From small beginnings, internet TV is rising in popularity. Every day, more Americans cut the cord and switch from 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 cable subscriptions. Because cable TV packages vary so widely by region and provider, it’s hard to say exactly how much you’ll save when you cut the cord. Most researchers estimate that the average cable subscription costs $85 a month, or over $1,000 a year, but if you get extra packages or live in certain areas, that could be over $2,000 annually. 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 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 your provider charges for internet-only and begin your calculations with that basic cost. 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 cable subscription, you pay for all of the channels altogether. This is great for real TV omnivores who watch everything, but most of us only watch a few shows. 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, and for the sports aficionado to support Fox News as well. 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 library, you can pay for individual seasons of your current TV shows from whichever corporation produces it. With each season costing around $30 for the full season, you can watch 12 seasons of 22 episodes for around $360. Remember that you can add a regular TV antenna to watch ABC, FOX, CBS, NBC, PBS, and CW for free. This way you won’t miss out on huge events broadcast over regular TV such as the Oscars or the Superbowl.
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. HBO Now is also a great address for recent movies. By ‘renting’ the movie you want at the time, you can save money on cable TV and just get movies on demand, as often as you’d like. Paying per movie means you can dip in and out of the titles offered by all of the internet TV companies. Given that each movie costs around $5, 52 movies a year with Netflix and HBO Now would cost you about $550 ($46 a month).
If you want to keep watching your local games live, you’ll have to keep your cable because local games are exclusive to regional networks. For all other games, though, there are solutions. Sling TV is ideal for sports aficionados because it comes with ESPN and ESPN 2. Adding $5 a month for its Sports package gives you SEC Network, ESPNEWS, ESPNU, Universal Sports, Univision Deportes, and beIN Sports for a total annual cost of $300. If you're a fan of one particular sport, you could add access to its dedicated internet TV sports channel. MLB.TV brings you all the baseball games you could want, streamed live and on-demand playback. You can also watch your local baseball games, although there's an agreed blackout delay on showing the local games, so they're not available live. MLB.TV costs $109.99 a year. Hockey lovers can watch every NHL game live by subscribing to the NHL Game Center for $99.95. Like with baseball, local games aren't streamed live, but you can still watch them after the blackout delay. The Choice NBA League Pass gives a similar service for basketball fans. You can watch every game live for $125.00 per year, with the usual blackout restrictions on local games. NFL followers can watch their home team on regular TV by buying an antenna and keep up with Sunday Night Football on ESPN via Sling. To catch other NFL games, you'll need to subscribe to NFL Game Rewind for $69.99 a year. That lets you watch all NFL games with a delay of between 8 and 24 hours. All told, if you took the Sling Sports Package, plus subscriptions to the MLB, NHL, NFL, and NBA channels, you’d be paying around $60 a month for complete, wraparound coverage of every single sport. Cable would almost certainly cost far more.
If you need to always keep on top of breaking news and stay up to date on the most recent news analysis, you can satisfy your addiction through internet streaming. Sling is the best solution since it'll give you access to CNN and Bloomberg TV as well as international news stations like Euronews, News18India, and France24 for an extra $5 a month. Remember that you can use your antenna to watch local and regular broadcast news. For $300 a year or $25 a month, you can stay fully informed and up-to-date.
Some people watch a bit of this and a bit of that. Between the whole family, they need an internet TV streaming package that more or less replicates the full range of cable TV, but for less money. The amount you save is obviously going to vary, depending on the cost of cable in your area, but reproducing the cable experience over the internet can be done. You'll want to use either Netflix or Amazon Prime for the best new and classic TV shows and movies; it's a matter of preference. Netflix begins at $7.99 a month, and Amazon Prime costs $99.99 a year or $10.99 a month on a by-month basis. It's a good idea to try them out at the same time by taking advantage of Amazon's 1-month free offer and then keeping the channel you prefer. You can always buy seasons of your favorite TV series or rent top movies individually if there’s just one that you need to watch. Sling covers most of the rest of your needs since it gives you the most popular cable channels of ESPN, History Channel, Cartoon Network, Food Network, ABC Family, the Disney Channel, CNN, TNT, and more. Sling costs $20 a month for the basic package, and you can add on extras like the Sports Package for an additional $5 a month. More of the best current and past TV shows from ABC, Fox, CW, and NBC are available on Hulu Plus for $7.99 a month. Once you've paid for Hulu, you can add on Showtime Anytime for just $9 a month instead of the usual $11 to access even more shows. You can also add HBO Now for $14.99 per month to get full HBO content like, of course, Game of Thrones.
To Sum Up:
- Netflix: from $7.99 per month
- Amazon: $10.99 monthly or $99.99 per year
- Sling: $20 per month
- Hulu Plus: $7.99 per month
- HBO Now: $14.99 per month
- Showtime Anytime: $9 per month
If you pay for every one of these 5 internet TV streaming services, you’ll be spending around $70 a month, which will rise to just over $100 each month once you factor in your internet service. If that sounds like a lot, keep in mind that you can take out the elements that you don't need – for example, you probably won't want to pay for both Netflix and Amazon. Since there's no contract, you can add and take away channels from one month to the next as you choose.
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 current cable bill and make a fully informed decision. For an increasing percentage of Americans, the greater variety and flexibility and lower cost of internet TV makes cutting the cord an extremely worthwhile decision.