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Considering canceling cable? The true cost of cutting the cord

Are you sick of paying for cable? You're not alone. In the United States, the price of pay TV continues to rise, much faster than inflation.

More and more people have had enough, choosing to stop paying for cable, instead using the Internet for their entertainment needs.

Which brings us to a question:If you add everything together, do you really save money by cutting the cord?

The answer? Depends. Most string trimmers combine several different sources of entertainment, including:

  • Streaming video services like Netflix and HBO now.
  • An old-school TV antenna to pick up local stations (ABC, CBS, Fox, NBS, PBS), free of charge.
  • New emerging IPTV services like SlingTV to watch cable channels online.
  • Free sites like YouTube and Hulu.
  • Piracy (which we will not go into here).

Whether or not you'll save money depends on how you mix the above pieces. Some are one-time costs, while others are monthly. Cord cutting requires you to change your habits, it is not for everyone. But there are some clear benefits.

With that in mind, let's see if cutting the cord can save you money. We will be looking specifically at the US market; prices and offers will naturally vary in other countries, but the basic ideas will be similar around the world.

How much does the cable cost anyway??

People who have cable know what they're paying for, of course. But if you're considering a cable, you might want to know the cost by comparison.

However, it's difficult to establish a baseline for cable costs, as prices vary by region, and most companies do their best to keep actual costs off their websites. The “Special Offers” from the last 12 months are prominently displayed and the bundles confuse things even more:how much are you paying for cable and how much for internet and a phone line?

Considering canceling cable? The true cost of cutting the cord

That said, here's what the FCC says average cable costs were in 2013:

  • Basic (about 50 channels):$20
  • Basic Expanded (about 160 channels):$65
  • Next most popular (about 245 channels):$77

Obviously, whether you'd save money by canceling cable depends on which of these three categories you fall into as a cable user, but we'll use these numbers as a general guide.

The easy part:watching shows and movies

A generation of people are learning the many pleasures of binge watching. A brief guide to binge-watching [Weird &Wonderful Web]. A brief guide to binge-watching [Weird &Wonderful Web]. Netflix and Amazon Prime Instant Video have become a mainstay in the mainstream. Before you start binge-watching TV, you need to arm yourself with some important information. This short guide helps. Read More>

Considering canceling cable? The true cost of cutting the cord

If you engage in regular binge-watching sessions, cord cutting is perfect for you:Many services offer access to a wide variety of classic and recent TV shows. They also give you access to all kinds of movies, all of which you can watch whenever you want. In the United States there are four main options:

  • Hulu Plus:$8 / Month
  • Netflix:$9/month
  • Amazon Instant Video:$8.25/month (includes free delivery on everything you order on Amazon)
  • HBO Now:$15/month

Any one of these services will provide you with thousands of hours of potential entertainment, meaning you can pick one and be done with it. When you run out of things to watch on one service, you can switch to another. If you do this, the cost of having many movies and shows to watch will be between $8 and $15 per month.

Considering canceling cable? The true cost of cutting the cord

My recommendation:use a site like iCanStreamIt to find out which shows and movies are offered on which services 5 ways to search Netflix, Hulu, Amazon and more at once 5 ways to search Netflix, Hulu, Amazon and more at once Yes If you're still having a hard time deciding which of the online movie streaming services is right for you, one of the most important factors to consider when it comes to making this decision is... Read More Find a service with a couple of shows you'd like to binge-watch, then subscribe to that service until you've seen them all. When you're done, cancel that subscription and move on to another service, with different shows you want to watch.

You could also, in theory, get all four of these services for $40.25 a month, which would already cost you more than basic cable but less than most expanded packages. You'd get access to a staggering number of shows, for much less than cable, and in many cases you'd get new episodes the day after they aired.

For many people, this is perfect. However, there is a problem.

A little more complicated:Live TV

Many cord cutters feel like the idea of ​​live television. “channels” outdated TV channels are dead:why sling isn't the future of sports TV channels are dead:why sling isn't the future of sports TV kids don't watch channels; they watch shows Worse yet, television channels have been an obstacle to comprehensive coverage of live sporting events. The slingshot doesn't solve that. Read more . There's no reason to watch shows at a set time with ads, when services like Netflix and Hulu let you watch things at your own pace without schedules.

That said, some people like to turn on a particular channel and just watch it. It used to be that this was not possible for cable cutters, but in 2015 there are a number of options available now or soon.

Considering canceling cable? The true cost of cutting the cord

  • SlingTV, $20/month for 21 channels, including ESPN and Disney; $5 expansion packs offer 6 channels each.
  • PlayStation Vue, $50/month, offers 50 channels. Requires a PlayStation 3 or PlayStation 4.
  • Apple's next service, reportedly $30/month with access to 25 channels. It will almost certainly require an Apple TV and/or iOS devices.

Some of these services compare in cost or exceed the cost of basic cable. However, they all cost less than expanded basic cable, and you could even afford to bundle any of these services with one of the streaming services described above, for less than expanded basic cable and much less than premium packages. .

