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Choosing between streaming and cable TV: which option is more suitable for you?

Choosing between streaming and cable TV: which option is more suitable for you?

Streaming services like Netflix and Hulu offer convenience and affordability for viewers, allowing them to choose only the services they want to pay for. Cable TV packages can cost upwards of $100 per month, while streaming plans start as low as $5.99 per month. 

Streaming services also offer a vast selection of on-demand content, including original programming that is not available on cable, and more flexibility in terms of when and where to watch content. However, it's important to compare the pros and cons of each option before making a decision, taking into consideration factors such as availability of local channels, live sports, and internet speed requirements.

Explanation of Cord Cutting

Cord-cutting has become a popular trend in recent years, as consumers have opted for streaming services over traditional cable subscriptions. The process of cord cutting involves canceling your cable subscription and relying on streaming platforms to watch your favorite shows and movies. To make this transition, you will need a reliable internet connection with high bandwidth, a modem and Wi-Fi router that can handle multiple devices simultaneously, and a streaming device such as Roku or Amazon Fire TV. You will also need to sign up for various streaming subscriptions such as Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime Video. 

Interestingly, some ISPs offer soft data caps that can limit your streaming experience, while others like Spectrum offer plans with no data caps. Furthermore, smart TVs may have built-in apps for streaming services, but not all offer the same apps, so it's important to check which ones are available before making a purchase. The following are tools that can be used for scrolling or streaming.

Reliable Internet Connection: When cord cutting, you will be relying on a reliable internet connection to stream your favorite shows and movies. It's important to choose an internet plan that offers high speeds and sufficient bandwidth. Some internet service providers may impose data caps, which can limit your streaming experience, so it's best to choose an internet plan with either a high or unlimited data cap per month. 

Modem and Wi-Fi Router: A modem and Wi-Fi router are essential for cord cutting since you'll be relying on your internet service to watch shows and movies. It's important to choose a modem and router that can handle the bandwidth and allow you to stream on multiple devices simultaneously. If your router isn't up to par, you may experience buffering and lag time when streaming, and you might need to troubleshoot your Wi-Fi. 

Streaming Devices: The most popular streaming devices are Roku, Amazon Fire TV, and Apple TV. These devices allow you to watch content from various streaming services on your TV. If you already have a smart TV, you might not even need a streaming device, as some smart TVs have apps built-in. However, not all smart TVs offer the streaming apps that you need, so it's important to double-check which apps are available before purchasing one. 

Streaming Subscriptions: To watch your favorite shows and movies, you'll need to sign up for various streaming subscriptions. The most popular streaming services are Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, and Disney Plus. However, there are several other streaming services that you might want to consider, such as HBO Max and CBS All Access. When choosing which streaming services to subscribe to, it's important to consider the price, the shows and movies they offer, and whether or not they have premium access for subscribers who pay extra. 

Streaming devices are constantly evolving and new ones are entering the market. For instance, Google Chromecast and Nvidia Shield are becoming more popular among cord cutters. Google Chromecast allows you to cast content from your phone or computer to your TV, while Nvidia Shield is a high-performance streaming device that allows you to play video games in addition to streaming TV shows and movies. 

Another consideration for cord cutters is live TV streaming services, such as Sling TV, Hulu + Live TV, and YouTube TV. These services offer live streaming of traditional cable TV channels, including sports and news channels, without the need for a cable subscription. This can be a great option for those who still want access to live events, such as sports games or breaking news coverage.

It's important to note that while cord cutting can save you money in the long run, it does require an initial investment in equipment and subscriptions. However, with the increasing popularity of streaming services, more and more options are becoming available, and prices are becoming more competitive. Plus, with the ability to choose which services to subscribe to, you can tailor your viewing experience to your preferences and budget. 

What distinguishes streaming from cable?

The rise of streaming services has made it easier than ever for people to cut the cord on traditional cable TV. But what exactly is the difference between streaming and cable TV, and which one is right for you? In this article, we’ll explore the key differences between these two options. 




$20 to $70

$45 to 135

Subsequent cost




Upon request

Pre-determined content


50 - 100

150 - 400



One to two-year

Device support

Largely compatible

Specific compatibility

Price. One of the most significant differences between streaming and cable TV is the price. Cable TV can be quite expensive, and the cost often goes up after the promotional period ends. In contrast, most streaming services offer a month-to-month subscription with no contract required. This makes it easy to cancel your service if you decide it’s not for you. 

Additionally, cable TV providers often charge equipment rental fees, such as a monthly DVR fee. On the other hand, streaming services usually include everything in the price of the subscription. 

