Cable TV vs. Online Streaming: Which is the Better Option?

In the current era, streaming has become a necessity for entertainment geeks. According to Statista, there were 232 million active online streamers in the US till the first quarter of 2021. Netflix, Hulu, Prime Video are among the popular streaming platforms.

Are you looking to choose between video services on a flat-screen cable TV and online streaming services? If yes. You are at the right place. We will discuss the differences between the two to help you find the best option based on your entertainment needs!

Cable vs. Online Streaming Channels

Only a couple of online streaming services have crossed the 100-channel threshold, while the cable and satellite TV providers offer various plans, with up to 200 or even 300 channels.

However, they may not provide the latest channels you want, such as home shopping and audio music networks. So, cable and satellite TV only win the quantity challenge.

Otherwise, OTT media platforms like Hulu also manage to offer 70+ live TV channels for streaming but bear in mind. It is only available in the US.

This means, if you want to watch Hulu in the UK or any other country, you will have to use a VPN service. As a result, some may think this to be a hassle!

Regardless, the benefits far outweigh the cons, and Cable TV does fall short in delivering quality content to audiences, hence why people shift to online channels.

Cable TV vs. Online Streaming Contracts

No streaming service provider only contracts for a year except AT&T TV. The monthly subscription is also available for all the best streaming services.

Similarly, cable and satellite TV services, in most cases, require a one – or two-year contract. Some of them will be almost double the price after the first year of a two-year contract which is quite offensive.

However, some cable and satellite services will offer no-contract options, such as Xfinity, but they tend to be more expensive. In contrast, Online Streaming is relatively transparent.

Online streaming apps open up a whole other world of possibilities to you. For example, Google-Channel-store provides access to thousands of apps and species.

Many of them are free. You’re limited to the 50-300 channels in your package with cable TV, and many of them don’t even host popular movies/TV shows.

Cable vs. Streaming Cost

In the early days of online streaming, signing up for platforms like Hulu and Netflix was relatively cheaper. However, over time as people start indulging in cord-cutting, top streaming services like Hulu + Live TV  and YouTube TV regularly raise their prices.

The cost overview of popular online streaming platforms and Cable TV is given below.

Online Streaming Cost
Platform Monthly Price & Channels
Hulu + Live TV $64.99–$70.99 (70+ channels)
YouTube TV $64.99 (100+ channels)
Philo $25.00 (63+ channels)
fuboTV $64.99–$74.99 (109–156+ channels)
Sling TV $35.00–$50.00 (30–50+ channels)
Cost of Cable TV
Spectrum $44.99–94.99 (125–200+ channels)
Xfinity $49.99–$89.99 (140–220+ channels)
Cox $25.00–$69.99 (75–140+ channels)
Sparklight $15.00–$84.00 (27–100+ channels)
Suddenlink $79.99–$129.99 (225–290+ channels)


The Bottom Line

Both Cable TV and online streaming have some unique features. The former offers comparatively more channels, whereas the latter provides more advanced options. Choosing the best one depends upon your budget, taste, and preferences. I hope the above comparison will help you to reach a better choice.