Cable TV VS. Streaming Services : What is Best for you?

Cable TV VS. Streaming Services : What is Best for you?
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Sifting through the choices can be daunting, with so many providers out there on both sides. Consider how much you want to pay, which channels you watch daily, and how strong your internet connection is to narrow down your choices. Would you like more assistance in determining which choice is right for you? 

Here are the advantages and disadvantages of streaming subscription services vs. cable television.

Advantages of Cable TV


For cable viewers, sports channels on cable TV versus streaming are superior. ESPN and other major sports networks sell just about all the basic cable packages. On the other hand, streaming platforms prefer not to screen famous live sporting events. Or, if they do the additional fee can be expensive. Without Monday night football or the World Series, can't you imagine life? Maybe you would prefer to stick with the cable.

More Shows to choose from

Only how many channels you watch is something else to remember when discussing cable TV vs. streaming. Are you a channel surfer? Do you have a list of shows on more than 20 networks that you watch regularly? If so, because most of them sell bundles ranging from 20 to hundreds of channels, you may want to opt for a cable provider.

Disadvantages of Cable TV

Fickle wires

In general, since many places have upgraded or extended their internet to run underground and underwater, internet access is more reliable than cable. This way, your Internet can still work when a thunderstorm rolls through or high winds mess with your outdoor cables. Sadly, we can't say the same for your cable. Streaming could be the more reliable service for you if you are deciding between cable TV vs. streaming, and your region is prone to extreme weather.

More Expensive

Cable packages are notoriously pricey, as we discussed earlier. Yeah, for the first year or two, they could draw you in with a new, sparkly offer, but ready for the price to spike at the end of your first contract. 

In addition, your monthly payment will be tacked on to any price hikes imposed by networks on their cable partners, so it is possible to raise your monthly price long before your contract expires.

Cable TV VS. Streaming Services : What is Best for you?

Advantages of On-Demand Streaming

Tailored Viewing 

Customizing your viewing experience is simple with streaming services, such as subscribing to your favorite shows and letting the service warn you as new episodes are released. Did your favorite show just finish and look for something new? By cleverly suggesting movies and TV shows based on your viewing experience, streaming services have your back.

When customizing your viewing, there are also plenty of streaming options to choose from:

  • Showtime 

  • Sony Crackle

  • Yahoo View 

  • YouTube TV 

  • Amazon Prime Instant Video 

  • HBO Now 

  • Hulu 

  • Netflix 

  • Popcorn Flix

Unlimited Viewing

Want to hold a party for Mad Men? You may with streaming services! They also have whole seasons of shows that are no longer airing, so for as long as you want, you can continue to play them (or binge-watch). It can be difficult to turn off a good show, so beware.


Streaming networks are undeniably more versatile when it comes to cable TV vs. streaming. Whereas cable providers lock you into rigid annual contracts, without the dreaded termination charge, streaming services encourage you to sign up and cancel when the mood strikes you. All you have to do is log into your account and your service can be stopped or restarted as you wish. Streaming will be a good choice for you if you prefer to drive or you will have to transfer on short notice.


When looking at the affordability of cable TV vs. streaming, there's no competition. The subscription rates are much less costly for internet streaming services than for the major cable companies. Although you can sign up for Hulu Plus or Netflix for less than $10 a month, the average cable bundle is $105. Many streaming services, ranging from $8 to $20, can also be bought in various bundles. Prices differ depending on the resolution (HD etc and whether or not you will be watching at once on different computers.

Disadvantages of On-Demand Streaming

No internet? Yeah, No Viewing.

In order to operate, streaming services must be linked to the internet, so if you can't connect to the internet, you'll miss streaming. For individuals living in certain rural areas with less reliable internet connections, this may be troublesome.

Know your Shows

Yeah, streaming services do recommend shows for you to watch, but it's more difficult to flick through them than clicking through cable channels. To start watching a program, you have to go through a couple of steps, and if you don't like it you have to go through a few more steps to get back to the main menu. If you don't know what you want to watch already, or if your streaming service recommends shows you don't want, it can be frustrating and boring. Too many alternatives can also be downright daunting, depending on their personality.

High-Speed Internet is Required

When addressing streaming vs. cable, note that in order to maintain uninterrupted streaming, you would need high-speed Internet. When determining how much you want to pay, keep this in mind, as high-speed broadband is typically more costly than regular internet service.


Unable to decide?

By providing live streaming services, many on-demand streaming services are now seeking to compete with cable TV. That way, you can stream old movie episodes using the same computer or app.

In a similar way by providing applications to view your favorite cable TV shows online, cable companies are seeking to compete with streaming services. The two services blur the lines as they have more options for viewing, which for you is a win-win! For more content, here's a list of popular cable network streaming services that provide both on-demand and live TV streaming:

  • ESPN+ 

  • Hulu with Live TV 

  • Philo TV 

  • Pluto TV 

  • AT&T Watch TV 

  • CBS All Access 

  • Direct TV Now 

There are also two providers, Sling TV and PlayStation Vue, which only offer live TV streaming. As more people prefer to watch their favorite TV shows online than via cable, they are growing in popularity.

Your final cable vs. streaming choice doesn't have to be black and white. You can shop around and create a hybrid kit of your own. This breakdown will help you build the best package for you so you won't have to skip your favorite shows, whether or not they're still airing.



Related Articles: 

The Best Streaming Services For Sports 2020

What is the Best 4k Streaming Service?

Top 10 Unique Streaming Sites You Should Know



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