Yes, Cord Cutting Is Still Worth It

You just have to be pickier now

Key Takeaways

  • New streaming services keep releasing, and prices keep going up for current offerings like YouTube TV.
  • The cord-cutting world has become fragmented over the years since cutting cable off first became popular.
  • Despite the cost of many of the current streaming platforms, experts say it’s still worth cutting the cord, as long as you can be selective with what you want.
Closeup of metal scissors cutting a black wire.

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The idea of cutting the cord and saving money by shutting your cable off has been popular for years, but as the streaming market becomes more fragmented, experts warn that users have to be a bit more selective about the options they choose.

Several years ago, cutting the cord was a way of making a statement—of finally ridding yourself of the expensive cable plan you’d spent years paying for and never using. Back then, there weren’t as many streaming platforms, which meant you could save a lot of money by just picking up something like Netflix or Hulu.

Now, though, as more streaming services arrive each year, and prices on subscriptions like YouTube TV continue going up, experts say cord-cutting may not seem like it’s worth it, but it can still save you a lot of money if you can learn to live without some things.

"In my view, saving money is still the best reason to cut the cord. It's absolutely true that some streaming services are pretty expensive, and streaming isn't a silver bullet, but I think people tend to conflate different types of entertainment setups when they talk about 'cord-cutting'," Stephen Lovely, the managing editor of CordCutting.com, explained in an email. "Cord-cutting really just means canceling cable, and that's going to save you money."

Finding Alternatives

For Lovely, one of the most significant benefits of cutting the cord is still saving yourself money. Many current cable plans can cost upwards of $100 a month, depending on the plan that you choose to go with. This price can vary as companies often offer bundles with internet or phone service, and taking advantage of those options may be good for some.

"If you focus on only what you actually want to watch, there's a good chance you can get it all for less than cable costs."

Still, if you aren’t using your cable all that much, Lovely says it might be worth looking into cutting the cord and investing in a few particular streaming services.

"I do think that truly replacing cable with live TV streaming is a little less viable than it once was," he explained. 

"This is particularly true if you have a landline, since your unbundled costs for internet and phone could shoot up by more than you save by switching from cable to a live TV streaming service. But I think it's important to remember that you don't have to buy a live TV streaming service."

For many, that’s an important point to take into account. While services like YouTube TV may be tempting to subscribe to, you can instead rely on on-demand services like Netflix or Hulu, which offer plenty of different shows and movies.

And, if you feel the need to subscribe to a live TV option, Lovely recommends going for one without any kind of contract. That way, you can cancel it whenever you feel you don’t need it anymore.

Pick and Choose

Ultimately, as more and more users start to cut the cord, we’ll likely continue to see the prices increase for live tv subscriptions, especially if estimations that 35.4% of Americans will have cut the cord by 2024 come true. The key to not becoming too lost in the various options is to pick and choose what you absolutely need.

A flat screen TV on a stand, displaying the Disney+ streaming service.

Marques Kaspbrak / Unsplash

One of the biggest positives about cable is the number of channels you’re given access to. But, if you don’t use all those channels, paying for them can be a waste.

"I think the main thing that would-be cord-cutters need to do is decide what they can't live without," he explained. 

"There are certainly some people out there who should have cable, and that's fine. But if you only need certain things, you'll probably find that you save money," Lovely said.

"If you set out to replicate every channel and TV show you get with cable, then, yeah, that's going to cost at least as much as cable already does. But if you focus on only what you actually want to watch, there's a good chance you can get it all for less than cable costs."

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