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Are Streaming Services Cheaper Than Cable?

by Ronald Elias

Streaming is here to stay, but is it really saving you anything?

As more and more companies roll out direct-to-consumer streaming services, many of our customers are wondering what savings there could be out there for them. Is it actually worth it to make like millions of other families and finally cut the cord and leave the world of cable behind?

Whether it’s Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, HBO Max, Disney+, or one of the other services out there, you’d be hard pressed to find somebody who doesn’t subscribe to at least one streaming service. And most people are probably juggling a few to try to keep on top of their favorite TV shows and movies. 

So, this week on the blog we are going to do something a little different. Let’s look, together, at some average prices of cable and streaming services, and see if those little fees are adding up to savings ... or are just another way to hide and divide costs. 

Basic Cable 

The first stop on the S.S Savings tour this week is for us to take a look at how much it actually costs to pay for cable. We dug up some research, and according to DecisionData’s 2020 article, the average price of a cable package in the United States is $217.42 per month. They also found that this bill is now the largest utility that American homes pay for, surpassing the average monthly cost of electricity, gas, water, and garbage. In fact, an average person pays more for cable than the most other household utilities combined. 

Of course, average cable bills are just that – averages. They might not come even close to the realities of cable in your area, or how prices fluctuate due to special offers or other promotions you may be receiving. But this is the best baseline we can use to look at average cable costs. 

How Much Is Netflix?

The one streaming service that started them all, Netflix just recently had a price hike, again raising its prices amidst ever-growing competition in the home streaming sphere. 

Netflix’s starting “Basic” plan is only $8.99 a month, but it also caps you at only watching on one screen at a time, and only watching in 480p quality ... which is really bad. To jump up to 1080p, you have to grab the “Standard” $13.99 plan. Fans of 4K and other more premium offerings like HDR will need to jump up to the “Premium” plan at $17.99 a month. While that may seem a bit hefty, it’s still a lot cheaper than your average cable price! But, that’s just for one service. Let’s take a look at some of the other popular services and see how they fair. 

How Much Is Hulu?

Hulu throws an interesting plan into the mix – do you want to have a streaming service but also keep live TV? Are you ok with a cheaper plan, if it is supported by ads? Hulu gives you these options!

The basic, ad-supported Hulu plan comes in at $5.99 a month, which comes in lower than Netflix’s lowest tier plan. If you want Hulu without ads, that will run you $11.99 a month. Adding in the live TV feature jumps you to $54.99 with ads, or $60.99 without ads. Hulu can also be bundled with Disney+, further giving you more to help you get the most content for the lowest price. 

Of course, even the best content isn’t going to look good on an old and outdated television. If you want your streaming content to look its best, give us a call! We’ll help you pick out a TV that’s perfect for your home entertainment center, and with all of your favorite streaming apps and solutions built right in. 

How Much is Amazon Prime Video?

Not to be left out of the loop, Amazon also has their own streaming service – yes, the one that you are continually reminded about when you are trying to do other things on your Amazon account. 

A regular Amazon Prime membership is $12.99, or $119 for the whole year. If you just want a Prime Video membership, that will run you $8.99 a month. 

How Much is Disney+?

The house of mouse has had a good inaugural year with Disney+, bringing both classics out of the Disney vault as well as hitting the ground running with its own original content. Regular Disney+ subscriptions will set you back $6.99, making it the cheapest of the big players in the space. 

But, if you really want to go with the triple play, Disney also offers a bundle that includes Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN+ for $12.99 a month. Not too shabby, Mickey, not too shabby at all. 

How Much is HBO Max?

The newest subscription service on the block, HBO Max is the video service from AT&T’s Warner Media. It isn’t just HBO content, though it does have your HBO classics like “Game of Thrones” and “The Sopranos.” HBO Max also has hit shows like “South Park,” “Doctor Who,” “The Big Bang Theory,” and “Rick and Morty.”

HBO Max is also going to be the home of day-and-date Warner Bros. Pictures Group movie releases, as well, starting with “Wonder Woman 1984” on December 25. An HBO Max subscription will run you $14.99 a month. 

So, Are Streaming Services Cheaper than Cable?

We’ve gone through the basic streaming service options, and streaming wins this one! If you are looking to pick any of the individual services, you will be saving a lot compared to the roughly $200 price of a cable bundle.

Things become even more clear when you add everything together. Even if you subscribed to EVERY service on this list – including the most expensive Netflix package and the triple play of Disney+, ESPN+, and Hulu – your monthly bill would still be only $55. So, yes! Streaming services are cheaper than cable.

Now that that is settled, it’s probably time to make sure that the rest of your home is ready for all that streaming. Whether you are in the market for a new TV, better routers and wireless access points, or any other electronics, we’re your best bet in town! Give us a call or stop in today and we’d be happy to help you out.