Content. When it comes to content, both streaming and cable TV offer a variety of TV shows and movies. However, the main difference is that streaming services allow you to watch content on demand, while cable TV requires you to watch shows as they air. With that said, most cable providers do offer on-demand content. And with the advent of DVRs, you can record shows and watch them at your convenience. One thing to keep in mind is that some streaming services may have exclusive content that you can't find on cable TV. 

Channels. Another significant difference between streaming and cable TV is the number of channels offered. Cable TV typically provides a larger selection of channels than streaming services. However, the number of channels you actually watch is probably much smaller. It’s also difficult to get all the channels you want under one bundle. Cable TV providers often group your favorite channels in different bundles so that you can subscribe to more, which can get expensive quickly. On the other hand, most streaming services let you choose your channels. This gives you more control over your monthly bill, and you only pay for the channels you watch. 

Contracts. Cable TV providers often require you to sign a contract with a commitment of one to two years. This means that you're stuck with the service for the length of the contract, even if you're not happy with it. Streaming services, on the other hand, don't require contracts, so you’re free to cancel your service at any time with no strings attached. This gives you more flexibility and control over your viewing options. 

Device Compatibility. When it comes to device compatibility, streaming devices beat out cable TV every time. Streaming devices are compatible with a wide range of TVs, including older models. Cable TV is only compatible with newer TVs that have an HDMI port. If your TV doesn’t have this port, you’ll need to buy a cable box, streaming stick, or an HDMI converter. Additionally, most streaming services offer apps that can be downloaded on mobile devices, laptops, and gaming consoles. This means that you can watch your favorite shows and movies on a variety of devices, even if you don't have a TV. 

Recommendations for selecting streaming services

Choosing the right streaming service can be overwhelming with the number of options available. In addition to the popular services mentioned in the text, there are many other streaming services that cater to specific interests, such as sports, anime, and independent films. 

For sports fans, services like ESPN+ and DAZN offer live streaming of sports events, including NFL, NBA, and MLB games. Anime fans can choose from Crunchyroll, Funimation, and VRV, which offer a large selection of anime and Japanese dramas. 

For those interested in independent films and documentaries, services like Mubi and Criterion Channel provide a curated selection of classic and contemporary films from around the world. Additionally, Shudder is a streaming platform that specializes in horror movies and shows. 

When deciding which streaming services to choose, it's important to consider factors beyond just price and content. For example, some services may offer features like offline downloads or the ability to stream on multiple devices simultaneously. 

It's also worth noting that some streaming services offer free trials, which can be a great way to test out the service and see if it's a good fit for you. And as mentioned in the original text, students may be eligible for discounts on certain services, so it's worth checking if your school offers any deals. 

Streaming Service



Price per month

YouTube TV





Television programs, films, and nonfiction films


$9.99 - $19.99


Television programs, films, and nonfiction films

75+ for Hulu+ Live TV

$6.99 - $75.99

Amazon Prime Video

Nonfiction films and motion pictures




Athletics, journalism, films, programs

Varies based on geographic location and selected subscription package

$33 - $79.99


Athletics, journalism, sitcoms, films


$35 - $50

What are the ways to watch live TV?

Consider the following factors when opting for live TV streaming instead of cable:

  • Video quality: Streaming services typically provide high-definition (HD) video quality, whereas cable TV is often limited to standard definition.
  • Advertising: Streaming services generally feature fewer advertisements compared to cable TV.
  • Show duration: With fewer ads, you can enjoy a more uninterrupted viewing experience.
  • DVR functionality: If you wish to record live TV, a DVR is necessary. Many streaming services include DVR capabilities in their subscription packages, while cable TV providers often charge an additional monthly fee.

To access live TV content, you can subscribe to popular streaming services like Sling TV or YouTube TV. These platforms offer a wide range of channels that you can watch in real-time. Additionally, utilizing an Over-the-Air Digital TV Antenna (DTVA) allows you to receive local channels such as ABC, CBS, NBC, and FOX. Live TV streaming presents an excellent alternative if you desire to watch live sports events or stay updated with local news without committing to a traditional cable TV plan.

Is it beneficial to cancel cable TV and switch to streaming services?

Cord cutting has been a popular trend in recent years, as more people look for alternatives to traditional cable TV. However, it is important to consider whether it is worth it for your individual needs and preferences. One factor to consider is the cost savings. Cutting the cord can save you a significant amount of money, especially if you are paying for premium cable channels that you don't watch. 

Another benefit of cord cutting is the flexibility it offers. With streaming services, you have more control over what you watch and when you watch it. You can also easily switch between different services depending on what content you want to access. Additionally, many streaming services offer personalized recommendations based on your viewing history, which can help you discover new shows and movies. 

