Cutting the cable connection to coax connector illustrating people cancelling cable TV service
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Our Rebuttal to the Quartz Story “Streaming’s live-TV bundles aren’t actually saving cord-cutters money compared to cable”

Cutting the cable connection to coax connector illustrating people cancelling cable TV serviceYesterday, Quartz published a story titled, “Streaming’s live-TV bundles aren’t actually saving cord-cutters money compared to cable.” As you may expect that didn’t seem to make sense to me, so I started to dig around to learn more.

The short rundown of the story was it costs more to use live TV streaming services like Sling TV, PlayStation Vue, YouTube TV, and DIRECTV NOW vs just getting cable TV and internet in a bundle.

The first question I had is what did Quartz use to come up with these numbers. At no point in the story did they disclose what price they used for their cable TV and internet bundle or what companies they compared streaming to.

We emailed Quartz and M Science asking if they would tell us what pricing they used to compare live TV streaming to, what cable TV companies they compared, did these prices include taxes (many streaming services do not have the same taxes cable TV has), fees, and other hidden costs. Also, was this cable TV and internet bundle Quartz said was cheaper a promotional introductory offer?

The author at Quartz was nice and quickly replied saying we needed to talk with M Science about these questions because they sent her the data. We pushed to see if we could get more details and was told again that only M Science could hand over that data.

Breaking Down the Study

M Science was kind enough to chat with Cord Cutters News on the phone. They explained that they came to these numbers by studying the merchant level spending of the average consumer. That means they looked at how much you paid on average to Comcast but did not know what you paid for. (This info from our understanding from looking data like credit card spending. It shows how much you spent at a store but not what you purchased.)

We asked point blank whether they could confirm that this spending to Comcast was for an internet plus TV bundle. M Science said they did not know what the money was paid for and could not confirm it was for a TV plus internet bundle.

According to Comcast, they have had more internet customers than TV customers since 2015. So it is likely many of these so-called TV plus internet customers are in reality cord cutters paying for internet only. (

From our understanding from our conversation with M Science, it is possible for example that my Spectrum $29.99 a month for 100 Mbps down internet only bill is included in their estimated internet plus TV cost. That is possible because my internet bill is not also tied to a Sling TV bill so all they see is a bill being paid to Spectrum so they are assuming from the best that we can tell that it is for a cable plus TV bill. (In my case this is because my home internet is paid for out of my pocket and streaming services are paid for by Cord Cutters News, LLC.)

This raises the question if I am a cord cutter and pay for internet only out of a credit card in my name but my wife pays for the streaming service in her name would my internet only bill show up in this study as a cable plus TV bill?

As best we can tell the number of live TV streamers is about 5 million (2 million with Sling TV, 1 million DIRECTV NOW, and 2 [maybe 3] million or so with the other networks). Yet there are about 20 to 25 million cord cutters/cord nevers. That means there are anywhere between 15 and 20 million internet-only customers out there who may be counted in this study as cable TV plus internet customers.

The other issue? All the people with a basic locals-only package. Many Americans, including my parents, pay Comcast and other providers over $20 a month for just SD local channels. It is possible that these customers are also included in this study.

In Short

M Science told Cord Cutters News they could not confirm they are comparing like packages. They also could not confirm that their average cost for internet and TV as listed in the Quartz story was only including people paying for TV plus internet.

There are so many factors that go into a Comcast bill. Is this for phone, internet, home security, etc. Comcast now even offers mobile phone plans that could be included with these numbers. It is very possible that for example people on payment plans making small payments to pay off a debt to the cable company are included in that number.

All M Science knows is that this is the average payment to Comcast, not what that payment was for.

What we do know is that The Wall Street Journal said back in 2016 that the average cord cutter saves $104 a month.

Update: After our phone call with M Science we sent a follow up email asking who funded this study. At this time M Science has not responded to our question about the funding behind the study.

What do you think of this report? Leave us a comment and let us know.

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85 Responses to Our Rebuttal to the Quartz Story “Streaming’s live-TV bundles aren’t actually saving cord-cutters money compared to cable”

  1. Avatar
    Bill Eastman January 19, 2018 at 8:14 am #

    Stories like theirs should be required to disclose where they got the data from. Like you said, all they know is you paid Comcast, but for what. If course cable companies guard that information as propriety and won’t seperate the numbers. Much like Dish and ATT does by lumping all subscriptions together.

  2. Avatar
    Toren Hoffmire January 19, 2018 at 8:14 am #

    While reading the study I couldn’t help but think it was either funded or written by a fading cable company executive.

  3. Avatar
    demarcmj January 19, 2018 at 8:15 am #

    I saw that article and it smelled fishy to me as well. There is clearly something wrong with their data (whatever that may be).

    Cord cutting is objectively less convenient than paying for a bundle from the cable company… why would anyone do that if they would end up paying more? They wouldn’t.

  4. Avatar
    Andrew Lindeman January 19, 2018 at 8:18 am #

    I read that article yesterday and thought it was complete BS. Good to ask who paid for it!

    My impression was that they were comparing initial incentive packages to cord cutting- discounts that expire after a year ago.

