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Everything old is new again! Disney CEO Bob Iger butted heads with him The latest comments about the company softening its stance on broadcasting, leaving more space for its programming on both traditional television channels such as ABC and ABC Hulu And Disney Plus In addition to licensing films for longer periods of time in theatrical performances. with a future broadcast services In a state of flux, it is worth wondering if conventional cable You might offer something of value. In the showdown between cable and broadcast, is broadcast still the clear winner?
So, is cutting the cord really the answer? Can You Save Money With Old School TV? Is there a happy medium? Below, we break down what’s at stake, where to find the savings, and how to navigate your options to find the one that works for you.
Which is cheaper?
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It’s hard to compare cable and broadcast only on the price level. You could easily say, “Well, Tubi and Pluto TV are free, and cable can cost over $100,” or “If you subscribe to all the good streaming channels, I’m looking at a $200 monthly bill.” Basic cable can cost as much as Almost $20.”
It’s very easy to compare apples to oranges and create whatever combo works for you. But let’s dive in and see how cable and streaming prices compare more broadly.
Looking at a few of the larger cable providers in the US, you’ll find that basic cable packages start at around $60 per month when you check out the websites. This can be misleading, as these are usually cable bundles with 70 or more channels. You can often get smaller packages by calling and speaking to a representative. These unadvertised basic cable packages can easily run you close to $20 a month.
Let’s be more specific with some examples of what you can get. Now, availability and price will vary depending on where you live, so you’ll need to double check if these numbers apply to you, but they do give a general idea.
At AT&T, you can get the Entertainment package, with over 75 channels, for $74.99 per month. The packages get you over 150 channels for $154.99 per month with the Premier package, which includes premium channels like HBO, Showtime, and Starz.
You can take advantage of the savings through your internet provider as well. With Optimum, for example, you can get started with Basic TV for just $30 a month. Thus, you get more than 50 channels. You can access Premier TV, with over 420 channels including premium brands, for $115 a month.
On the streaming side, you have a lot of customization. You can integrate services into almost any configuration, so we’re obviously not going to list them all here. Prices range from $4.99 to over $20 per month per service.
One popular option is to use a file Disney package. Disney is one of the largest streaming entertainment companies. Or streaming services, rather. With control over Disney Plus, Hulu, and ESPN Plus, the company allows you to bundle your subscriptions to save money. For $9.99 per month, you can get Disney Plus and Hulu with ads, or add ESPN for a total of $12.99 per month. Going ad-free for all three is just $19.99.
Ad supported services Save money in general. You can get Netflix for just $6.99 a month, for example.
For the sake of this exercise, let’s take a look at some of the mid-tier standard subscriptions you’re likely to want and the types of costs you’re looking for for some popular DIY packages. Below are some configurations with their price tags.
- Netflix Basic ($9.99) + Hulu with Ads ($7.99) – $17.98 per month
- AMC Plus ($8.99) + Paramount Plus Premium ($9.99) + Ad-Free Discovery Plus ($6.99) – $25.97 per month
- Netflix Basic ($9.99) + Hulu with ads ($7.99) + HBO Max with ads ($9.99) – $27.97 per month
- Ad-Free Disney Plus ($10.99) + Peacock Premium Plus ($9.99) + Apple TV Plus ($6.99) – $27.97 per month
- Hulu with Ads ($7.99) + Criterion Channel ($10.99) + Shudder ($5.99) + Apple TV Plus ($6.99) – $31.96 per month
- Netflix Standard ($15.49) + Disney “Trio Basic” Bundle ($12.99) + HBO Max with Ads ($9.99) – $38.47 per month
- Netflix Standard ($15.49) + Disney “Trio Premium” bundle ($19.99) + Apple TV Plus ($6.99) – $42.47 per month
- Netflix Premium ($19.99) + Disney “Trio Premium” Bundle ($19.99) + Ad-Free HBO Max ($15.99) + Apple TV Plus ($6.99) + Peacock Premium Plus ($9.99) + Paramount Plus Premium ($9.99) – $82.94 per month
These are just a few examples of how you can integrate your favorite streaming services, all while complementing them Free services Like Pluto TV, Freevee, Tubi, The Roku Channel, and more.
If you want all the big guys, you can see how you’ll easily get close to $100 a month in no time, especially if you want ad-free versions of the services. Start adding niche streamers to the mix such as goosebumps and the Standard channeland you’ll cross the $100 mark.
One of the huge advantages of the current broadcast landscape is that it allows you to bridge the gap between cable and streaming. Viewers are used to choosing between live broadcasts and libraries on demand. This is no longer the case thanks to live TV.
You can effectively re-establish cable over the Internet at your home with a number of services. These give you access to a selection of channels. Unlike Pluto TV, which creates “channels” of content from its library, these services bring you existing cable channels. You can Watch local TV stationsand major networks like NBC, CBS, live sports, and more.
These services vary in price however. Generally speaking, they are more expensive than traditional streaming devices, but some are remarkably cheap. FrndlyTV brings you 37 channels for just $6.99 per month. Some of the best options are DirecTV Stream, Fubo TV, Hulu Plus Live TV, SlingTV, and YouTube TV.
Hulu’s live TV option is pricier, starting at $69.99, but includes the Disney bundle. On top of the 75 channels, you get Hulu, Disney Plus, and ESPN Plus.
Cable vs. Broadcast: Programming Options
Cable and satellite continue to dominate at the sheer quantity level. Even compared to live TV services that take advantage of the 80-channel mark, cable TV can offer more than 200 channels if you’re willing to pay for it.
With home recording technology, you also have the option to watch all of this content on demand, though that takes some foresight and effort.
Compared to more traditional streaming software like Netflix and Hulu, the comparison gets a lot more complicated. There’s more stuff on cable. More channels, more shows, more movies, for sure. But this can also be bad. If you pay big bucks for a cable package with hundreds of channels, you definitely won’t watch them all. Some may display content that you are not interested in at all.
This is one of the most important advantages of streaming, as you can focus on what you want. If all you’re looking for are classic and important movies, then cable isn’t for you, but Criterion Channel or mobi may be. Or if you’re a fan of horror, you can head straight to Shudder.
If you love surfing channels with endless options, on the other hand, streaming hardware can be a bit limiting.
At the end of the day, you’ll need to make some tough choices unless you plan to sign up for everything. Each streaming service has its own Original movies And tv show available elsewhere. If you like to watch Stranger Things, you’re stuck with Netflix. If it’s the Star Wars show you need, Disney Plus is a must-have. The same goes for cable. Not everything you find on live TV makes it to the broadcast space.
Cable vs. Broadcast: The Final Verdict
The truth is that there is no definitive winner in the cable versus broadcast showdown because they are so much different than one might imagine. Both are infinitely variable. What is clear, however, is that the long-held belief that streaming is the obvious successor to television, and that it will directly replace cable, is a misconception.
The cable still has legs. It remains to be seen if everything moves online eventually, but the limitations of the on-demand streaming model are starting to show.
For those with more targeted tastes or a limited budget, streaming is a great option. You can try new services from month to month without being bound by any contracts, and just choose your favorite options.
We’re very curious to see how the future of television will change. Right now, there are some great options across the board.