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Is streaming TV cheaper than cable?

is streaming TV cheaper than cable?

Readers often ask us an important question… is streaming TV cheaper than cable?

The assumption is that streaming must be cheaper because so many people are cutting the cord and cancelling cable. But we took a closer look to see for ourselves if this is true or not. In our research, we reviewed and tested the different streaming services to get the latest details on pricing options as well as functionality and user experience.

To start, according to research by Decision Data, the average household cable package is $217.42 per month, which is more than the average household spends on all major utilities combined per month (for electricity, gas, water, sewage and garbage). On top of that, the cost of the average household cable package continues to increase year after year.

Nevertheless, an advantage of cable is that it often does include Internet service, which can be a costly utility, so we’ve factored that into our research.

Is streaming TV cheaper than cable? The short answer is it depends.

It all depends what you want. Are you interested in considering a streaming service that has all of the cable channels you currently (or don’t) watch? Or do you want to subscribe to services that only offer you exactly what you want? There’s a big difference between the two. And there’s a big difference in price.

We’ll go through the different options to give you a clearer picture.

Is streaming TV cheaper than cable?

First, if you do consider cutting the cord, you’ll need to have a reliable Internet connection.

1. Internet service

You can get Internet without cable or satellite. Plans and pricing often fluctuate so check for the latest deals, but here are a few worth considering:

XFINITYAT&T FIBERVERIZON FIOS
    
Download speeds (up to)200Mbps100Mbps200Mbps
    
Price per month$25$35$39.99
    
Sign-up pageBrowse offersBrowse offersBrowse offers

Mbps stands for megabits per second; a good Internet speed for most people is around 30 Mbps.

Another option to consider is the Internet Essentials package from Xfinity, which is available for $9.95 per month (if you qualify) with download speeds up to 50Mbps.

 

2. Soccer-specific streaming services

If all you care about is watching soccer as well as the added bonus of other sports and entertainment, you can sign up for several different streaming services to save considerable amounts of money compared to cable.

It all depends on what leagues and/or competitions you’re most interested in. Our recommendation is the combination of ESPN+, Peacock Premium, Paramount+ and Fanatiz, which collectively bring you:

• Every single UEFA Champions League, Europa League and NWSL match (Paramount+)
• 46% of the Premier League season (Peacock Premium)
• Every LaLiga match (Fanatiz)
• The best action from Bundesliga, Serie A, Scottish Premiership, Eredivisie, Championship and more (ESPN+)

ESPN+Peacock PremiumParamount+Fanatiz
     
Price$9.99/month$4.99/month$5.99/month$7.99/month
     
Sign-upBrowse offersBrowse offersBrowse offersBrowse offers

For ESPN+, Peacock Premium, Paramount+ and Fanatiz combined, it’s just $24.96 per month.

If you want to save even more money, sign up for annual plans, and you’ll save up to $60 per year (see below).

Streaming serviceMonthly priceAnnual priceAnnual savings
Paramount+$4.99$49.99$11.89
Peacock Premium$4.99$49.99$9.89
ESPN+$9.99$99.99$19.89
Fanatiz$7.99$79.99$15.89
TOTAL SAVED:$59.56

Another benefit of streaming is that you can pick and choose the streaming services that are important to you. And best of all, there are no contracts so you can cancel and change services if need be. Streaming has become so popular in the United States (Americans now spend an average of $47 per month on streaming services) that cord cutting now accounts for 19.9% of U.S. households in 2020, raising their numbers to a staggering total of 25.3 million in total. And that number continues to grow by leaps and bounds every year.

All of the streaming services listed above come with many other soccer leagues and competitions, and other live sports as well as news and entertainment (too many to list here). If you are interested in additional details, read our guides on ESPN+, Peacock TV, Paramount+ and Fanatiz.

 

3. Optional: Streaming your favorite cable stations

If soccer-specific streaming services are not for you, and you and your loved ones would prefer a more cable-like experience with all of the advantages of streaming (no contracts, lots of choices, more savings), then there are several cable-like streaming services available such as the ones below:

FUBO TVSLING TVHULU + LIVE TVYOUTUBE TV
     
Channels includedSee listSee listSee listSee list
     
Price per month$65$50$64.99$65
     
Sign-upFree trialFree trialFree trialFree trial

At the end of the day, it’s important to shop around and do your research. You may see cable or satellite TV companies advertising low introductory rates, but after that period is over, prices rise considerably. Many cable and satellite companies also require a contract of one or two years. With streaming, the vast majority of the services don’t have contracts and you can pay on a month-to-month basis, giving you the freedom and flexibility to jump around from service to service depending on your changing tastes (or the time of the soccer season).

As you can see from the research above, cutting the cord and watching your favorite games and programs via streaming can save you considerable amounts of money, but your “mileage” will vary depending on what streaming services you want.

If you need more research, feel free to browse through our how-to articles that focus on the benefits of watching content via streaming, cable and satellite.

Have any feedback about the age-old question of ‘is streaming TV cheaper than cable?’ Let us know in the comments section below.