    Here’s my hard data: last spring my Comcast + Internet bill was $185. This included one non DVR set top box and one cable card for my old Windows Media Center DVR system (with 4 Ceton Echos attached.) Now my bill is: $25 DirectTV Now (get a $25 discount due to my wife’s cellphone), $40 Internet from Verizon Fios, which will go to $80 in 11 months unless I switch back to Comcast to get their $40 intro Internet rate for a while (and only a while, since they have a 1 TB/month cap, which I bumped up against for the three three months I was with Comcast after I “Cut the cord”.

    So even without the DirectTV Now cellphone discount, I went from $185 to $90.

    No more stupid hardware rentals either. I bought a couple of Apple TVs for my main TVs since we prefer it over Rokus and FireTVs. Compared to hardware rentals, they’ll pay for themselves over ~6 months and they greatly helped in the WAF (and kid acceptance factor) after I stopped using Comcast for TV.

  5. Avatar
    Me January 19, 2018 at 8:23 am #

    I would say for me ( and I can only speak for myself ) if I were to try to exactly replicate my current cable package as much as possible. Sure it would cost as much if not more. One reason is my internet is going to cost $10 more per month for not bundling. Of course the key word is replicate. I think most cord cutters aren’t looking for that.

    For example my package include Cinemax( as well as HBO and Showtime ) well I don’t watch Cinemax and wouldn’t purchase it on a streaming package. Doubt if I would purchase Showtime either. So then taking that into account then I am saving with something like DirecTV Now( which has the closest package to my current one sans Showtime, Cinemax ). Though not by much. If I settle for one of their cheaper packages sure then I’m saving. DirecTv lacks many locals so that’s another issue. PS Vue has all but one local but lack many channels and HBO is more expensive than on DirectTV Now.

    So I would say people not trying to replicate cable packages and don’t care about movie channels like HBO will probably save.

  6. Avatar
    Rangerman2002 January 19, 2018 at 8:43 am #

    These are the questions and investigative techniques that the author of the article should have used before she published. But in these days of “everyone’s a journalist” on the internet, very few go the extra mile to ensure accuracy and produce a fair and balanced article. Kudos to you Luke for debunking this feeble attempt at reporting.

  7. Avatar
    Fred Koot January 19, 2018 at 8:43 am #

    I look at it this way. I was paying $50 a month for basic cable. For the same money I get Sling Orange, Netflix, Hulu and Ota Dvr service. Much more for the money.

  8. Avatar
    Brian January 19, 2018 at 8:53 am #

    You rock! Always on top of things Luke. I saw the article in question also, but of course, here was no way to comment on the article. I’m glad you brought it up. I was paying almost $200 for cable which was basic digital cable, 2 DVR boxes and internet. I have since received discounted offers in the mail that would bring me down to $29.99/month. (Oh wait.. that’s for each service and i’m forced to sign up for phone also that I don’t need.) Typical games the cable providers play. Well i’m not into bulking old equipment that actually make noises as they run and sit in my bedroom/living room. I’m love all the new cloud options. I currently have Amazon Prime, so I get free movies there. I subscribe to the lower Netflix package for $9.99. I use Playstation Vue for all my live tv which is now feeding on 4 tv’s (not 2) with the amazing cloud services and all wireless. (I don’t need cable wires run to very bedroom). I’ve also tested sling tv a few times (free), directv now a few times (free), and Hulu (free). I can easily sign up for things as i need them, and cancel just as quickly. I’m not locked into a lifetime contract of crap nor am I playing for a DVR equipment fee, plus DVR service fee. Hell I remember when Brighthouse had a $2.95 remote control fee on my bill. Those were the days! Either way, with my PS Vue and Internet, i’m paying a little over $100 but have much better service, HD and DVR on all my TV’s and remotely and couldn’t be happier.

    P.S. I got an invite to try out the DirecTV Now Beta which included a whopping 20 hours of recorded video. I have yet to be able to log into any of the new Fire TV devices. . I’ve only been able to try it on a browser. Support for the beta is useless as any other AT&T services.

  9. Avatar
    Malignar January 19, 2018 at 9:02 am #

    Thumbs up Luke, good job. I had a Directv cable bill fluctuating between $82 and $100+ a month. I can have all the channels I care about for ~$50 a month with DTVN or Youtube TV and Philo. I can’t figure out how people had super cheap cable bills unless they only have one TV that they watch in Standard Def and have the most basic package. This is a huge savings for anyone with multiple TV’s that wants the sports channels.

  10. Avatar
    Dean G January 19, 2018 at 9:19 am #

    AT&T raised my cable tv to $180 a month, I have business internet so it was always excluded. I now pay $70 a month for multiple services getting more channels I actually watch then before. That is a $110.00 savings each month and for 6 of those months I only paid $56 due to getting a special price. Perhaps Ashley Rodriguez the writer of this ridiculous article will sit down with me to show me how I’m actually paying more. Since clearly basic math isn’t one of her skill sets I would bet this conversation will not go well for her.

  11. Avatar
    Karl Childers January 19, 2018 at 9:36 am #

    For our household cord cutting has not only saved us money but the money that we do spend every month on streaming services gives us a better value. We have access to a lot of commercial free programming, we can move our TVs anywhere in the house without being tethered to coax, we can add more TVs (or mobile devices) without paying additional fees, no contracts or equipment rental fees, and the list goes on.

