If you’re paying more than $100 per month for traditional cable or satellite TV — which is about the national average — money expert Clark Howard has encouraged you to consider live TV streaming services that start around $40 per month.
Team Clark hears from people who’ve made the switch and love it, but others aren’t sure streaming services are a better deal.
The truth is that both TV services have their pros and cons. Cable TV is more expensive than streaming services like YouTube TV, DirecTV Now, Sling TV, Hulu with Live TV and PlayStation Vue — but you generally get more channels with cable.
In addition, streaming services require a high-speed internet connection, which isn’t necessary for cable subscribers.
Comparison chart: Key differences between cable TV and live TV streaming services
Need a little help to sort it all out? We did our best to put together this comparison chart that shows the key differences between a typical cable TV package and a typical streaming TV package.
Use this as a tool to help you decide whether cable or streaming will be the best fit for your household:
|Typical cable TV package||Typical streaming TV package|
|Number of channels||150+||50+|
|Cable box or equipment fees||Yes||No|
|Internet connection||Not required||Required|
|Premium networks (HBO, Cinemax, SHOWTIME)||Extra monthly fee||Extra monthly fee|
|Watch anywhere from phone, computer or TV||Less flexibility||Greater flexibility|
|Contract or cancellation fees||Yes/Sometimes||Generally no|
|Broadcast TV and sports fees||Yes||No|
|Free trial period||No||Yes|
Finding an affordable streaming service with a channel lineup that meets your wants and needs may be the biggest challenge.
The leading live TV streaming services still don’t let you pick and choose the channels you want, but most of them include popular networks like ESPN, Disney, HGTV, Bravo, CNN, Fox Sports 1, TBS, TNT and USA.
If you ditch that $100 monthly cable TV bill and sign up for a $40 per month streaming service, you’ll save $720 in just one year.
Team Clark has been testing various live TV streaming services over the past few months. Some of the key differences are price, channel lineup, DVR, supported devices and the ability to watch multiple streams at once.
Read about Clark’s favorite and compare your options in our guide to the best live TV streaming plans and deals!
More Clark.com stories you may like:
- DirecTV Now: Why Clark Howard has changed his mind
- 5 things to know before you sign up for Sling TV
- PlayStation Vue: 4 things to know about the live TV streaming service
- Should you sign up for YouTube TV?
- 4 things to know about Hulu’s live TV streaming service