Streaming vs. Cable: Why cutting the cord ends up costing you more


Hannah Luck, Staff

In the last decade, streaming (a relatively modern concept to entertainment), has managed to nearly obliterate cable networks in terms of efficiency and convenience by providing low fees ranging from $5.99-$54.99 per month. This has resulted in users across the world cutting their cords, saying goodbye to their former entertainment providers and entering a new world of almost unlimited TV shows with next to no advertisements; but while streaming has proven itself a solution to often irritating ads, it ends up costing users more money in the long run, especially when subscribed to multiple streaming services.

When looking at the average monthly cost of cable, services like Xfinity or Dish provide a base price on averaging around $60 per month. Although somewhat expensive, the majority of the time comes with some kind of internet service added alongside the TV service. Users of streaming services lose that luxury of included internet when they ditch their boxes and end up paying for their services as well as Internet service. This generates an unneeded out of pocket cost, depriving users of an efficient entertainment experience.

“Cable at times produces more options. You can watch what you want while still paying a cheaper price, with a variety of shows and programs,” sophomore Jenna Saaskilati said.

Another aspect of streaming comes with the multiple networks users subscribe to each month. With commercial services like Hulu and Netflix dominating the world of entertainment, their prominence and prestige persuade consumers to pay for more than one service per month, resulting in a higher monthly cost. According to the La Times, “the average consumer subscribes to three streaming services and that binge-watching  continues to be a popular activity, with 91% of U.S. millennials saying they have watched three or more episodes of a show in a single sitting.” 

All things considered, the grand total of all base price streaming services combined comes to an average of around $353.43 per month not including the Internet, a travesty when saving money. Along with it comes the loss of valuable basic channels automatically included with cable,  like ABC, CBS, and NBC that provide basic news and programming. To gain these channels with streaming requires a subscription to streaming services like CBS All Access or the upcoming NBC Peacock TV service.

“From my own experience cable has a variety of shows that companies like Netflix or Hulu don’t necessarily have. In the end, it costs you more than cable. Why would you quit cable, if you get more with it anyway,” freshmen Victoria Sorrell said. 

Overall, streaming provides a range of content with lower monthly fees, but it comes at the cost of the wide appeal that cable networks provide. Cable provides hundreds of basic and premium channels, on-demand shows and movies and internet with certain providers. When added up, streaming costs extra without the Internet included in the price. As streaming continues to gain popularity and dominance over cable TV, the once-loved simplicity and efficiency of cable TV will cease to exist in the modern world. The only way to salvage the damage will depend upon finding a compromise to the already tainted entertainment industry.