  12. Avatar
    swkerr January 19, 2018 at 9:47 am #

    At advertised prices Cable and Satellite seem comparable to the new online options for live TV but once you start adding in fees and DVR rental and special packages to get what you want it skyrockets. Perhaps if you would be happy with live TV only and just the Local networks then a combo package is cheaper but start adding the more expensive tiers and it is way over what you can get with online options.

    You can already see the industry moving to online delivery of TV with apps and not hardware. It will not be long before you can only get TV from you cable company as an app. This is where the Net Neutrality issue comes in as they now have the power to make using competing services more expensive and less reliable than there own offering.

    I was less focused on cost than experience. I have spend more money for years supporting my HTPC habit to be able to watch TV the way I wanted rather then being locked into the crap Cable and DVR options offered by the big providers. Fact is buying cheap client hard ware and running apps is just a better experience than any thing offered by Cable and DirecTV.

  13. Avatar
    Lyntill January 19, 2018 at 9:49 am #

    Here are my numbers. I didn’t have a bundle so my costs are TV and Internet only and paid to different companies.

    Before cord cutting I paid Direct TV $144 a month. I found that DirecTV Now’s smallest package had all the channels I regularly watch. My credit card bill shows a charge of $35.00 for DirecTV Now. Apparently there are no added fees or taxes in my state.

    My Internet was and still is with CenturyLink but due to advice found on Cord Cutters I went to my local office and negotiated in person. Looking back my September bill was $89.80. After asking them to lower my bill it is now $44.24 a month for the exact same service. It is DSL 40 Mbps and does the job. We have only 2 choices, CenturyLink and Comcast.

    I have had both Netflix and Amazon Prime for many years so those are not extra charges incurred with cord cutting. I had Hulu on Demand for awhile but found I didn’t use it and have canceled it.

    I did invest in a Tablo, hard drive and $30 indoor antenna to get OTA channels and my savings have already paid for that.

    Currently I figure that my TV and Internet costs have gone from a combined $233.80 to $79.24 monthly, giving me a savings of $154.56 monthly.

    Thanks, Cord Cutters!

    • Avatar
      tommyr January 19, 2018 at 1:33 pm #

      I dumped Spectrum TV last month. It saves me $102 a month. I only have Roku and the $8 a month Hulu.
      My bill this month is $0 and with a credit of $44 on top of it! LOVING IT!

    • Avatar
      Laura Bosworth January 28, 2018 at 2:15 pm #

      Thanks Lyntill…I believe all above missed the point of the article, which was that the study did not give accurate accounting of the savings period. It was absolutely comparing apples to oranges. The real savings comes with not considering additional subscription content in addition to the cost of cable. The saving starts with buying and owning your own equipment (so you lose the rental charges) and going with OTA, which generally provides at least the main channels ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX, PBS, etc. and with a stronger antenna most all other locally broadcast channels. So, all broadcast news & sports, and shows at local times, same as cable. The other point is that I was only watching maybe 10 of the 240 channels cable provided, so that wasn’t cost effective at all. I already had an Amazon Prime account, so I researched and weighed my options. My cable service intro plan cost was over and my TV/Internet/Phone bundle skyrocketed to $260/mo. I called to negotiate and was offered 300 from 50 Mbps speed (which I learned most equipment can’t process) and lowering my bill to $190. If I chose not to accept that or downgraded before 2 years I would be fined the unpaid amount, which would increase to over the $240 after the 2 years anyway! Another point to be made is that you are stuck in a contract with Cable, DSL or Satellite services, which is not required of streaming services and there is NO COST for OTA content. And all it takes is one channel not included in a lower priced cable package (and they know which ones those are!) that makes us subscribe to the higher cost package, which can be viewed for a lot less via streaming services!
      So, I stuck it through and bought a Tablo DVR so I could still record OTA shows to watch later and their $5/mo. guide service, an additional HD to expand DVR capability, Dual Band w/WiFi 802.11 ac 1900 Mbps Modem/Router so it would be a long while before it was obsolete, and an Indoor Antenna with a 50 mile range. Then I incorporated my Fire Stick for Free movies and other free content I couldn’t get via antenna. Then for additional sports content, I subscribed to Sling TV while deciding what I actually want for additional content other than OTA or Prime. Internet is a requirement either way, so I’m not entering that into the meld, but that part of my cable bill is lower now too, since I only subscribe to useful speed now.
      The equipment paid for itself via the $225 initial savings within 3 months and even after adding full content Sling TV with cloud DVR for it, I’m saving at least $180/mo. BAM…loving cord-cutting!!

  14. Avatar
    SS January 19, 2018 at 10:05 am #

    People are so easy to mislead by giving them big numbers to convince them that cable is cheap.

    Netflix and Amazon Prime don’t offer the same content as cable and are not cable-replacements. They’re supplements. Technically, they shouldn’t even be considered “cord-cutting.” There’s no significant difference between cord-cutters who have Netflix and people with cable who also have Netflix. So, counting Netflix in cordcutters budget is misleading.

    I have both YouTube TV and Philo and I get all the channels I care about, with Unlimited DVR and I can watch them from anywhere, on any device. And I find them way more convenient than cable. And yet, I pay less than I used to pay for cable TV…. even when combined with internet.

    • Avatar
      Fred Koot January 19, 2018 at 10:15 am #

      Yes Amazon and Netflix are cordcutting and they offer a lot of the same content.

