The last few years have witnessed a dramatic increase in the popularity of streaming services and the demand is expected to rise further. While internet-based streaming services and apps such as Netflix and Spectrum TV provide a great level of flexibility to the viewers, cable TV is still the preferred choice for those who have a liking for live sports and news channels.
Choosing between cable and streaming TV boils down to your needs, lifestyle, and preferences. To decide which one is better for you, let’s have a look at the pros and cons of both.
TV streaming services frequently advertise themselves as being much cheaper than cable. But is it really true? As of January 2021, the official website of YouTube stated it could save you $500 a year. This saving estimate is based on the average amount of bills that Cable TV charges you a month ($100 or more).
However, remember streaming TV services might prove to be expensive in the long run if you are a heavy user or have a large household with multiple simultaneous streamers. Also, if you need access to specific sports channels, your price may increase substantially. In short, streaming TV is cheaper if you’re not a heavy user and don’t have numerous streamers in your house.
Other than a couple of exceptions, no streaming providers lock their subscribers into annual contracts. Monthly service and billing continue to be the rule in streaming TV. Cable services on the other hand usually have a one to two-year contract and most often they tend to increase the charges after the first year of a two-year service contract. Although there are some cable TV providers who do offer no-contract options, they are quite expensive. Hence the contracts for streaming TV are relatively transparent and much more convenient for the subscribers.
There are very few streaming TV services that offer more than 100 channels whereas cable TV providers have multiple plans and packages featuring over 200 to 300 channels. Now, you may not need so many channels as watching all of them would be next to impossible. In that case, it’s better to go for streaming TV.
However, if you compare the two options in terms of the number of channels, cable TV is the clear winner. Also, cable TV has a greater variety of sports channels. Although streaming TV services are slowly catching up in this regard, they may not have ‘all’ the sports channels.
4. Video Quality
On-demand streaming services like Prime Video and Netflix have the ability to reach 1080p or even 4K video quality but most TV streaming services are limited to a video quality for 720p. And in case your Wi=Fi signals are not strong, it can get lower than that and result in buffering.
Cable TV consistently provides a 1080p and 4K video quality. The problems associated with video quality are very rare and only because of issues like bad weather conditions and cable to source distance.
Cutting the cord would be the best choice for you if you are not a heavy user, only share your Wi-Fi with one or two people, and are happy with the limited number of shows you get to watch on streaming TV. But if you don’t want any compromise on the number of channels and are an avid live sports viewer, then you should probably stick with cable TV.
Given the popularity of streaming services, cable providers are coming up with deals and bundles that offer free Netflix and on-demand content. Our suggestion would be to start off with an internet-only streaming service and see if it meets your requirements. If not, you can always switch to cable TV bundles.