On the other hand, there are some downsides to cord cutting. For example, if you are used to the convenience of flipping through channels and watching live TV, you may find it difficult to adjust to streaming services that require you to select content in advance. Additionally, not all shows and movies are available on every streaming service, so you may need to subscribe to multiple services to access all the content you want. 

Commonly Asked Questions About Cord Cutting

What is the cost of cord cutting?

Cutting the cord can actually save you money in the long run. The cost of cord cutting varies depending on the services you choose and the equipment you already own. Most streaming services offer month-to-month subscriptions, so you can cancel anytime. On the other hand, cable TV often requires you to sign a contract for a set period of time. 

The initial cost of cord cutting might include purchasing a streaming device, such as a Roku or Amazon Fire Stick. These devices range in price from around $30 to $100 depending on the model and features. However, if you already own a compatible device, such as a smart TV, you may not need to purchase anything. 

When it comes to monthly costs, streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime Video range in price from around $8 to $15 per month. Live TV streaming services like Sling TV and YouTube TV can range from $25 to $65 per month, depending on the package and channels you choose. Keep in mind that some streaming services offer discounts for students or bundle deals with other services.

What streaming channels are available to watch?

The channels you can watch with a streaming device depend on the streaming service or platform you choose. Popular streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video 

offer a wide range of TV shows and movies, while live TV streaming services like Sling TV, YouTube TV, and Hulu + Live TV offer live TV channels. Some streaming services, like HBO Max and Disney+, offer exclusive content from their respective networks. 

Most streaming devices come with access to a wide range of apps or channels. For example, Roku, one of the most popular streaming devices, offers access to over 5,000 channels, including popular streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime Video, as well as lesser-known channels like Pluto TV and Tubi. Other streaming devices like Amazon Fire TV and Apple TV also offer access to popular streaming services and live TV streaming services. 

It's important to note that not all streaming services offer the same channels or content, so it's important to do your research and find a streaming service that offers the channels and content you're interested in. Additionally, some channels may require a separate subscription or payment to access their content on a streaming device.

Watching live TV possible with a streaming device?

Yes, you can watch live TV with a streaming device. Many streaming services, such as Sling TV,  YouTube, TV, Hulu + Live TV, FuboTV offer live TV channels that you can watch on your streaming device. These channels include news, sports, and entertainment channels that are available in real-time. Additionally, some streaming devices also allow you to watch local channels using an Over-the-Air Digital TV Antenna (DTVA), which can pick up local channels like ABC, CBS, NBC, and FOX. This makes it easy to watch live events, such as sports games or breaking news, without needing a cable TV subscription.

Is it possible to access all desired channels through a streaming service?

The availability of channels on a streaming service depends on the service you choose and the specific channels you want to watch. While some streaming services offer a broad selection of channels, others may have more limited options.

For example, services like Hulu + Live TV, YouTube TV, and Sling TV offer a wide variety of channels, including local network affiliates, cable news channels, and popular entertainment channels. However, if you're looking for specific niche channels or channels that are exclusive to a particular cable provider, you may need to explore other options or consider adding on additional subscriptions. 

It's also worth noting that some channels may have blackout restrictions or licensing agreements that limit their availability on certain streaming services. For example, some sports channels may not be available in certain regions or may require an additional subscription to access. 

What is the most inexpensive method to view TV?

The cheapest way to watch TV is by using an Over-the-Air Digital TV Antenna (DTVA) to pick up local channels like ABC, CBS, NBC, and FOX. These channels are available for free and offer a variety of programming including news, sports, and popular shows. Another low-cost option is to subscribe to a streaming service like Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon Prime Video. These services offer a wide range of TV shows and movies for a monthly subscription fee, which is generally lower than cable TV. Some services, like Pluto TV and Crackle, are free and offer a limited selection of content with ads. Keep in mind that if you want to watch live TV, you may need to subscribe to a live TV streaming service like Sling TV or YouTube TV, which can be more expensive than other streaming options.  

The article compares cable bundles and streaming services, discussing the advantages and disadvantages of each. Cable bundles offer a wide range of channels and are more reliable, but can be expensive and may require long-term contracts. Streaming services are affordable and provide on-demand content, but may not offer live sports or news channels and require a stable and fast internet connection. The article suggests that users should consider their preferences and usage habits when choosing between cable and streaming, and recommends exploring options such as cord-cutting or hybrid plans. Ultimately, the choice between cable and streaming will depend on individual needs and priorities.

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