      • Avatar
        SS January 19, 2018 at 10:21 am #

        They don’t offer the same content as cable. You can’t get sports, news or current seasons… which is why most people (including me) get cable in the first place. I use Netflix to watch shows (and originals) that aren’t broadcast in US cable including Netflix originals; and to catch up on past seasons of shows I want to start watching.

        Also, most of the content you see on Netflix doesn’t air on TV because of exclusive syndication rights. There are very few shows actually that are on Netflix but also being syndicated on TV and those tend to be the most popular ones like Friends, How I Met Your Mother.

        Between Netflix, Hulu and Amazon, Hulu is the closest to being a cable replacement because they give you current seasons and latest episodes for most shows. But then Hulu has very little in terms of past seasons.

        • Avatar
          Fred Koot January 19, 2018 at 10:24 am #

          Yes they are because a lot of people drop cable and only watch Netflix

          • Avatar
            SS January 19, 2018 at 10:31 am #

            They’re not. People who do that only do it to save costs. Not because Netflix is going to give them the same thing. It’s like choosing to buy a clock instead of a TV set. It doesn’t mean that you’re going to get the same value but it’s purely giving up something to save money. A clock is not a TV replacement but if you save money by refusing to buy a TV set, you can afford a clock.

            Same thing, Netflix is not a cable replacement. But if you save money by getting rid of cable, you can afford to buy Netflix.

          • Avatar
            Fred Koot January 19, 2018 at 10:36 am #

            They do it because they can get everything they need from Netflix, Hulu and Amazon at a cheaper price than cable. So for them it IS a cable replacement. Not everyone watches what you watch so for them it is a CABLE REPLACEMENT.

          • Avatar
            SS January 19, 2018 at 10:43 am #

            I’m looking at this from a business / economic perspective which is what all this is. If you have some basic economic background, you will know there are different types of goods – supplementary, complementary, substitude goods etc.

            Just because one person eats chicken and the other eats vegetables doesn’t mean vegetables are a replacement for chicken. If you run a poultry shop and someone opens a veggies shop, you’re not going to be worried about losing to competition. Netflix and cable TV are like veggies and chicken.

          • Avatar
            Fred Koot January 19, 2018 at 10:49 am #

            I don’t understand what you don’t get. When you cancel cable and REPLACE it with Netflix. It is a CABLE REPLACEMENT. Chicken and Vegetables are Cable. Netflix would be chicken only. Why would you pay for Chicken and Vegetables when you only eat Chicken.

          • Avatar
            SS January 19, 2018 at 10:55 am #

            If you say Netflix is chicken and Cable is both chicken and vegetables, you’re assuming that you can find all (or most) of Netflix content on cable, which is far from the truth. You sound like someone who doesn’t have Netflix… or who only goes there to watch shows you can already watch on TV. You’re missing a lot.

            Even if you’re saying they can give up cable shows and pick up Netflix shows instead, it’s still not the same. Unless you’re a casual watcher, you’d be very specific to the show you like to watch. You’re not going to replace The Big Bang Theory or Modern Family with Stranger Things or Orange is the New Black.

          • Avatar
            Fred Koot January 19, 2018 at 11:04 am #

            Nobody wants to watch everything that is on cable, besides Modern Family and The Big Bang Theory don’t air on cable

          • Avatar
            SS January 19, 2018 at 11:09 am #

            By “cable,” I meant “Pay TV” which includes broadcast; and yes, Modern Family and TBBT past seasons air on cable networks because of syndication.

          • Avatar
            Fred Koot January 19, 2018 at 11:10 am #

            They air on OTA and you don’t need cable

          • Avatar
            SS January 19, 2018 at 11:13 am #

            Not everyone has OTA and even most of those with OTA like me prefer to watch shows at my convenient time and on any device.

          • Avatar
            Fred Koot January 19, 2018 at 11:17 am #

            You are not everyone. It seems you are in denial that Cord Cutting is real and Netflix and Hulu are thriving because of it.

          • Avatar
            Teddy G January 19, 2018 at 12:40 pm #

            Just to add my 2 cents. I agree with SS. Netflix is an additional content and not a replacement. I would compare Netflix to HBO or Showtime Streaming. Those premium content providers can now be obtain independently from a cable subscription. Their direct competitors is Netflix. I would compare cable to Playstation Vue, Sling TV and Directv Now. To perform a proper accounting, you have to group apples with apples, oranges with oranges, but not apples with oranges.

            Hypothetically speaking, if Netflix announced a new subsidiary tomorrow and called it Netflix TV and they provided basic cable channels, then Netflix TV would be a direct competitor to cable and the OTT Cable replacements like SlingTV and PS Vue.

          • Avatar
            Duelingdragon January 19, 2018 at 12:58 pm #

            I am probably going to regret responding to this thread, but also wanted to share my two cents. Cable is basically defined as a live programming service airing content at scheduled times where people decide what to watch based on what is being broadcast. PS Vue, Sling, Hulu Live would be a replacement for cable, which was itself a replacement for OTA. Basic Hulu might be argued is a replacement for it as some shows are aired just on time delay. In reality it’s just a combination of On Demand and a content archive. Netflix and Amazon Prime would not really be a replacement for cable in this regard except for the fact that it is used to “watch shows and movies”. But if that’s the criteria, then my laserdisc player in the back room is a replacement for cable. I think from any logical perspective, Netflix, as well as Crackle, Vudu and hell even Full Moon Streaming are an alternative to live tv, but not a true cable replacement. If some people choose to not have a live tv service and just use another Netflix type service, that’s great. But that is still not a cable replacement any more than my old Panasonic LX-200.

