To Stream or Not to Stream? We Compare TV Streaming Services to Cable TV

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Written by: Contributor | Best Company Editorial Team

Last Updated: April 14th, 2020

Technology has evolved tremendously in the last decade. With the power of the Internet, online streaming is quickly becoming a popular way to view a wide variety of programming. Cable TV has also transformed the way we watch and record our favorite shows. With new features and programs becoming available on digital cable all the time, the debate burns on. With pros and cons on each side, it is smart to compare online TV streaming to cable services before deciding which option is right for you.

Big Providers Lead the Businesses

The big cable companies offer premium services, but often come with premium subscription fees. If you are a television guru with a long list of preferred programming, having a reliable cable provider will ensure you easily stay up to date with network broadcasts. With the ability to PVR cable programming, getting into the latest episode of your hit show has never been more convenient or easy to do.

Another benefit of choosing a leading cable company for service is being able to watch your local and world news broadcasts. These broadcasts are available online, but there is something to be said for being able to watch a full newscast on time, on a daily basis. Another favorite feature of cable TV is premium sports coverage. Most games are available online, but the included coverage is usually quite good with most cable providers. Even if online streaming is an option for your sporting event, be wary of lag time and slower connections that can lead to missed moments of an important game.

Premium Connection Required to Support Streaming

Netflix and other TV streaming services have done a great job of making most shows, movies, and programs accessible online. These services cost a fraction of the price of cable services, and offer quality viewing at any time of the day. One thing you will need if you are planning on using online streaming for all of your viewing needs is a quality internet connection. Slow connections and devices can lead to more frustration than enjoyment when streaming television online. If you are looking to ditch cable and opt in to online streaming, make sure you have a quality internet connection to support network requirements.

The Cost and Value of Your Preferred Viewing

Although some online streaming is done on a subscription basis, there are also many other sites where you can watch programming for free. Make sure that the service you are using is legit, as illegal operations come and go all the time. You could find yourself in trouble if you use illegal streaming services. Most networks offer streaming on their own websites, and are a safer bet for watching your favorite shows for free online. Although you will not be able to watch at the time cable airs the program, the content is usually available for online viewing within a day or two.

As the options expand, viewers are able to tune into television content easier, and in more ways then ever. Which option is better is really a matter of opinion. If you are looking to save money, ditching cable TV can mean significant instant savings, but online streaming is not necessarily of the same quality as a cable subscription. If you are not tech savvy or up to the challenge, online streaming could end up costing more time and frustration than you can afford.

The Top Streaming TV Companies

company logo
#1 Netflix chevron_right
9.3 Overall Score
4.4
starstarstarstarstar_half
(1,390)
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#2 Amazon Prime chevron_right
7.7 Overall Score
4.2
starstarstarstarstar_half
(688)
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#3 YouTube chevron_right
7.5 Overall Score
4.4
starstarstarstarstar_half
(649)

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