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Is it Time to Cut Your Cable and Go Full Streaming?

Comparing the cost and benefits of streaming services to cable TV

Decisions, decisions. Cutting your cable in favour of streaming services is turning out to be more than a trend. Some estimates predict that by 2020, up to 45 million Americans will have ditched their cable in exchange for streaming services. That’s close to 20% of the population turning their backs on what has been a household staple for the past 50 years.

But there’s good reason. Streaming services have made it possible for viewers to enjoy many of their favourite shows and movies at a fraction of the cost. At least that’s the narrative, but is it the truth? And is there anything to be said for the quality and (lack of) convenience of these streaming services in comparison to traditional cable?

Let’s Start with Cost

Hulu introduced what it calls Hulu + Live TV. At $44.99/month, this package gives you “unlimited access to the entire Hulu streaming library,” in addition to “live sports, news, entertainment, and more.”  

Here’s a chart of all the channels available under this deal:

(Source: https://www.hulu.com/live-tv)

Looks like a deal that covers a broad spectrum of TV watching, including channels for movies, reality TV, local news and popular television series. Pair this with a Netflix premium subscription of $15.99/month and you’ll be paying about $60.98/month to watch pretty much anything.

Cost of Cable TV

While it would take up way too much space to chart all the channels made available through cable TV, there are some valuable insights we can present. The most important of those insights is that the average cable consumer pays approximately $100/month for those services. Compared to the $61/month it would cost for premium streaming services, you can see the savings are considerable.

Canada Works a Bit Different

We should point out that we only showed a singular option for streaming. There are a number of ways to pair services together to save money. The real question is whether or not you’re prepared to commit to a streaming only viewing structure which does limit your options. Particularly in Canada where the Hulu + Live TV package isn’t available and neither is a comparable alternative such as YouTube TV. In those cases, you’ll need to do a lot more maneuvering if you hope to enjoy the same quality of TV viewing as you would with cable.

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