Is Cable Worth It? A Consumer’s Guide

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Last quarter, a record number of people ditched their cable package. But despite this trend, about 79% of U.S. households with televisions still subscribe to a traditional cable package.

So who’s making the right choice? Is cord cutting the way to go or is cable worth it?

Keep reading as we dissect whether or not cable is worth it.

Pros of Cable

Even in the age of Netflix, your traditional cable package comes with a ton of value. Here are a few of the biggest reasons why you may not want to ditch cable after all.

Better Picture Quality

As the old adage goes, you get what you pay for. There’s no arguing that even a basic cable package costs more than a month of a streaming service like YouTube TV or PlayStation Vue.

But if you value picture fidelity, cable is the way to go.

Most cable companies offer a crisp, 1080p picture, so you can watch your shows in total clarity. Some services, like DirecTV, even offer 4K streaming. You’ll be able to see every detail of your favorite celebs’ smiles through cable.

More DVR Options

Can’t catch that new survival movie when it airs? No problem!

DVR functionality is now standard for all cable companies. Most companies go one step further and allow customers to record multiple shows and movies at once.

Meanwhile, not all OTT services offer a DVR service. And those that do often charge for it and limit the user’s DVR storage.

No Internet Dependency

With cable, you can keep watching your favorite shows — even if the Internet goes down. While your services may be limited during an Internet outage, you can still enjoy the basics of your cable package.

Cons of Cable

Cable clearly still has a ton of benefits. But there’s a reason so many people are waving goodbye to their cable provider. Here’s what you should know before subscribing to a cable package.

Hidden Expenses

Let’s say you sign up for a promotional package through Dish Network Deals or a similar service. You’re locked into a rate of $69.99 per month for a two-year minimum. What they don’t tell you is that you can expect to pay more than that flat $69.99.

Cable companies are notorious for charging ridiculous fees without notice.

You won’t only pay for your service, you’ll pay fees for:

  • Local channels.
  • DVR services.
  • Cable box rental.
  • Regional sports fees.
  • HD technology fees.

Each fee tacks on between $5 and $10. At the end of the day, you could feasibly pay at least $20 more than what you were told.

OTT Services Are Cheaper, Offer Similar Channels

Cord cutting is popular for one primary reason: Cost.

As previously mentioned, OTT services are far more affordable than traditional cable, with the most expensive service running about $80 per month. Moreover, none of these services charge any of the ridiculous fees that come with cable.

You’ll still get all of your favorite channels, too. That $80 package mentioned above comes with Showtime, HBO, Epix, and more, so you can pay less for the shows you love.

You Pay For Unwanted Channels

Cable companies love to advertise how many channels they offer. But does anyone really need 900+ channels?

Odds are, you’ll stick to 10 or 15. That means that you’re paying for access to a ton of channels you’ll never use, while you could just pay for the channels you want.

Is Cable Worth It? A Few Final Thoughts

So, at the end of the day, is cable worth it? It depends.

If you have some extra cash and value picture quality over price, cable is certainly the way to go. But if you’re looking for a more affordable, commitment-free alternative, sign up for a trial with one of the many OTT services out there. You’ll get the same great channels for about half the price.

Don’t let those hidden fees mess up your finances. Check out our guide to enjoying life on a tight budget so you can upgrade your cable package.