          • Avatar
            Teddy G January 19, 2018 at 1:14 pm #

            The laser disc is content you own or have an exclusive right to view in the format already paid for by you. So it’s not comparable. OTA, OTT, and Cable are services you essentially rent for a fixed fee to watch.

          • Avatar
            Duelingdragon January 19, 2018 at 2:27 pm #

            I do understand that point, but I feel my comparison still stands. There are 2 ways to watch movies and shows. The first is you choose between live broadcasts and pick what you want out of what is airing. That could be anything from prime time shows on Fox, Game of Thrones on HBO Sundays at 9, a movie on Decades, or a game on ESPN. But I am watching it because they are broadcasting it. The second is an on demand format where you pick what you want to watch from an archive of programs. That would be anything Netflix, Crackle, Vudu, Amazon, iTunes, or yes, even my laserdisc collection have available. Why? Because I pick and choose what I want to watch when I want to watch it regardless if it is a monthly subscription to watch what is in their catalog, or if I purchase individual content and watch it from my catalog. I concede there are some differences which include limitations on what is available based on exclusive content and licensing contracts. But I’m sure you’ll agree the comparison between them is way closer than either is to a live tv model. So to go back to the original discussion on cord cutting, the second group is not a replacement for cable. It is an alternate form of viewing content which could keep someone from watching live tv, but not actually a true replacement for it.

          • Avatar
            Teddy G January 19, 2018 at 2:36 pm #

            Netflix, Crackle, Vudu, Amazon etc is comparable to the old fashion brick and mortar movie rental store like Blockbuster and Hollywood Videos. Your use is finite, but your use of the disc is infinite. If your account lapses and is no longer current, then your access to the material is terminated. But the complete cost of that laserdisc has already been paid so you have a perpetual use agreement with the producer to view the disc as many times as you wish. Ignoring the power company bill to run the laser disc player 🙂

          • Avatar
            Fred Koot January 19, 2018 at 1:01 pm #

            Sure it is If you are watching TV from Netflix instead of TV from cable its a replacement.

          • Avatar
            Teddy G January 19, 2018 at 1:11 pm #

            I’m just being objective. Your live TV, in this instance would be OTA, irrespective of whether you can obtain a OTA signal. You cannot categorize services based on individual need. Netflix is additional premium content for the vast majority of people and not a replacement for live tv. If you, in your particular case, use it as such, then that’s your individual need. But you can move to another home where you can get a OTA signal (again, irrespective of economic challenges that may cause). But the OTA signals is out there for the grabbing.

          • Avatar
            Fred Koot January 19, 2018 at 1:18 pm #

            Never said it was a replacement for live tv. I said a lot of content you can get that airs of cable you can get on Netflix. There are millions of people that replaced cable with Netflix only.

          • Avatar
            Teddy G January 19, 2018 at 1:22 pm #

            Well, the same can be said for HBO, Showtime, Starz, & Cinemax. They offer “live” movies and on demand movies too, just like Netflix. But Netflix is exclusively on demand. They don’t offer live broadcast.

          • Avatar
            Fred Koot January 19, 2018 at 1:28 pm #

            Right they are Cable replacements also, I never brought the word live into any discussion. People don’t need live tv besides news and sports anymore and a lot can wait to it comes on Netflix or others. The younger generation doesn’t subscribe to cable, even news they get from social media.

          • Avatar
            TV Barrington January 19, 2018 at 1:43 pm #

            Teddy, I’m glad that you mentioned this comparison, and you beat me to it. I felt that Netflix was more within the category of a HBO, Showtime, and Starz for supplemental content. And, that Sling and such were more within the cable TV replacement category.

            I use my antenna and Sling to replace my cable TV cutting, and I use Netflix and Hulu just as supplemental content.

          • Avatar
            Me January 19, 2018 at 12:22 pm #

            @fredkoot:disqus you assume everyone can easily get in OTA. Not in my area that for sure.

          • Avatar
            Fred Koot January 19, 2018 at 12:36 pm #

            Hulu has Modern Family and There are other ways to get older The Big Bang Theory. Season pass, Dvd rental Cbs has the last 5 free. No cable required.

          • Avatar
            Me January 19, 2018 at 2:57 pm #

            @fredkoot:disqus seriously you’re asking tat? Ok. “They air on OTA”: if you can’t get in OTA then that’s an issue don’t you think?

          • Avatar
            Eideard January 21, 2018 at 11:21 am #

            I think you also miss the point that a lot of programming dumped by cable cutting wasn’t useful or important to the viewer. When I dropped DirecTV I had the minimum (100+) number of channels. I periodically watched 22. i frequently watched 4 incl sports. The others varied according to series watched seasonally and, now, mostly available via individual apps. My cost for TV watched has diminished 40-50% month to month. And we use the feed for 2 households.

          • Avatar
            Chris K. January 19, 2018 at 11:03 am #

            Numerous cable and satellite subscribers also pay for Netflix, so I’m not sure where you’re going with that metaphor.

          • Avatar
            Fred Koot January 19, 2018 at 11:06 am #

            I’m saying a lot of people CANCELLED cable because they can watch what they want with Netflix. Never did I say people don’t pay for both.

