Cable vs. Streaming TV: Which is Better?

Cable vs. Streaming TV: Which is Better?

Fri, Aug 26, 2022 10:50 PM

Cable Internet Bundles

Should you waste your hard-earned money on old-fashioned cable television or newer internet-based online television? Both bring live and on-demand television to your eyes, although there are some slight variations as well as some significant ones.  

Don't lose faith; we're here to walk you through the advantages and disadvantages of both.

 

Cable Vs Streaming 

 

Cost 

This was a simple one in the early days of live TV streaming: streaming is less expensive than cable. However, with top providers like YouTube TV and Hulu + Live TV raising their prices on a regular basis, the price gap is narrowing. In a head-to-head comparison, live TV streaming still has the upper hand.

Sling TV: $35.00–$50.00/mo. (30–50+ channels)
fuboTV: $64.99–$74.99/mo. (109–156+ channels)
Philo: $20.00/mo. (60+ channels)
Hulu + Live TV: $64.99–$70.99/mo. (70+ channels)
YouTube TV: $64.99/mo. (100+ channels)

 

When you compare those costs and channel counts to cable

Suddenlink: $79.99–$129.99/mo. (225–290+ channels)
Cox: $25.00–$69.99/mo. (75–140+ channels)
Xfinity: $49.99–$89.99/mo. (140–220+ channels)
Spectrum: $44.99–94.99/mo. (125–200+ channels)

 

Satellite TV

DIRECTV: $64.99–$134.99/mo. (160–330+ channels)
DISH: $64.99–$99.99/mo. (190–290+ channels)

It's important to note that after one or two years of service, all cable and satellite providers will increase their monthly rates when you're still under contract (more on that in a minute). Rates for streaming TV services also seem to rise year after year, but you can cancel them at any time.

Winner: Streaming

 

Also, Read: How to Watch TV Without Cable in 2022

 

Contracts

Except for AT&T TV, which offers live TV streaming, no streaming service requires you to sign an annual contract; service and payment for streaming TV are still handled on a month-to-month basis.

Also, Read: Things to Look for Best Cheap No-Contract Internet Service Providers

As previously stated, most cable and satellite services need a one- or two-year contract. Some companies will nearly double their price after the first year of a two-year deal, which seems to be a bait-and-switch even though it's written in the user agreement.

Some cable and satellite providers, such as Xfinity, do offer no-contract options, but they're typically more costly. Streaming will almost certainly hit the Hungry Hungry Hippos stage of in-your-face money grabs at some point, but it's still fairly straightforward right now.

Winner: Streaming

 

Related: Which is Best for Your Home Theater, Projector vs TV?

 

Channels

Only a few live TV streaming platforms have surpassed the 100-channel mark, while cable and satellite TV providers sell a variety of packages of up to 200 or even 300 channels. While you do not want the extra channels (such as home shopping and audio-only music networks), cable and satellite easily outnumber satellite in terms of quantity.

When it comes to sports networks, cable and satellite even outperform streaming TV. While it's improving, live TV streaming still doesn't provide a consistent distribution of sports channels across services—at least one is still missing such as NHL Network on YouTube TV, or any sports channels on Philo and NBA TV on Hulu + Live TV.

On the other hand, Sports channels on cable and satellite are quick to come by—even if it means paying a higher monthly fee.  

Winner: Satellite and Cable

 

Video Quality

Although on-demand streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime Video can provide 1080p HD and even 4K video, live TV streaming is typically limited to 720p. If your internet connection or Wi-Fi signal isn't good enough, it can drop even lower and even start buffering.

Live cable and satellite TV reliably offer higher-quality 1080p and 4K image definition, with a few exceptions such as cable-to-source distances or dish vs. bad weather situations.

Non-professional TV viewers can not notice the difference, but pixel perfectionists are irritated by the distinction between 720p and 1080p.

Winner: Satellite and Cable

 

Choices

When it comes to choice, streaming TV really shines: while cable or satellite only provides one branded live TV option, streaming TV gives you a variety of live TV apps and services to choose from, and you can switch between them at any time. If you don't like Sling TV, you can try YouTube TV instead, but you're stuck with Xfinity's TV service.

On-demand streaming applications open up a whole new world of possibilities. The Roku Channels store alone has thousands of applications in thousands of genres, many of which are free and do not require a monthly subscription. You're limited to the 50 to 300 channels in your cable or satellite bundle. Streaming is similar to à-la-carte television.

Winner: Streaming

 

Satellite, Streaming ang Cable recommendations

DISH ($64.99 to $94.99/month, 190- 290+ channels, Satellite)
Spectrum ($44.99 to 94.99/month, Cable)
Netflix ($8.99 to $17.99/month, On-demand streaming)
YoutubeTV ($64.99/month, Live Streaming) 

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