Streaming vs. Cable
Explore the Pros and Cons of Each Home Entertainment Option
Have you heard the phrase “cutting the cord” and are curious about what that means? Traditionally, the average home relied solely on the cable company to watch TV. These days, you no longer need cable to provide this service, as streaming has wholly transformed the media landscape by bringing almost anything you can think of to your TV in a moment.
Streaming is an alternative to cable at a lower cost. A “Cord Cutter” refers to a customer who has stopped paying specifically for cable service, and started streaming shows through their internet connection. The only thing you need to start streaming is an Internet connection, a streaming device (like an AppleTV or Amazon Firestick), a TV, and downloaded apps with free or paid subscriptions.
Are you intrigued in the concept and think it may be right for you? To guide you through the options, we’ve outlined how they stack up in a variety of categories to see what the best fit is for your Pennsylvania home.
Cable packages can cost upwards of $200 per month. Subscriptions for streaming services like Hulu, Sling TV, Direct TV Now, Netflix, and Amazon Video are more affordable than standard cable packages, as even the most expensive streaming services are anywhere from $5 to $50 per month. The only downside is you may have to subscribe to multiple services to find all the channels or shows you want.
Streaming offers greater flexibility in a variety of ways. For one, you only need to subscribe to the channels you want. Also, you can watch from anywhere, as long as you have access to a smartphone or tablet.
With streaming services, you pay month to month and you can cancel at any time. Cable companies often ask for one-or two-year commitments (which can be expensive – just ask anyone who has dealt with a hefty penalty from a cable company who cancelled before the contract was up!).
One plus for the Cable, is that packages offer up to 500 channels, much more than you'll ever be able to get from a streaming service. This can make a particularly big difference for sports fans. They would have to combine various services (FuboTV, ESPN+, MLB Stream, YouTube TV) to follow their favorite teams. Music channels like MTV and BET are equally hard to find in streaming packages.
And if watching live events are not a big priority, services like Hulu, Netflix, and Amazon Video do offer a lot of TV shows and movie catalogs. You'll be able to binge-watch shows, catch up on the latest releases and reconnect with older classics. These services even offer recommendations so that you can discover new content based on your viewing habits.
With streaming, you can watch at any time there’s Internet access - even in severe weather conditions that may derail your cable or satellite signal. But you'll need a streaming device like a Roku Stick, Fire Stick, Chromecast, or a Smart TV to get that content to play on your brand new 4K Ultra HD TV. Then you’ll have to maneuver their respective apps to find what you want.
With cable TV you get to keep that old-school channel surfing going, but you’re still at the whims of the TV scheduling gods. For this reason, cable packages usually include more DVR capabilities and storage than streaming. If you’re patient, streaming services like Hulu and DirectTV now offer video on demand to watch episodes on delay at your convenience.
Not sure which fit is best for you? Try doing a free trial of some of the most popular streaming services to see just how natural it feels to use their apps.
Streaming services require you to have access to high-speed internet at all times to watch content. Without the right internet package and installation, you’ll end up with buffering, freezing, or low-quality signals. This is especially important now that most companies offer 4K Ultra HD streams. We recommend taking advantage of XFINITY’s gigabit service if it’s available in your area. If not, make sure your package offers at least 50 Mbps.
What's the Final Verdict
Do you like to binge-watch shows and aren't interested in keeping up with live events or the latest episodes? Then streaming might be the best option to serve you well. Are you a sports fan that likes to flip between five different games during the weekend? If so, you might want to stick with your cable subscription.
As you can see, the choice will depend on what you want to watch and how you want to watch it. In many cases, a hybrid option may be the best bet. EdgeUP Technology can bolster your internet and control solutions for smooth viewing either way.
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