          • Avatar
            chad January 20, 2018 at 9:09 pm #

            Based on that, they are cable “alternatives”, not a replacement.

          • Avatar
            Fred Koot January 21, 2018 at 9:17 am #

            Sure they are, you CANCEL cable and replace it with Netflix.

          • Avatar
            chad January 21, 2018 at 9:51 am #

            It’s semantics, but you cancel cable, you use Netflix instead. You cancel cable and you replace it with satellite, DirectTV Now, Playstation Vue, or Sling. One of the definitions of “replace” is to “fill the role….” Netflix doesn’t fill the role of live programming, sports, local or national news. You can watch Orange is the New Black as instead of watching college basketball. But, it is not a replacement for college basketball.

          • Avatar
            Fred Koot January 21, 2018 at 10:04 am #

            What if you don’t watch sports, and the younger generation gets news from social media including Sports scores and highlights.

          • Avatar
            chad January 21, 2018 at 11:11 am #

            If they don’t watch sports and can get all of their needs from twitter, facebook and Netflix, then cable was never a requirement for them to begin with and not an item that needed replacing. My guess is that the vast majority of people that have cable still have social media and many have Netflix. But, I don’t think a lot of cable subscribers also have Directv, PS Vue, Sling or DTVN. But to say that someone doesn’t need something is also saying that they don’t need to replace it.

          • Avatar
            Helen Steeply January 20, 2018 at 2:04 am #

            But…you should eat your vegetables.

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            James Grayson January 22, 2018 at 2:46 pm #

            When you have cable TV and Netflix, as many people do. and you drop one of them. do you consider the one that dropped as a replacement to the one that you kept? I don’t think so. If you consider Netflix as a replacement for cable TV, then in turn you will have to consider cable TV as a replacement for Netflix. That doesn’t add up.

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            Malignar January 19, 2018 at 10:48 am #

            I would bet 90%+ of people that sub to Netflix has nothing to do with whether they have cable or not. Completely different content. Adding a Netflix cost into a “Cord Cutting” calculation is faulty. I can’t imagine that there are more than a tiny percentage of people that only sub to Netflix when they dump cable.

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            Fred Koot January 19, 2018 at 10:50 am #

            I know a lot and did it for 4 years

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            Bryan Dicus January 27, 2018 at 5:04 pm #


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            Joellyn Carpenter January 20, 2018 at 8:18 pm #

            True, when I was looking at my cord cutting cost I did not figure Netflix or Amazon into it because I had those services along with cable TV and did not plan to dump them.

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          Troy Heagy January 19, 2018 at 2:24 pm #

          I don’t have cable…. I don’t want sports so I don’t care.
          I get all my entertainment from Antenna television (which includes news and current seasons) plus Amazon prime for movies/tv shows. I’m perfectly happy with that (including the ~60 dollars I’m not wasting on cable bills).

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      RT Barshaw January 19, 2018 at 4:26 pm #

      It depends on what you want. Amazon Prime Video and Hulu (on demand only) are enough for me.

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    seanbperiod January 19, 2018 at 10:10 am #

    For many people that don’t live in large cities with competing ISPs, Fios, or Fiber; Internet only plans are expensive. It’s about $65/month + Tax/fees for 30mbps on Spectrum for me, with no other competition. So that’s the baseline for many. Adding Netflix/Hulu + DirectTVNow or Sling can put this at over $100/mo. So for many, (and depending how many channels people need) there’s only a little difference in cord cutting costs.

    And with Net Neutrality gone, Internet only prices will likely continue to rise.

    Regardless, the study should have been able to backup their findings.

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      SS January 19, 2018 at 10:15 am #

      It’s not only cord-cutters who have Netflix/Hulu. So, remove that from your math. Then remember most “cheap” internet + TV packages will cost at least $120 before taxes and surcharges…. unless you’re in the promo period.

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        seanbperiod January 19, 2018 at 10:21 am #

        I’ll keep it in “my math.” Thanks.

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          SS January 19, 2018 at 10:25 am #

          Even if you add Netflix to your math because apparently their shows can replace live news and sports and current seasons……….. and even if you’re paying 65 internet + 35 live TV streaming + 8 Netflix… that’s still under $110. Try getting a cable TV + internet total bill that’s under $120 when you’re not in the promo period.

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          Me January 19, 2018 at 10:39 am #

          Unless you’re keeping it in your math when you figure the cost of keeping cable then no. In either case it’s moot since it’s the same cost on both I have cable I have Netflix have for years. If I cut the cord I’m keeping Netflix. Netflix cost the same weather I have cable or not. The number of people that don’t have Netflix now but would get it if they cut the cord or who have it because they cut the cord but would cancel it if they got cable is very small.

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            seanbperiod January 19, 2018 at 10:41 am #

            What study is that based on?

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            Me January 19, 2018 at 12:19 pm #

            Common sense. Show me the study that shows people only get Netflix when they cut the cord and cancel it if they get cable. i sure as hell know way more people with cable that ahve Netflix than know people that are cord cutters with Netflix.

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            seanbperiod January 19, 2018 at 12:47 pm #

            Sure thing – Right after you show me the study that I first asked for, and not based on your own experience of people you know.

