In the past, cable was a required service for households that wished to watch television, as it was the only way to access shows and movies. But with rising prices, and the growing popularity of online streaming services, is a cable connection worth the asking price, or should consumers cut the cord and become reliant on the Internet in their homes?
Cost of CableTV
The cost of Cable television is rising as cable companies create bigger channel bundles. Additionally, customization of service is growing—resulting in the implementation of ideas such as pick-and-pay TV. These ideas allow customers to purchase a basic cable package with only a few essential channels. Beyond that, the cable companies will put additional channels up for sale on an individual basis.
A PIAC poll conducted in 2014 indicated that out of the 1,000 consumers polled, 90% were open to one dollar a month per additional channel, 54% were willing to pay three dollars, and 21% would go up to five dollars. If you chose an additional five channels and each were priced at five dollars apiece each month for access, that would be 25 dollars for only five television channels on top of your basic package.
CableTV packages that don’t take into account pick-and-pay television are still quite expensive. For example, a “Preferred TV” package with Time Warner costs from $49.99 to $79.99—only for the first 12 months of service, after which their rates will change and retail rates will apply.
Oftentimes, companies will offer CableTV and Internet bundles in order to entice customers on a few things, such as making the consumer believe that they are receiving a deal on their Internet and CableTV bills. The second is to have control over the customer. Usually if the customer does not have a bundle deal, their Internet and CableTV comes from different service providers. In other words, the service providers are losing out on some potential profits.
However, bundles are not perfect. The lowest price from Xfinity with its Digital Starter & Preferred Internet package is $79.99 for 12 months. The most expensive is $109.99 for the first 12 months. A similar service with Time Warner would cost $89.99 per month for the first 12 months—otherwise, you would face a very basic cable offering and Internet plan for $49.99 per month (again, for the first 12 months).
Cost of Internet
If a consumer still wishes to watch television but decides to cut the cord on their CableTV service, they still have to have an Internet connection so that they can stream their television shows online. Service providers offer Internet plans on a sliding scale based on the data allowances and speed of connection. Time Warner and Shaw—two popular Internet service providers—offer Internet packages ranging from $14.99 to $64.99 per month on contractual agreements or introductory offers (after which you will pay prices such as $93 per month).
A few of these introductory prices match CableTV packages. However, a consumer would still have to add in an Internet connection to have both. Additionally, the bundles that offer both as a deal are either much more expensive if they offer equal service on both Internet and CableTV, or they only offer limited service on one of the components. For example, they could offer a limited number of cable channels. Either way, you will have to make some kind of trade-off.
Video Streaming Services
After cutting the cord, there is one more thing that consumers need if they are going to watch television through their Internet connection: a streaming service. Popular choices for a streaming service include Netflix, Amazon Prime Instant Video, and Hulu Plus. These services provide the user with access to their library of television shows as well as movies. Netflix even has exclusive shows like Daredevil and Orange is the New Black. While for some streaming services you have to wait until the end of the television show season for the service to add the content to its library, Hulu Plus normally has currently airing television shows up a day or two after they air on regular network television.
There is, of course, a cost for streaming services. Netflix is $9 a month for new customers and $12 for its “platinum” service that unlocks their library of around 4,000 titles and allows users to stream their show on up to four devices simultaneously.
Amazon Prime Instant Video is not available on its own, but as part of the Amazon Prime bundle for $99 a year or $8.25 per month. The Amazon Prime bundle, in addition to the streaming service, also includes free two-day shipping on all orders regardless of final price.
For the occasional television viewer, Hulu Plus has a plethora of free content that is likely to satisfy. But if a consumer wishes to access Hulu Plus’ full library, described as unmatched in terms of the television shows that it offers, the cost is $7.99 per month.
Regardless of the streaming service, the prices are cheaper than adding CableTV to your Internet service. However, if you currently watch television through your CableTV service, there is one thing that you need to consider before cutting the cord. Streaming television shows and movies through the Internet will add to your current data usage.
Depending on the amount of television and movies that you watch, you may require a higher data capacity on your Internet connection, which means upgrading your Internet plan and of course, paying a higher price. While it may be cheaper than continuing with both a CableTV and Internet connection, the price for Internet service can still be expensive and actually overpriced.
This is where Billshark can help. Negotiation is always a viable option, so why not call our team of expert negotiators and get a lower price on your Internet bill? We know the tricks that your service provider will use to avoid lowering its price, and we know exactly how to get a lower price for you with minimal time and effort on your part. The best part is that we split the first year of savings with you. If we do not save, you do not pay.