Should You Pull the Plug on Cable?


As cable costs rise each year by at least three percent and new options for subscription-based content become available, there is more volume and variety of quality television today than ever before. But when it comes to that monthly bill and deciding whether quitting cable is right for you, everything depends on what content you watch—and when.

When You Should Cut the Cable Cord
If you’re looking to curb expenses, turning off cable is an obvious choice, because the average cost for basic service is $99 per month. After all, major network channel content (think NBC, ABC, CBS, FOX, etc.) is free — as long as you have an antenna, which is a one-time expense. In addition, there are several streaming services that charge a much lower monthly fee than your cable company, such as Netflix ($9-$10/month), Hulu ($8/month), and Amazon Instant Video ($8/month).

There’s also another option: streaming content through your gaming console. For example, Microsoft Xbox One has built-in features that enable live streaming, although you do have to purchase a TV tuner. (However, the cost for the additional equipment quickly pays for itself when you consider that cable bill.)

When You Should Consider Not Pulling the Plug
If you have a particular allegiance to a network, show, or series, cutting the cable probably isn’t the best option for you. Some streaming sites, like Netflix, rebroadcast popular network shows (Grey’s Anatomy, for example), but the lineup is short and usually composed of past seasons (and you won’t find the season airing now available to stream). For sports fanatics, national games and most local games are not broadcast on streaming services, and pay-for-view packages, such as the NBA League Pass, can be pricey. If you watch all kinds of sports — baseball, football, basketball — you’ll have to buy a package for each, which can quickly add up to an expensive sum.  

Weigh Your Options
If you’re not sure whether or not to part ways with your cable company, take a step back and consider the facts. Make a list of the content you love to watch, and then compare the prices of cable service, streaming services, equipment, and free content. Once you see the scope of offerings and price points, you’ll be better informed to make the right decision about whether or not you should pull the plug on cable.