  16. Avatar
    Rocksleeper January 19, 2018 at 10:28 am #

    It is of course cheaper to cut the cord.

    But even it was just “comparable”, I would still choose to do it. No contracts, no equipment, no dish on the roof…no staying home all day to wait for the “cable guy”. Even if I was paying $10 more a month than cable…I’d probably still do it. I really hate contracts.

    Luckily…it’s the best of both worlds. Cheaper and none of the BS.

  17. Avatar
    Keith Foster January 19, 2018 at 10:28 am #

    The interesting answer, if given, is who paid for the study. The thing that bugs me all the time for these stories is they assume internet is cost in cord cutting, but not keeping a “bundle”. Like others I have one option for broadband and that is COX and of course I get raked over the coals for it. With 4 people that includes a teenager who games I need a fast speed and pay for it. However, I would be paying anyway it’s a sunk cost. Cutting with DirecTV now as an ATT consumer I pay 10 bucks, plus I pay for HULU and Netflix. In total I pay right around 30 a month for streaming services. I use PLEX as my DVR for OTA.

    So for fun I went and looked at COX and to see what I could do. In fairness I could up my speed and get all the premium channels and over 240 channels for a tad more than I pay now, in total. However, after 12 months it would go up $25 and after 24 shots up over $200 more than I pay now! Granted I could play the song and dance and get it lower, but it won’t be at the rate I pay now. My biggest cost is internet at $89 a month (I own my modem) for 100 D , but I have no other choice.

    So if I do the analysis, like I should, I have to assume the $89 is sunk cost for me no matter what I do. The cost to “bundle” is between $30 (same speed and no HBO) or $50 (faster speed plus HBO etc.) As of now I have the basic DirectTV now package with free HBO (Thanks AT&T), Netflix, and Hulu (limited commercials) for right at $30 and NO CONTRACT! Could I bundle? Sure it would be the same if not a tad more for 12 months, but would almost triple in 24 months. Now if I could get some competition to COX I could save more.

  18. Avatar
    jmgnyc January 19, 2018 at 11:06 am #

    I think I am an exception to the rule perhaps but my experience agrees with their findings. The difference between my cable package vs. internet only is about $70 month and includes HBO, Showtime, and STARZ and a DVR that’ll record anything and allow me to skip all commercials. I also need ESPN and HGTV at a minimum. None of the “cable lite packages” delivered over the internet will save me money or provide me with a DVR I don’t have to worry about what channels it can record, how long I can keep something or whether I can skip commercials. Believe me I want to get rid of cable but it just doesn’t make sense financially. Yet at least. Having said all that, I rarely use my cable box as most of what I watch is OnDemand without commercials on Hulu or one of the TV Anywhere apps so I’m a prime candidate for cord cutting but just can’t do it.

    • Avatar
      Chris K. January 19, 2018 at 11:25 am #

      A few thoughts, just reading your comment:
      1. Have you compared DSL with cable? I know that not everyone has both options, but DSL might offer the same download speeds for less.
      2. Vue should have everything you want. Its DVR is unlimited. You can skip commercials in DVR content (but not most on-demand).
      3. Do you need all three premiums (HBO, Showtime, STARZ) year-round? They’re most likely month-to-month options, even with your cable package. If you genuinely watch content year-round on all three, then it’s probably not a big deal, But if even one of them only gets watched when a certain show returns, you might want to consider dropping and re-adding as needed.

      It probably won’t be a huge savings either way, but should give you the same end experience.

      • Avatar
        jmgnyc January 19, 2018 at 11:59 am #

        DSL is not nearly fast enough for my needs beyond streaming. I do have a choice of Spectrum or Fios but Fios would require a lot of re-wiring. NY condos are not like a house. 🙂

        HBO and Showtime are pretty much year round. I could go on/off with STARZ but the savings don’t really make it all that worthwhile.

        Our more likely options for cord cutting is to drop cable, pay for HBO, Showtime, Starz standalone and Hulu without the live TV and then buy everything else I watch from iTunes/Amazon. The deal breaker with that for us is ESPN and HGTV and lack of DVR for them. Perhaps if an ESPN standalone comes along then it’ll be time.

        Finally, I’m am not happy with any of the streaming cable lite packages DVRs yet. Perhaps Direct TV Now will succeed.

  19. Avatar
    Steve Hansen January 19, 2018 at 11:25 am #

    Into my second year since getting rid of the cable phone internet bundle. I kept the broadband and subscribed to Sling Blue, which still gives me my grandfathered $20 monthly fee. When I first cut, I was saving about $80 monthly, which is now more since the cable packages have kept rising in price, as well as the taxes that also have risen. I’m loving my DIY antenna and the 60 channels it receives, many in 1080 HD. It’s been one of the best moves I ever made and don’t see me going back.

  20. Avatar
    Vegas Steve January 19, 2018 at 11:56 am #

    It’s basically a shill story. No surprise there, most likely bought & paid for. But I would say, in a one-to-one comparison, cable probably is cheaper.

  21. Avatar
    Teddy G January 19, 2018 at 12:08 pm #

    “This info from our understanding from looking data like credit card spending. It shows how much you spent at a store but not what you purchased.” This shows lousy journalism and bad accounting on the part of M Science. I wonder how they got the name “M Science”.

  22. Avatar
    A. James January 19, 2018 at 12:30 pm #

    Why would Quartz publish an “article” that is clearly false? Is Ashley Rodriquez, the writer, a journalist or a PR person for the cable industry?