Netflix and SlingTV combined, for example, would cost $28 per month. You'd have access to more TV than you could watch, with more flexibility than even high-priced cable packages.

That said, there would still be a big hole for some.

The basically impossible part:Sports

If you are a sports fan and want to stay within the law, cutting the cord may not be for you. At least not right now.

Sure, SlingTV, described above, gives you access to ESPN, which means you'll have a way to watch plenty of nationally broadcast games. But any service that doesn't air nationally isn't offered on any current streaming service. However, there is a solution:most major sports leagues offer you a way to watch their sports online.

  • MLB.TV:$130/season (split by a six-month season, that's $21/month).
  • NHL GameCenter:$150/season (split by a nine-month season, that's $16/month).
  • NBA League Pass:$125 per season (split by a nine-month season, which is $14 per month)

Considering canceling cable? The true cost of cutting the cord

Here's a big warning:Games involving your local team and those broadcast nationally will be blacked out. If you follow an out-of-market team, this might work for you, but the main games, including full playoffs, will in most cases be blocked from you (there are workarounds for geo-blocking. We ask you] How do you bypass geo-blocking tactics? [We ask you] Many of us know how to deal with geo-blocking tactics, employing our own countermeasures... Read More For this reason, the streaming options provided by the league are best paired with something like SlingTV (which gives you access to ESPN).

However, what no current online service gives you access to is the regional sports networks where most of the local games are broadcast. That's not likely to change, at least not anytime soon.

Still, combining one of these services with SlingTV can give you access to a lot of sports for around $40 a month, but not necessarily all the exact games you want to watch. Combine this with Netflix and you get $49 a month, much more than basic cable, but surprisingly still cheaper than expanded basic.

Reminder:broadcast television is still free!

You may have noticed that the major streaming networks (ABC, CBS, NBC, PBS, and Fox) haven't been mentioned yet. And there's a reason for that:you don't need to pay for these stations. Absolutely. All of them are streamed to you for free, and you just need an antenna to pick them up.

It bears repeating, because many people seem to have forgotten:The major networks are available to you for free. . Get a high-quality antenna like Mohu Leaf Enjoy free HD TV shows with Mohu Leaf [Giveaway] Enjoy free HD TV shows with Mohu Leaf [Giveaway] Mohu Leaf is a document - the slim TV antenna that can hang on the wall to get HD quality television, free of charge. We're giving away a Mohu Leaf Plus and two regular Mohu Leaf antennas valued at... Read More The high-definition digital signal means that in most cases the picture will look even better than when using cable.

Considering canceling cable? The true cost of cutting the cord

The FCC Reception Map can provide you with a list of TV channels you can get locally, right now, without paying a cable company. Combine this with a PRV (you could even create your own 5 Great Linux Media Center Distros To Transform Your TV 5 Great Linux Media Center Distros To Transform Your TV Read More) and you have plenty of TVs to watch without continuing costs.

There's a lot of great free content online

Of course, the above services aren't your only options - there's plenty of content online that won't cost you a thing. YouTube, for example, offers hilarious web series, original animations, 10 YouTube channels for original animations, 10 YouTube channels for original animations. millions of people. In the same way that reality TV... Read More Start finding the channels you like, subscribe to them and you will not run out of things to watch. There is even some poignant political analysis to be found.

Then there are lesser-known places with free entertainment, like the Shout Factory, where you can catch classic shows like Mysterious Science Theatre , free. This isn't even mentioning all the great podcasts you can get for free. 5 Podcasts you should seriously check out. 5 Podcasts you should seriously check out. Do you listen to podcasts? You should. Not only are they a great way to keep up with the news, but they can also be incredibly entertaining and enlightening. Even better, it is the best means of multitasking... Read More .

There is no shortage of free entertainment online if you know where to look. Finding it is one of the many pleasures of being a string cutter.

In short:perfect, unless you love a local sports team

So what's the verdict? Most people can save money, and there are some clear benefits beyond money to cutting wires:

  • In general, you can avoid viewing advertisements altogether while watching TV shows.
  • There is no set time for when things are on, which means you can see things on your own time.
  • You have many choices about what you will or will not pay for.

That said, there are a couple of caveats to keep in mind:

  • If you closely follow a local sports team and want to watch their games live, chances are you're stuck on the wire.
  • If you want to watch live cable-only shows, or shortly after they air, you're probably stuck with cable (there are exceptions, depending on the shows you watch).

In most cases, you can probably put together a combination of services that will save you money and provide plenty of entertainment. It depends on how much you love the things that cable does better than other services. In many cases, the reason cable does things better (ie sports) is more about legal complications than technical ones, and one day there will be more options.

For now, however, cutting cords is, for many people, a very reasonable option. Do you think you are one of those people? Do the math yourself and let me know in the comments below. Let's talk about saving money while being entertained!