In 2019, 40.2 million US households were without a paid cable TV service, and this number has continued to rise since. Cutting the cord is becoming a popular route to save money on monthly bills and entertainment services.
Cutting the cord does not require you to take a pair of scissors to your electronics; it’s a figurative term.
“Cutting the cord” refers to the decision people make when they cancel their cable TV service and turn to streaming or other services instead. As cable costs continue to rise, more subscribers are looking for reasons to cut the cord and never look back.
Evaluating Your Cable Subscription
So you’re interested in cutting the cord, but you’re not sure if it’s the right move for you. Use the following questions as a jumping-off point to determine if you should keep or get rid of your cable TV service.
How Much Am I Paying For Cable?
Cost is the most significant determinant that leads people to cancel their cable subscriptions. It seems that even when you take advantage of bundles that combine cable, internet, and phone lines, you’re still giving a considerable chunk of your paycheck to your provider.
As of March 2020, the average household cable package came out to $217 per month. Verizon Fios offers their ultimate bundle with the largest choice of TV channels for $169.99. Maybe you pay more, or perhaps you pay less, but the question is if you’re unhappy with the bill. Households with higher income may not mind paying a cable bill that comes out to a couple of hundred dollars, while other families would benefit greatly from eliminating that bill and putting money in savings or towards other expenses.
If you’re unhappy with your cable bill and dread having to pay it each month just to access your favorite shows, then you may want to cut the cord.
What Do I Use My Cable For?
What do you primarily use your cable for? Is it to watch the morning news? Is it to see new episodes of a show the same day they come out? Or is it to watch sports?
Many streaming and online TV services have become rivals for cable companies because they are beginning to offer features that were once only available on cable, such as live sports games. If you’re only using your cable to watch your favorite shows, chances are they’re available elsewhere.
How Often Do I Use My Cable?
Are you using your cable to its fullest? If you’re only on the couch watching television for an average of three hours out of the month, think about the amount of money you’re paying per hour. It isn’t worth it.
Reasons to Cut the Cord
Still need convincing to get rid of your cable TV service? Here are four reasons that you should go ahead and cut the cord.
Like we mentioned before, your cable bill might be causing a strain on your household’s finances. Streaming options are significantly cheaper than a cable subscription.
If you wanted to cut the cord a few years ago, you would only have a few choices. Netflix, Hulu, or maybe a few movies you could rent on YouTube. Nowadays, the online streaming industry has exploded.
Consider the following options and compare what they offer to what your cable service is providing.
Netflix offers three subscription options:
- Basic: $8.99 per month, allows you to watch on one device at a time, no HD quality available
- Standard: $8.99 per month, allows you to watch and download content on two devices at one time, HD quality available
- Premium: $15.99 per month, allows you to watch and download on four devices at one time, both HD and Ultra HD (4K) quality available
With each account, you can create up to five separate profiles for each user of the account, so show progress is not shared if everyone is at a different part in a series. You can also create a kids’ profile that only has access to child-appropriate content.
In recent years, Netflix has cut down their library size. Currently, they have around 13,000 titles to choose from. The decrease in size is attributed to their newfound focus on original content; Netflix has begun to produce a plethora of original shows and movies, including titles you’ve probably heard of like Stranger Things and Grace and Frankie.
Hulu offers four subscription options:
- Hulu with Ads: $5.99 per month
- Hulu with no Ads: $11.99 per month
- Hulu with Ads & Live TV: $54.99 per month
- Hulu with no Ads & Live TV: $60.99 per month
As you can see, even Hulu’s plans with live television cost less than a typical cable subscription. Hulu’s live TV gives you access to 60+ live and on-demand TV channels, including sports, news, and more, depending on your location. You can record live TV with up to 50 hours of DVR storage.
Hulu’s downside is that you can only watch on two screens at a time, no matter what plan you have.
Disney+ has only been around for less than a year, but it has quickly risen to the top of the list for streaming platforms. Disney+ only offers one subscription plan, but they have plenty of popular streaming bundles to choose from:
- Disney+: $6.99 per month or $69.99 annually (approximately $14 in savings)
- Disney+, Hulu (With Ads), and ESPN+: $12.99 per month
- Disney+, Hulu (No Ads), and ESPN+: $18.99 per month
The Disney+ bundle deals are a popular choice for families with a variety of entertainment interests. Disney+ has popular titles such as Star Wars, Pixar, and Disney movies.
The streaming world is not limited to just Netflix, Hulu, and Disney+. Other popular platforms include HBO Max, Amazon Video (which is free if you’re already a Prime member!), and Showtime. Other popular companies like CBS will release new episodes of shows the same day they’re aired on cable so you can keep up with your favorite stories.
You Can Still Watch Live TV
A common misconception is that streaming services only have offline shows and movies, and you can’t access any live news or sporting events. Many services like Hulu have plans that offer live television, and even their most basic plan allows you to watch ABC news 24-hours a day.
There are also services such as Sling TV that allow you to pick-and-choose which channels you want and adjust your subscription price accordingly. ESPN+ has live sporting events for the avid fan in your family.
The Internet is Improving
One of the biggest concerns when people were cutting off their cable subscriptions, was how their internet could handle the new influx of streaming.
Multi-family households know the stress of trying to watch a TV show while, in another room, someone is playing an online video game, and maybe someone else is video chatting with friends. There’s bound to be some stress on your internet, causing lower speeds and buffering.
The good news is that over the years, internet speeds and equipment have been improving. Recently, 5G internet was released, which has extremely fast speeds with low latency (goodbye lagging). This means 5G home internet will handle more traffic at a higher rate, without any significant dips in performance. Imagine downloading a 600MB video in under 40 seconds.
You may have to pay a bit more to upgrade your internet plan if you decide to cut the cord, but the new internet plan and streaming subscriptions will still cost less than an expensive cable payment.
Making the Final Cut
Cutting the cord gives you access to many options that you can choose from depending on your preferences, whether you’re interested in Netflix original content, Hulu bundle options, or want to rewatch all of Star Wars on Disney+.
Streaming has expanded beyond pre-recorded television shows and is continually pulling subscribers away from their long-term cable TV service. Will you be one of them?