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      bellsfolly January 19, 2018 at 3:28 pm #

      My thoughts exactly. This just seemed to be nothing short of propaganda. Since we cut the cord 2 years ago, we are saving somewhere in the neighborhood of $50/month…have more and better choices, and watch all of our shows on OUR schedule now.
      Keep trying to swim upstream against the tide, Ashley!

  23. Avatar
    Bobcat06 January 19, 2018 at 3:09 pm #

    I will say cord cutting is great for us. My wife and I cut the cord out of necessity a couple of years ago as at the time we were very strapped for cash. We learned we could do a good bit for less money.

    Now that we are doing better financially, we still are cord cutters. For example, we just moved into a house from an apartment. I did have Charter 100mbps before, which after the intro would have been 55 a month. In the area we moved to, I can get 40mbps up and down for 30 bucks a month. No data cap just like charter.

    I signed up for the 30 dollar internet package which is working nicely, then we subscribe now to Playstation Vue, which is 55 for their elite package. If we include Netflix for 14, and hulu for 12, we are paying now 111. That is not bad at all. For charter, for one step or so above basic, we paid 110. But we had netflix and hulu off and on for a while. So if I take those off, I’d be saving about 25 a month. If I find a cheaper streaming service than vue that has fox news and all 3 hallmark channels that my wife likes, and dvr, I might switch.

    I also just ordered an ota dvr for 20 bucks from ebay which should let me use a usb drive to record ota shows. We are in our 30’s but find we watch older shows like Andy Griffith, Growing Pains, Gomer Pyle, etc vs newer shows. But some stuff comes on when we are out, so hoping that dvr holds us over until I’m ready to make a jump to a tablo or something.

    One thing I definitely recommend, if you’ve not done it, get a logitech harmony remote. Haven’t tested with the new dvr box because I just ordered that today, but I can control my lg 49 inch tv, sound bar, roku premiere and dvd player from 2005(old denon upconverting player for 10 bucks in a resale store). It makes it very nice to hit one button and everything comes on together and I’m not fumbling with 5 different remotes.

    Anyway, overall, cord cutting, I prefer it. Sure sometimes antenna signal is annoying, but the costs are slightly less and even if I say it’s the same price if I count hulu and netflix, I still get more of what I actually watch vs with charter I was always trying to find something to watch. Not only that, but I like that everything is broken into smaller more manageable bills.

  24. Avatar
    RT Barshaw January 19, 2018 at 4:25 pm #

    Complete and utter nonsense. Anyone who doesn’t save money by cutting the cord is subscribing to WAY too many things. I have like 5 or 6 different streaming services I subscribe to but I only subscribe to two at a time. Anything more than 3 subscriptions is overkill, imo. But even if I kept all my accounts active all the time I would still save close to $100 every month.

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    Rlee January 19, 2018 at 5:13 pm #

    I am a living example of why that story is BS. I went from paying $187 for cable and internet to $110 for PSvue and internet, while only losing one channel that I liked.

  26. Avatar
    NotADeplorableTrumpet January 19, 2018 at 6:35 pm #

    I saw the article also, and I’ve seen them before. I can’t speak for anyone else, obviously, but I’m saving at least 40 bucks a month with internet only.

    I would also add that a lot of people, myself included, even when they have cable tv, they still pay for Hulu a,d/or Netflix at the very least. So that needs to be accounted for as well.

  27. Avatar
    Sean Berends January 19, 2018 at 11:44 pm #

    I read that article last night. Such udder BS. They try to add in the cost of internet. Everyone had internet to begin with. Maybe you have to upgrade your internet, but that doesn’t offset the cost of cable. Bundling just suckers you into paying more of what you don’t use. Forget the 500 cable channels that I don’t watch. I also don’t need another phone that will never be used.

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    BMH72 January 20, 2018 at 1:26 am #

    Here’s what I know. I cut the cord over 2 years ago and currently have the intro $35 DTVN intro package. I pay $53 a month to Comcast for 50 mbps. That is $88 a month.

    I am desperate to get ATT SPORTSNET for my Astros and Rockets. I have tried every possible combo with Comcast and ATT and have not found any possible option even close to what I pay now. When you factor in equipment costs, contracts and the fact that prices go up after 1 year it gets even worse. I have tried and considered reattaching the cord but it simply is not close. The closest I have found is a plan with the new Xfinity Stream service which is not bad at all but still lacks the overall channel lineups of DTVN.

    I read that same article and just rolled my eyes. As I said. I have tried to find any deal, cord or not, and so far nothing is in the ballpark of cord cutting.

    Crap article. Any cutter knows this from personal experience. Articles like that are for those who have not cut the cord yet. True cutters know better.

  29. Avatar
    Helen Steeply January 20, 2018 at 2:09 am #

    The biggest cost they failed to measure is the years of your life you’ll lose dealing with Comcast’s billing and support departments.

  30. Avatar
    Jenna Alis Saunders January 27, 2018 at 5:34 pm #

    I have Netflix, Hulu, Amazon and CBS All Access as well as a Tablo 4 tuner with a decent antenna and many other free with commercial channels on my Roku, I’m quite happy with this set up and it is far less costly than cable and all my needs are met, the tablo has paid for itself several times over at this point.