The cable TV world is changing at a dizzying pace: Time Warner Cable is now Spectrum; Comcast is expanding its Xfinity service; and the hottest new rumor is that Verizon might buy Charter.
It all has customers like Sheila Topmiller reeling, because she says every time something changes, her bill jumps again.
"It went from $152 to $180 when I got my first new Spectrum bill," Topmiller said. "That's a $28 increase in one month."
The result: A lot of people are considering buying an antenna for local stations, then streaming their favorite cable shows, even HBO and ESPN, which are now finally available for streaming after years of holding out.
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Add in Sling TV, Sony's PlayStation Vue, DirecTV Now, Hulu Plus and Netflix, and you can now watch almost all the programming you used to have on cable without the big cable bill.
Or so it would seem.
Unfortunately, cutting the cable cord can cost more than you think. Just run some numbers:
- SlingTV, PlayStation Vue, or DirecTV Now all cost roughly $35 per month to stream live TV service via an internet line.
- HBO's streaming package costs $15 per month.
- Netflix costs $9 per month.
- And don't forget high-speed internet, at roughly $45 per month.
Forget about budget internet plans for $25 a month. Spectrum is ending Time Warner's value internet plans, which most recently were $29 a month.
Even if you can still find a cheaper, lower-speed internet plan, you will be frustrated trying to stream so much television content and movies.
You're now up to $105 per month, which may leave you saying "doesn't that stink."
But wait, there's more, as the infomercials used to say. Do you want some sort of DVR service? After all, most of these services still don't offer full DVR time-shifting service.
Without a DVR, to watch new episodes of current TV shows you'd likely need to add Hulu Plus which costs another $9, so you are now up to almost $115 a month.
Not as Convenient
Worse, the silicon valley website TechTimes.com says none of these duplicate the full "cable experience," with full-feature DVR, on-demand movies, and ease of picking up just one remote and surfing channels, with a beer in one hand and your head on the arm of the couch.
You will constantly be shuffling between different TV inputs and devices.
You'll also need an antenna for local TV stations, and with some of these services, you still won't get ESPN.
So add up what these new services will cost. If it's much over $110 per month, cable may be worth keeping just for the convenience.
That way you don't waste your money.
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“Don't Waste Your Money” is a registered trademark of Scripps Media, Inc. (“Scripps”). John Matarese reports on deals and scams so you Don't Waste Your Money. "Like" his page on Facebook and follow him on Twitter @JohnMatarese.