advantage to satellite is you don’t need internet; however, in today’s world, most of us have internet anyway, so that’s not much of a cost saver. Satellite provider Direct TV also offers NFL Sunday Ticket, the only way to watch all your favorite football games live. If you love live sports, you may have no choice but to use satellite. 

How To Watch Live TV After Cutting Cable

Live TV remains cable’s most significant advantage, but streaming services offer options. Unfortunately, they’re almost as costly as cable. 

Hulu is the only “top 3” option offering live TV, with prices ranging from $76-90 per month, without factoring in internet options. 

Other platforms, like YouTube, Philo, and Sling TV, also offer plans, and they’re all cheaper than cable. However, the prices rise when you bundle live television plans with streaming services. Customers who cut cable to save money must be careful, or they’ll find themselves paying similar rates for all the different services. 

Making the Decision to Cut the Cable Cord

If you’re savvy about your streaming services, you can save a lot of money cutting cable. You must decide what’s more important: an extra $100 a month or live television. 

I cut my cable cord years ago and haven’t looked back, but it was a difficult change at the time. I grew up with cable television and had some form of it my entire life. Although I only used it for a few shows, I struggled with the decision to cut the cord for good. 

Where would I watch the newest episodes of my favorite network shows? How would I watch my precious Chicago Bears play?

After some soul-searching, I realized neither was worth the extra money I paid for cable.  I could find my favorite shows on streaming platforms and go to a sports bar to watch my team play if I really wanted to. I’d get a day out, which would still be cheaper than cable!

Change is hard, though, so weighing all the options before cutting the cord is vital. Decide why cable is crucial to you and whether that’s worth the extra expense. If it is, that’s okay. Money isn’t everything. But you may want to consider cutting the cable cord if it isn’t. 

How To Cut Cable

Cable providers don’t make ending service easy. Most of them lock you into a two-year service agreement, and you’ll have to pay a fee for canceling early. 

If you’re near the end of your agreement, it may be cheaper to wait it out, but if you have a year left, it might be cheaper to pay the cancelation fee and move on with your life. 

You will almost always have to call the provider to cancel your service. They don’t make it easy by providing online options. In addition, once you’ve canceled, you must return any equipment you’ve rented from them, like cable boxes. Usually, they will send a box, allowing you to pack it up and drop it off at a delivery company they’ve contracted with. 

If you don’t return their equipment, expect a surprise bill asking you to pay. Keep copies of your receipt showing you’ve returned it in case they don’t receive it and demand payment. 

When You Don’t Have a Smart TV

Most modern televisions come with Wi-Fi, allowing you to connect to your favorite streaming service easily from your home network. 

But you can still cut cable if you have an older television. 

If your television set has an HDMI connection, you can hook it up to your computer and use it as a second monitor. If not, you can buy adapters to create whichever connection you need.

Cutting Cable a Big Change, But Worth It

Cutting cable is a massive change, but it’s worth the effort. The cost savings itself is worthwhile. You can use that extra $100 a month to fund your emergency account or fill holes in your budget. 

You may not realize it now, but it’s also freeing. We’re so used to being home on Tuesday to watch our favorite show we don’t realize how much of a hold it has over our lives. Cutting cable frees us from the routine and allows us to watch on our own terms, and that’s worth even more than the cost savings.

Author: Melanie Allen

Title: Journalist

Expertise: Pursuing Your Passions, Travel, Wellness, Hobbies, Finance, Gaming, Happiness

Melanie Allen is an American journalist and happiness expert. She has bylines on MSN, the AP News Wire, Wealth of Geeks, Media Decision, and numerous media outlets across the nation and is a certified happiness life coach. She covers a wide range of topics centered around self-actualization and the quest for a fulfilling life. 

9 thoughts on “Cutting Cable: It’s Time To Rethink How You Watch Television”

  1. The CW app is a bit glitchy but carries the most recent five episodes of all shows. What are you doing for internet? Because I hadn’t had cable since undergrad (roommate wanted it) and only recently got back on a cable because the price for both combined seemed better.

    • Sweet! So I can watch Supernatural on the CW app? That would be perfect! Bundling cable and internet in my area is still more expensive than just the internet; and I don’t really want to pay for that.

    • My cousin put me on her Hulu account so I don’t have to pay for it; which is great because that’s the only platform which has Buffy the Vampire Slayer!

  2. Try Sling 20-25 bucks a month and you all the shows you watch. It’s pick and choose channel packages. Walking dead supernatural etc. Even have a sports channel for your bears. We had it for over a year but cancelled for cut backs. We will be getting it again soon though.

  3. I cut the cord on Spectrum cable a couple of years ago, and am completely satisfied. I now use a streaming called Sportz for $10.00/month. At times it does buffer, but it normally comes back and I just think how much I am saving over cable. This service has over 7000 channels including NFL ticket. I can’t believe how cheap it is compared to cable. The only problem is Spectrum internet which contnues to increase in price.

    • HDMI the computer to the tv. Also, tons of smart TVs are coming with streaming apps now so you don’t even need to use the HDMI

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