When it comes to home entertainment, many Americans face one resounding choice: cable or streaming?
For decades, cable TV has dominated the home entertainment space —monopolizing the best channels, movies, series, documentaries, reality TV channels, sports networks and more.
But now, cable companies are feeling the heat as TV streaming services become more popular.
In the last decade, streaming has taken a gigantic leap forward. Today, there are approximately 50 streaming services in the US alone, all offering content and features that have begun to convert even the most die-hard cable TV fans.
The best TV streaming services are becoming more and more popular, as they offer a variety of channels and content that can be streamed at any time. This is putting pressure on cable companies, which are struggling to keep up with the competition.
So, where is the home entertainment industry going? Is cable still worth it in 2023?
The rise of TV streaming services in the US has been meteoric. In 2010, there were only 3 major streaming services available: Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime.
Today, the number of streaming services has increased to over 50, with new ones launching every year. This increase in competition has been good for consumers, as it has driven down prices and forced streaming companies to offer more value for money.
The best TV streaming services offer a variety of content that can be streamed at any time. This is putting pressure on cable companies, which are struggling to keep up with the competition.
Long gone are the days of Americans having to search the internet for unknown streaming sites that were littered with ads, low-quality content and dodgy links.
Now, there are a whole host of streaming services that offer a wide range of content, from movies and TV shows to live sports and news channels.
This abundance of choice has made it difficult for cable companies to keep up. In the past, they could rely on the fact that there were few alternatives to their service. But now, with so many streaming services available, consumers are beginning to question whether cable is still worth the money.
Today, streaming a movie or series online feels as professional, easy and immersive as going to the cinema, or watching a well-known cable channel.
From the interface, to the content and intuitive searchability — streaming sites are pouring big money into their platforms to rival that of cable TV. In fact, streaming companies like Amazon Prime, Apple TV and Netflix are doing so well, they’re able to create or buy their own move studios.
In 2021, Amazon bought MGM Studios, a movie-making giant, in an $8.4 billion deal. MGM Studios is well known for their massive blockbuster films like Bond films, Lord of the Rings, Legally Blonde, the Rocky Balboa films, 21 and 22 Jump Street and more.
In addition, Netflix pays upward of $2 million per episode of Stranger Things and The Crown. The power and growth of streaming platforms have become undeniable in the home entertainment space, with cable companies struggling to retain customers.
The answer is: not really.
Cable companies are losing customers at an alarming rate, with many people making the switch to streaming services. In fact, in 2020 alone, over 8 million Americans cut the cord and cancelled their cable TV subscription.
The trend looks set to continue, as more and more people become aware of the best TV streaming services available.
Cable companies are struggling to keep up for a number of reasons:
- They’re expensive: The average cable bill in the US is $99 per month, which is much higher than the price of most streaming services. For example, Netflix costs $13 per month, while Amazon Prime costs $12 per month.
- They offer poor value for money: Cable companies often bundle channels together, meaning that consumers end up paying for channels that they never watch.
- They’re inflexible: Cable companies typically require customers to sign long-term contracts, which can be difficult to get out of. In contrast, most streaming services offer a month-to-month subscription, so you can cancel at any time.
- They have poor customer service: Cable companies have a reputation for providing poor customer service, with many people having difficulty getting in touch with someone when they need to.
The bottom line is that cable companies are struggling to keep up with the best TV streaming services. They’re expensive, inflexible and offer poor value for money. As a result, more and more people are opting to cancel their cable TV subscription in favor of a streaming service.
There are some cable TV companies that are managing to hold on and do a fairly good job at keeping up with streaming companies — mostly because they are owned and backed by tech or communications corporations.
This means that they have the financial power to offer viewers good content and premium channels like SHOWTIME, HBO Max, Starz and more.
AT&T, which offers cable via DirecTV and internet services, is worth $266 billion. Imagine, as a cable provider, having that backing as your starting point?
Cable TV can also offer something that some streaming platforms don’t —live sport and 24/7 news channels like ESPN, CNN, NBC, Fox and more. Many people choose cable over streaming so that they can have access to these channels.
A powerful driving factor for viewers is the fact that having cable TV also often means you can bundle this with your internet and voice package—paying one price instead of two or three. Spectrum, which is owned by Charter Communications, is well known for its TV bundles and affordable pricing, offering three packages that include cable TV, voice and internet, starting from $99 per month.
Another smart addition to cable bundles is the streaming services themselves. Cable TV now includes Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu and more — as an added feature to your package. As if this wasn’t enough, some telecommunications companies are offering free programming. Comcast, which owns NBC Universal, created Peacock — another top streaming service — and struck a deal for its broadband customers to receive about 15,000 hours of free streaming.
Best known for:
Its streaming service offers on-demand streaming of a library of films and television series, including those produced in-house. The platform has something for everyone, with a wide range of genres available to stream. You can watch Netflix on your TV, computer, phone or tablet.
Best known for:
its vast library of movies and TV shows.
If you're not already an Amazon Prime member, you can sign up for a free trial or pay $8.99 per month. With Prime Video, you get access to a growing selection of movies and TV shows, including Amazon Originals like The Grand Tour, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, and Jack Ryan. You can also rent or buy newer releases like Aquaman and Bumblebee.