 

200+ Channels With Sports & News
  • Starting price: $33/mo. for fubo Latino Package
  • Watch Premier League, World Cup, Euro 2024 & more
Live & On Demand TV Streaming
  • Price: $35/mo. for Sling Blue
  • Watch Premier League, World Cup & MLS
Many Sports & ESPN Originals
  • Price: $9.99/mo. (or get ESPN+, Hulu & Disney+ for $13.99/mo.)
  • Features Bundesliga, LaLiga, Championship, & more
2,000+ soccer games per year
  • Price: $4.99/mo
  • Features Champions League, Serie A, Europa League & NWSL
175 Premier League Games & PL TV
  • Starting price: $4.99/mo. for Peacock Premium
  • Watch 175 exclusive EPL games per season
110+ channels, live & on-demand
  • Price: $59.95/mo. for Plus Package
  • Includes FOX, FS1, ESPN, TUDN & more

8 Comments

8 Comments

  1. Mercator

    February 24, 2021 at 8:33 pm

    That’s a ridiculous comparison, why are we throwing in HBO and Netflix, there is no football on either. My cable package was just over $200 a month, including internet, and it’s basically the same for the vast majority of people who have Spectrum or Comcast, the two biggest providers in the US. Internet only, at gigabit speeds and with unlimited data, comes out to about $90 bucks. So the real cost is close to $100 for cable packages alone. I’m not sure why you are adding internet to the cost of streaming, it’s a basic necessity at this point, I need it for work, so it’s not an extra cost I’m paying to stream.

    Meanwhile, I’ve paid $30 for a year of Paramount+ ($2.50 a month, seriously), getting all CL and Europa games, NWSL and Women’s CL, and now Concacaf CCL, Brazilian and Argentine leagues. ESPN+ is 6 bucks month, getting Bundesliga, Seria A, just about every cup game, and all MLS out of market games. Already you are getting basically everything but PL, La Liga, Ligue 1 and Copa on just two services for a grand total of about $9 bucks a month. My cable provider didn’t even get Bein, but throw in Fanatiz and you are still under $20 a month for everything but PL. You can sail the seas and get PL for another $5 bucks month, or pay Peacock for half the PL games (including some good ones actually).

    So for about $25 bucks you can basically get everything but half the PL games, about 1/4th the cost of a standard cable package, and you get at least 50x more football to watch, since even in Linear TV they will not show all games from certain leagues (I.e. Europa or CL group stages, PL, MLS). Honestly, this might be as good as it ever gets for football fans. I’m sure the rates will rise on the streaming packages, but even if they double you are still looking at about half the cost of cable for significantly more soccer (and some of the issues, like lack of DVR features or score spoilers, will be fixed in due course). With cable I struggled to find games to watch, streaming there is simply way more than I could ever have the time to watch.

  2. R.O

    February 24, 2021 at 6:19 pm

    Have have to disagree with some of this article.
    In my city/metro region xfinity 200mbps cost $50 per month. AT&T Fiber at 100 mbps is also close to $50.
    “research by Decision Data, the average household cable package is $217.42 per month”
    I’m no where near that ($100 under that amount). Of course I don’t have HBO, Showtime or all the movie premium channels. (My internet is DSL from a different provider)

    If one adds up High speed internet, espn+ (w/o Hulu and Disney) + CBS All-Access (so to be Paramount+) and Fanatiz, then throw in Netflix and HBO Max streaming, you’ll be over $120 per month, especially if you get the commercial free service with extras and then get Hulu w/Disney+, cost will be higher. Add in You Tube TV, you’ll be over $150 per month.
    All of this doesn’t include local TV programing/channels. Yes they are free OTA and only will need a digital antenna, however many people in rural, suburbs and even in parts of the city have difficulty getting a good consistent signal.

    I’ve commented this to numerous people I know who have “cut the cable” – if you believe media/broadcasting giants won’t find a way to get their money out of customers, you’re living in denial. I expect streaming service to implement the “to get only one specific thing, you’ll have to get the bundle/package” model. Just like Cable and SAT.

  3. pdx soccerfan

    February 23, 2021 at 1:50 pm

    Agreed. Tried YouTube TV for a week and found it sorely lacking compared to TiVO. Streaming interface and functionality has a lot to catch up to DVR functionality of Xfinity DVR or TiVO with cable card.

  4. JJ Causey

    February 22, 2021 at 10:22 pm

    Cable households spend on average $49 per month on streaming, the same as cordcutters. So the answer is absolutely yes.

  5. Senor Buckwheat

    February 22, 2021 at 10:06 pm

    Streaming sports blows. Until I can start at the beginning while the game is still going on and not know the score, able to pause, rewind, go slow motion while game is on, I’ll take cable with a DVR any day. I can’t make every game when it starts. I like to rewind for a period before a goal to see when and how the side that did not score lost the ball. I like to be able to go slow motion, frame by frame to observe fouls, etc. Plus on a DVR, I can see future recordings and be reminded right then when games are coming on. I watch less soccer now since a lot has switched to streaming.

  6. Eric T

    February 22, 2021 at 3:42 pm

    Hopefully at some point regulators can finally enable companies to offer true La Carte services and allow consumers to pick the channels they want. We are still a long way away from that, though.

  7. succa99

    February 21, 2021 at 9:51 pm

    It feels like the business model of cable tv with the cost of TV rights will always force soccer fans to have to get multiple services in order to follow their teams. Like NBC SN (or soon USA) and Peacock for the Premier League, ESPN+ for the FA Cup and League Cups, and CBS All Access for European competitions. Live sports is probably the only think keeping cable tv alive.

  8. David K.

    February 21, 2021 at 9:24 pm

    It will be interesting to see if linear sports channels like ESPN, Fox, and TUDN develop OTT streaming options apart from cable packages. Imagine how great an ESPN All Access would be, for example. There has got to be a signifucant market willing to pay for this content without being roped into a cable package where one has to pay for channels they will never watch.

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