More Americans than ever are discovering how easy it is to cut the cord and move over to TV streaming.
American cable TV providers are losing around 1 million subscribers every quarter, according to recent data from Kagan, a unit of S&P Global Market Intelligence. By 2023, Kagan predicts there will be (40.8 million broadband-only households>, nearly double the 23.3 million at the start of 2019.
The rise of cord-cutting “is not surprising given the abundance of online video services on the market,” senior Kagan research analyst Tony Lenoir said.
TV streaming is a broad term for any service that lets you stream TV content without a cable. With cable TV, programs are broadcast into the customer’s home at a specific time via electric or fiber-optic cables. With TV streaming, the user gets to watch on any device they want, at a time of their choosing.
TV streaming services involve one or more of the following:
Streaming services “touch a cord” with the average consumer, Kagan’s Lenoir noted. He pointed out that the majority of streaming services offer trial periods, can be used on any screen, and enable users to customize their own viewing experience.
A look at the best streaming services shows Lenoir is on the money. Of the top TV streaming services listed by Best Streaming Providers, all have free trial periods of either seven or 30 days. All these services are device-agnostic, meaning they can be streamed on any of dozens of compatible devices. These services are built around the concept of on-demand, where the customer chooses what to watch and when to watch it from a library of thousands of films, TV series, documentaries, and other programs.
In terms of pricing, streaming services offer far more bang for your buck than pay TV. Prices for VOD range from $5.99 to $14.99 per month. The price of live TV varies wildly, depending on how many channels are included in the subscription. As an example, Hulu charges $44.99 for 60+ live channels plus unlimited, on-demand access to its full video library. YouTube TV, among the most expensive live TV streaming services, charges $49.99 per month for 70+ channels.
When one looks at the overall picture, cable TV offers less value for money than streaming. The average price for a cable TV subscription stood at $69.03 per month, or 46 cents per channel, in 2015, the most recent year for which the Federal Communications Commission has published data. That’s less per channel than live streaming services, but how many channels do you really need? A live TV streaming service costs less per month, plus the user gets access to VOD, can view content on any device, and has the option of streaming to multiple devices simultaneously.
One of the great things about live streaming is it doesn’t require a big investment. With cable TV, you are literally connected to the service with a box and cord. With live streaming, you can stream to any compatible device. You likely already have multiple compatible devices you use for other things, such as regular TV with Chromecast or Roku streaming stick, a smart TV, smartphone, tablet, or games console.
Live streaming services are usually compatible with the following devices:
Cable TV will continue exist for many years, but it won’t attract new subscribers. The fact is, the cable companies are living off long-standing subscribers who haven’t yet come around to the idea of cutting the cord. Some cable TV providers, such as Comcast, understand where the winds are blowing, which is why they are launching streaming services in parallel to their traditional cable services.
Given the obvious arguments in favour of TV streaming, the question must be asked: why would anyone stick with cable TV? Aside from loyalty, there’s only one logical reason anyone would stick with cable TV: slow internet. Fortunately, internet speeds in the United States have improved in recent years. However, a minority of Americans – particularly in rural areas – don’t yet have fast-enough internet to comfortably use a TV streaming service.
If you live in an area with slow internet, then you may have to grin and bear your cable TV subscription until speeds pick up in your area. But if you’re among the majority of people who benefit from decent internet speeds, the best thing you can do is cut the cord and subscribe to a TV streaming service.