Best known for:
Its on-demand streaming service, which offers access to a wide variety of TV shows, movies, and other content. However, the company also offers a live TV option, which gives users the ability to watch live and on-demand TV from a single platform. Hulu's live TV offering includes a base package with over 50 channels, as well as add-on bundles for sports, news, and more.
Hulu is one of the best choices for cord-cutters who want to ditch their cable TV subscription but still want to watch live and on-demand TV. The company's live TV offering includes a base package with over 50 channels, as well as add-on bundles for sports, news, and more. In addition to its live TV offering, Hulu also provides an extensive on-demand library of TV shows, movies, and other content.
While there are many great TV streaming services available, Hulu is a top choice for cord cutting individuals who want the best of both worlds: live and on-demand TV.
Best known for:
Its à la carte TV packages, which allow you to pick and choose the channels you want to pay for. The company also offers a number of add-on bundles, as well as a base package with over 30 channels. In addition to its live TV offerings, Sling TV also provides an on-demand library of TV shows and movies.
Best known for:
Its wide selection of channels, which includes all the major broadcast networks, as well as popular cable networks like ESPN, TNT, and TBS. The service also offers a cloud DVR with unlimited storage space, so you can record as much TV as you want.
YouTube TV is a great choice for cord-cutters who want a traditional TV experience but don't want to pay for it. The service offers a wide selection of channels, including all the major broadcast networks, as well as popular cable networks like ESPN, TNT, and TBS. And best of all, YouTube TV comes with a cloud DVR with unlimited storage space, so you can record as much TV as you want.
Best known for:
Like Netflix, Apple TV+ is known for its original programming, which includes live channel shows like The Morning Show, See, and For All Mankind. The service is also home to a growing selection of films and documentaries.
Apple TV+ is a great choice for cord-cutters who are looking for an alternative to the traditional cable TV experience. The service offers a wide selection of channels, including all the major broadcast networks, as well as popular cable networks like ESPN, TNT, and TBS. And best of all, Apple TV+ comes with a cloud DVR with unlimited storage space, so you can record as much TV as you want.
Best known for:
Its extensive library of movies and TV shows, which includes all of HBO's best-known programming, as well as a selection of Max Originals. The service also offers a number of kid-friendly shows and movies.
HBO Max is a great choice for cord-cutters who want the best of both worlds: HBO's extensive library of movies and TV shows, as well as a selection of Max Originals. The service offers a wide selection of channels, including all of HBO's best-known programming, as well as a number of kid-friendly shows and movies.
A staple in home television, HBO has been making award-winning TV shows and documentaries for decades. HBO Max offers their entire catalogue, which includes The White Lotus, The Deuce, Euphoria, Silicon Valley, The Wire, Oz, West world and more. HBO Max is the definition of premium content.
Yes, you can keep your cable or satellite TV package and use a streaming TV service at the same time. In fact, many cord-cutters do just that.
There are a few things to keep in mind, though. First, you'll need to make sure that your streaming TV service offers all the channels that you want to watch. Not all streaming services carry every channel, so you'll need to check before you sign up.
Second, you'll need to make sure that your home internet connection is fast enough to stream TV without any issues. Most streaming services recommend a minimum download speed of 5 Mbps for HD quality video.
Finally, you may need to upgrade your home entertainment setup if you want to take full advantage of all that streaming TV has to offer. That means investing in a good streaming device and a reliable home internet connection.
But if you can make it work, using a streaming TV service and your cable or satellite TV package at the same time is a great way to get the best of both worlds.
If you're ready to cut the cord for good, you may be wondering if you need a streaming device or a smart TV. The short answer is that it depends.
You could use a smart TV, chances are that it already has all the apps you need to start live streaming your favorite shows and movies. You can usually find these apps in your TV's app store.
However, if you don't have a smart TV, you'll need a streaming device in order to watch TV via streaming. Some of the most popular streaming devices include the Roku Streaming Stick+, the Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K, and the Apple TV 4K.
In general, we recommend using a streaming device over a smart TV. That's because streaming devices are usually cheaper and offer more flexibility when it comes to choosing which apps to use.
However, the decision ultimately comes down to personal preference. If you have a smart TV and you're happy with the apps that it offers, there's no need to get a streaming device. But if you want more control over what you watch, or if you want to save money, a streaming device is the way to go.
Yes, you can get local channels on different streaming apps. In fact, many cord-cutters use a combination of streaming services to get all the channels they want.
For example, you might use one streaming service like Disney Plus for your kids to watch and another for your local channels. Or you might use one streaming service for live TV and another for on-demand shows and movies.
The Digital age has ushered in a new form of enjoying entertainment, with more and more people cord-cutting and becoming TV streamers, choosing to watch their favorite shows on Disney Plus or Pluto TV.
But this doesn't mean broadcast and cable TV stations are completely obsolete. Although cable TV and streaming both offer their pros and cons, streaming is proving to be the stronger candidate when it comes to home entertainment. With HomeLinkd’s top Wi-Fi packages, you can enjoy all of the above streaming services and more.