Internet Entertainment: Is It Worth Cutting Cable?

by Jessica Sommerfield · 4 comments

In recent years, web-based television and movie streaming services like Netflix and Hulu have become popular as a supplement and potential replacement for traditional cable television. But is this growing phenomenon going to eventually replace cable? CEOs from both sides of the spectrum claim it won’t be any time soon. Still, you may be considering whether to cut your cable service in favor of cheaper online alternatives. Here are some pros and cons to consider while deciding whether online entertainment services are enough for you.

Advantages of web-based entertainment

  • Huge cost savings. Netflix and Hulu Plus offer their services for roughly $10 a month. Netflix offers unlimited streaming packages which include past seasons of many television shows as well as movies. (They are also offering a one month free trial.) Hulu Plus is similar but also offers a larger variety of shows in current seasons, available a few days after they’re broadcast on network television. Compared to most cable packages, which vary in price from $60-$100, this is a huge discount.
  • Convenience and portability. Another advantage of online entertainment is the ability to watch shows wherever and whenever you want, often on a portable device such as a laptop, smartphone, or tablet. You can’t take your cable with you when you’re on the road.
  • Back-dated series and episodes. If you miss an episode of your favorite show on television, unless you have a DVR, you’re out of luck. Online services offer you the ability to retrieve older series and episodes you may have missed without having to purchase or rent a hard copy.

Disadvantages of web-based entertainment

  • Lack of access to certain networks. Even though Hulu Plus offers you many shows, they are licensed for a comparatively small number of networks. There are certain networks that are only licensed with cable providers, since this is still the major method people watch their shows. It only makes sense to invest in the outlet that’s bringing in the most revenue. Although more networks may expand to web services in the future, currently the selection is limited.
  • Lack of live broadcasts, news, and sports channels. If you’re a big sports fan, web-based services might not meet your needs. If you enjoy watching a lot of live television, you might want to retain your cable package, even if just for certain channels.
  • Time delay of current shows. Even though you can watch current series on Hulu Plus, you won’t be able to watch them in real time. This is an inconvenience some don’t mind; you just have to be prepared to plug your ears at work when your friends are talking about the latest episode you haven’t seen yet.

Online streaming services and traditional cable are not yet rivals in the entertainment world. You can utilize one or both to best suit your needs at the greatest possible savings.  While you may still find it necessary to retain your cable, you may be able to bump down to a cheaper package with a few networks you can’t access on your Netflix or Hulu account and still pay less than you would for unlimited channels.

On the other hand, if you don’t watch much television as it is, and are content with online entertainment options, you can drop your cable and save up to $90 a month. This is a savings that can free a lot of space in your budget for more important things. The choice is yours.

Bonus Tip:

You can seriously cut your Internet and TV costs. Find a Verizon FiOS promotion code here and you might be able to spend less every month.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

mwwykoff April 15, 2013 at 6:32 pm

What about PBS documentaries? Can they be obtained through Netflix?
What about ESPNU, ESPN3?
Do you have to keep cable for these sports and special PBS documentaries?

Marnie June 10, 2013 at 9:25 am

I was completely addicted to cable, I couldn’t imagine getting rid of it. That was until 2 years ago when I cut the cord and have never looked back. I have netflix, hulu, and amazon prime and for less then $20 a month I have all the entertainment my kids and I can watch.

Todd January 24, 2014 at 12:51 pm

Everyone who has ESPN pays sound $7 a month just for that channel. Espn is the the largest grossing department of Disney. It brings in more money then any other part of their company. I know it might make a few people really mad but I think the cable companies should fight to lower that cost. If I had to live without Espn for a month or longer I’d get over it if it lowered my overall bill.

yvette April 16, 2014 at 7:21 am

Interested in the cost of wireless internet.

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