The Big Question: Do I Need Cable?

Moving is a chance at new beginnings. A new home, new circle of friends, new job, new city, and new favorite restaurants. And maybe, just maybe, a new way to watch TV?

More and more people are “cutting the cord” and freeing themselves of cable bills once and for all.

Should you do the same?

To decide, let’s take a look at what options are available to you these days, besides cable.

For Live Events

HD Antenna — For as low as $10, you can purchase a high-quality antenna to attach to your television, which will get you free access to most cable network channels, allowing you watch live events like the Super Bowl and the Oscars.

For Your Favorite Shows

Hulu Plus — For cable networks shows like The Voice and Modern Family, Hulu Plus lets you stream shows from channels like FOX, NBC, ABC, Comedy Central and FX for only $7.99/month. Add CBS shows for an additional $5.99/month.

Dish Network’s Sling TV — For $20/month, you’ll get access to most cable content, including shows from channels like AMC, TNT, TBS, A&E, ABC Family and more.

A La Carte — You can also buy seasons (and individual episodes… but who does that?) of most cable network shows on iTunes and Amazon Instant Video.

Streaming Services — It’s worth mentioning that streaming services like Netflix ($7.99/month) and Amazon Prime ($99/year) are producing more and more top-quality content. If you’re not attached to any cable network shows, but are generally hankering for quality television, either of these services would serve you well. House of Cards (Netflix) and Transparent (Amazon Prime) are great places to start!

Amazon Prime also provides add-on subscription options for Showtime and Starz ($8.99/month each), and for the Game of Thrones junkies out there, HBO provides a streaming service called HBO Now, which is $15/month.

For Movies

For pay-as-you-go movies on demand you can use Amazon Prime, iTunes, CinemaNow, Google Play and YouTube and Blockbuster OnDemand. Movies are usually around $10–15 to purchase and $2–6 to rent, depending on release date and whether or not they’re HD.

You can also rent DVDs at Redbox locations for around $2/day, and there are even a few Blockbuster locations still alive and kicking!

For Sports

Sports continues to be cable’s biggest claim to fame. If you’re a die-hard sports fan, it might be difficult for you to ditch cable and still be happy.

Network sports can be accessed with an antenna, and Sling TV can get you ESPN and ESPN 2, as well as other networks like ESPN U and the SEC Network (among others) for an extra $5/month. Sling TV has had connectivity problems during large events in the past, however.

To watch non-local teams play, you’ll need to get a specific league package, such as NBA League Pass, MLB.tv, MLS, NFL Game Rewind (no live games though) and NHL Gamecenter Live.


Depending on your preferences, it seems pretty clear to me that cable is slowly becoming obsolete. Mixing and matching the above options can get you pretty much everything cable does, for way less money.

Check out the The Verge and Slate for some helpful “calculators” to see how much money you could actually save if you bailed on your cable subscription.

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