What is a Channel Subscription?
Channel subscriptions are a fairly new concept. You could always pay extra money on your cable bill for TV stations like Home Box Office (HBO), STARZ or Showtime but now, with more people turning to streaming services, more channels are offering a subscription option where you can pay for content from that network or channel exclusively.
For example, right now I pay for Amazon Prime, HBO, Funimation, Netflix and Hulu. Literally everything I could ever want to watch is on one of those subscription services and, if it isn’t, there is a good chance I can find it somewhere on the web. These five services cost me about $50 per month, which isn’t bad considering some of the steep cable prices and I can cancel any of the services without penalty whenever I’d like. So, if I want to cut back one month I can cut some subscriptions and just start them back up down the road. Many people are switching to this kind of home entertainment but are channel subscriptions cheaper and do they provide the same quality?
Channel Subscriptions vs. Cable
Personally, channel subscriptions are the way to go for me. I can pay my internet and “cable” bill for less than $100 per month and watch everything I would normally watch and more. Deciding whether or not relying on channel subscriptions would be a good fit for you, you’ll have a few things to consider:
- How many channels do you watch? I never watched TV religiously so having a plethora of channels to mindlessly scroll through didn’t matter much. I only watched the news (which I can stream online) and a few TV shows (most of which are available on one of my streaming services). Most other times the TV was just background noise. If you watch a ton of your current channels, however, you may not want to son cider a channel subscription service. Additionally, some services won’t have your favorite channel or favorite show. For instance, Hulu doesn’t stream “The Daily Show” so I have to find it elsewhere.
- Do you have to watch your shows on time? If watching your shows at the same time as everyone else matters to you, don’t switch to a subscription service. Even my HBO service takes a day to update and Hulu can takes days (or even a week sometimes). This means having to wait a while to see some of the shows you want to see but it can mean serious savings.
- What is your budget? Most people consider switching to channel subscriptions so that they can save money. Before establishing which subscription services you’d like you should have a budget in mind. Remember that in order to have channel subscriptions you will need internet and a device to watch your content on.
- What are cable/internet prices in your area and how do they compare? In my area the average internet-cable package runs around $150 per month. Essentially, switching to channel subscriptions saved me about $50 per month. That won’t be the case for every city in every state though. Be sure to calculate your “stacked” channel subscriptions and internet price and then compare it with the price of cable in your area to be sure switching is a good idea.
- Are you in a contract with your cable company? Lastly, find out whether or not you are contractually bound to stay with your current provider. If you’ve signed up for a year or more getting out of your contract early could be costly and, frankly, not worth switching over.
Before you make a decision be sure to keep keep each of the above in mind. Also, note that most channel subscriptions have at least a one week free trial (so you can try it out before you commit). Many people are turning to channel subscriptions like the ones mentioned in this article to replace their current television provider. For me, and many others, it is a great way to save some extra money.
Do you use a streaming service or channel subscription instead of traditional cable? How much do you save?
Photo: Tom’s Guide