Ever since I’ve lived on my own, I haven’t paid for cable. Instead, I’ve relied on internet services to provide the video content I desire1.
The other day, I was re-evaluating my subscriptions to see if there are any I should be cancelling. Note that for my budgeting purposes2, a subscription is, broadly speaking, any regularly occurring expense outside of utilities and rent, including online video services. Here are my current subscriptions (all converted to per month cost):
- $9.00 – Amazon Prime
- $7.92 – Backblaze online backup
- $2.08 – Flickr
- $15.00 – HBO Now
- $3.75 – Hover (3 domain names)
- $12.50 – Linode VPS
- $6.00 – MotorTrend on Demand
- $9.00 – Netflix
- $3.33 – Plex Pass
- $5.00 – PO Box (USPS)
- $3.33 – Washington Trails Association
- $13.00 – YouTube Red
Total subscription cost per month: $89.91.
Looking at that amount, I realized many people pay that much (or more) for cable alone. Taking just the services I’m subscribed to that provide streamed video content (marked with bold above), I’m paying $52.
Of course, it’s fuzzier than that. I originally subscribed to Amazon Prime for the savings on shipping; from my perspective, the video content is free. I pay for YouTube Red to get rid of the advertisements in front of otherwise free videos, not for original content produced by YouTube. Totaling up the services that I pay for actual video content – Netflix, MotorTrend on Demand and HBO Now – I’m only paying $30 per month.
Compared to cable, that seems like a pretty good deal to me. However, there are additional benefits. I can watch shows:
- on my own schedule, without the hassle and restrictions of DVR.
- without being interrupted by advertisements.
- on any device I own.
- offline with many of the services.
If you live in the United States, there isn’t a better time to drop cable and save some money. If you’re in another country, things are moving in the right direction, albeit at a slower rate. If you can’t switch now, give it some time and I expect things will continue to improve as many of the video services produce their own content, which they are making available around the world.