One of every five U.S. households has ditched their cable or satellite television in favor of online streaming services. More than 1 million people cut the cord last year in 2015. Many people have left their cable providers because of price increases. That problem continues to grow with each person that moves to streaming video. Cable companies are forced to raise their prices to maintain a solid revenue stream. Meanwhile, the sheer number of people buying streaming subscriptions grew revenue by nearly 30% in 2015.
Is it worth it? Let’s do the math.
Start out with the cost of cable. The average cable bill in the United States costs $103 a month. That’s over $1000 every year. Keep in mind that this number reflects an average. The price goes up drastically when you start adding premium channels.
What about streaming television?
The bare minimum internet services costs right at $15. That won’t provide you with the bandwidth you’ll need to properly buffer and watch videos. The average bill for internet service runs at about $50 a month. At $50, you’ll be able to stream to your heart’s content.
Once you have the internet connection, get a device that allows you to stream. If you have a smart TV already, you’re ahead of the game. If not, don’t panic. There are affordable devices that allow you to play services like Netflix over your television.
Google offers a device that plugs directly into your HDMI port on your television. This device called Chromecast ($35) allows you to use any one of your devices (laptop, tablet, cell phone) to “cast” videos via your wireless network to your television. Amazon also offers a similar product called the Amazon Fire ($39.99). Roku offers the cheapest option at $24.99. The differences in each of these products are negligible. This author has personally tested all three and the cheapest option gets the job done. This is a onetime expenditure, so we won’t count it in with your total monthly savings.
Now you need to pick your streaming service. There are a multitude of options out there and deciding really depends on your personal television preference. Netflix and Hulu Plus will both cost you $8 a month. Even if you pick up both of these services, you are still saving $40 on the average cable bill. You can certainly stop there, or you could use some of that $40 to pay for sports or movie channels. Sling TV costs $20 a month and allows you to watch just about any sporting event you can imagine. HBO GO gives you access to all of the latest movies for only $15 a month.
The most basic internet streaming product, combined with your internet bill comes out to $58 each month. Remembering that the average cable bill is $103 a month, you can cut $45 from your monthly budget by cutting the cord. What would you do with an extra $45 a month? Tell us in the comments below!