The Economical US Cable TV Subscription Option

The short answer is that cord cutting is a lie. The cord has changed. The most economical TV subscription service if you want on-demand iPhone and Apple TV support for a good mix of legacy cable TV shows, sports, and  news, is your Internet Service Provider bundle. Here’s my detailed spreadsheet comparing:

  1. Sling
  2. PlayStation Vue
  3. DirecTV NOW
  4. RCN (my local ISP)
  5. Verizon Fios
  6. YouTube

For some baseline, I currently share Netflix and Hulu, I’ve used a shared Xfinity account and that was really easy to use with compatibility for iPhone and Apple TV apps. The green cells are channels/features I use daily, the rest are good to have. Here’s the spreadsheet:

Cord cutting continues to be a marketing term. Video On Demand whenever, wherever was my definition of TV in the days of Netflix. Perhaps, Netflix is what has set this baseline for services. As Netflix ($12) becomes more of a cable channel, legacy cable channels are adopting to be more like Netflix. HBO ($15), Showtime ($11) and CBS ($6) have joined the subscription model. But do these independent services and combinations get you the television content you need, when you need, at an affordable price?

For users watching limited TV and wanting options, throw Amazon Prime ($9) / Hulu ($8) in the mix and you can end up with combinations of multiple services for a month or 2 to see your preferred shows. The 12 weeks of GoT, you can get HBO, when House of Cards drops, you get Netflix, and so on…

However, if you’re like me who likes Video on Demand and watches more TV than acceptable by Indian parents, it’s really challenging to sign up & cancel subscriptions. And there’s legacy cable shows from ABC, FOX, CBS, NBC, news from CNN and Comedy Central, the occasional EPL game. With all these channels and shows, you soon end up wanting normal cable.