From small beginnings, internet TV is rising in popularity. Every day, more British people are cutting the cord and switch from satellite or cable TV to getting all of their TV online. The main reason for making this switch is to save money on the ever-rising cost of monthly subscriptions. Because cable TV packages vary by provider, it’s hard to say exactly how much you’ll save when you cut the cord. Most traditional providers cost at least costs £35 a month, or more than £400 a year, for the first year, and the price usually goes beyond £50-60 from year two onwards. Calculating the cost of streaming all of your TV through the internet depends on how much TV you watch and what you choose to see. There's a full range of price options from full cable replacement to the pick-and-choose series viewer. We’ve put together an overview of the cost of getting internet TV for the most common viewer types.
Many households get their internet subscription bundled together with their Sky or cable TV subscription. This gets you a discount on your internet, so when you cut the cord on your cable subscription, you'll need to allow for the extra cost of internet. Find out how much providers charge for broadband only (this usually begins at £16-18 per month) and then use this as your base price. Then, you can think about what you really want to watch and search for an internet TV streaming service that offers you all you want without paying for access to a lot of content you’ll never need.
One of the many beautiful things about streaming TV is that different providers offer different types of content. With your old internet and cable bundle, you pay for all of the channels altogether. Sure, this is great for real TV omnivores who watch everything, but most of us only watch a few programmes. Why pay for dozens or hundreds of channels when you only need 2 or 3? It's frustrating for the news junkie to know that he's also paying for the Cartoon Network or for the football fanatic to pay for news channels. By switching to internet TV, you can pay for only the channels or shows that you enjoy.
Once you’ve decided to cut the cord, the next decision is what you’re going to replace it with. Here’s our overview of how much it would cost you, depending on your use type.
If you love TV series but enjoy watching ones that are produced by different channels, you might want to go the pay-as-you-go route. Instead of signing up to pay monthly for the full Netflix or Amazon Prime library, you can pay for individual seasons of your current TV shows from whichever corporation produces it. With full box sets starting from as low as £10-20 per season, you can easily watch an entire show without your budget getting out of control. Remember that you can add a regular TV antenna to watch things like BBC, ITV, and Channel 4 on Freeview (although even this costs money, in the form of the BBC licence). This way you can binge on your favourite programmes without missing out on big events broadcast over regular TV such as the World Cup or the Great British Bake Off final.
Movie addicts usually do best with a similar approach to the pay-as-you-go TV series watcher. Netflix and Amazon both have vast libraries of movies, from classic to the latest blockbusters. Amazon also lets you rent or buy movies, although this is only worthwhile if you plan to purchase a handful of movies each year. Otherwise, you may want to consider a film streaming service.
If you want to watch live football or other sports, there are a few options. If football is your thing, Sky Q and BT Sport streaming services have most of the live broadcasts, although Amazon’s Prime Video has also started screening selected matches live. If you’re into sport in general, then there are plenty of services you can check out. For example, Prime Video shows live NFL Thursday Night Football (screens early Friday morning UK time) and also offers Eurosport, with complete coverage of The Olympics, tennis grand slams, and more.
Some people watch a bit of this and a bit of that. Between the whole family, you need an internet TV streaming package that more or less replicates the full range of your old TV but for less money. For example, Netflix begins at £8.99 a month for a standard subscription, and Amazon Prime Video costs even less, coming in at £7.99 per month. Amazon also offers Amazon Channels, which lets you add individual channels like Eurosport and the 6 ITV channels to your streaming service for an extra monthly fee. Sky’s Now TV, which you can buy from your internet provider or purchase as a streaming service, also offers a full cable replacement, although it’ll cost you. Also, it only offers Sky programming. A Sky cinema and entertainment bundle starts at £21 per month while Sky Sports bundles start from £34 per month. How much you spend really depends on what it is you want. The good news with services like Amazon is there’s no contract, so you can add and subtract features from one month to the next.
Only you can answer this question. Now that you can calculate how much it’s likely to cost you to get all your TV online, you can weigh that against your bill and make a fully informed decision. For an increasing percentage of British people, the greater variety and flexibility and lower cost of online streaming makes cutting the cord an extremely worthwhile decision.