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A Financial Breakdown of What it Costs to Cut the Cord

Whenever I talk to friends and family about cutting the cord in favor of the many cable TV alternatives, I always hear the ludicrous argument that cord cutting is too expensive for the average consumer. There are many people out there who are thrown off by having to spend a little money upfront for the necessary cord cutting equipment and they think it’s even more expensive than cable. The fact of the matter is that cord cutting returns a much higher value on every cent spent. Today, I’m going to walk you through the process step-by-step, and show you how much cheaper cord cutting really is. So, without further ado, let’s get started.

Cost of Cable

First, let’s come up with a baseline for the average monthly cost to the cable consumer. To determine this, let’s take a look at two of the largest cable companies in the US: Comcast and Time Warner Cable. Comcast has a basic cable plan, the Digital Starter, which costs $50 a month. Likewise, Time Warner has a Preferred TV plan for about $50 as well. This is, of course, ignoring many of the hidden fees that cable companies tack onto your bill; like equipment rentals. For simplicity sake, we are going to take them at their word. Assuming you actually pay only $50 a month, you would wind up spending $600 on that subscription per year. You may be thinking “that does not sound too bad”, but you will be surprised how much cheaper cord cutting is when you start to crunch the numbers.

Cost Effective Cable TV Alternatives

devices-with-antenna-badge-2To cut the cord and kill the cable bill, you will need three things: an OTA (Over The Air) antenna, a streaming device, and one or more streaming service subscriptions or a complete bundle of it all like SelectTV’s Cable Cutter Kit. Let’s take a look at the cost of each one.

Over-the-Air Antennas

First there’s the antenna. The reason you want an OTA antenna is to pick up the signal transmitted by the major broadcast networks like ABC, NBC, and CBS for free. A large swath of the most talked about television shows in 2016 aired on broadcast networks, and you would be remiss to forgo the opportunity to get most of your favorite shows in HD for free. The average cost of an OTA antenna can hover anywhere between $30 and $60; like HDMI cables, the cost will vary from provider. For the baseline cost of antenna, we’ll meet halfway between $30 and $60 and settle at $45.

Streaming Device

The next thing you will need is a streaming device. This can be your phone, your laptop, or a dedicated device. Since we want the cable experience without the price, we’ll assume you want a dedicated streaming device. As far as streaming devices go, Roku sets the standard and for the most part dominates the market at the moment. A Roku device can cost anywhere between $50 and $100 depending on the model you pick. In this exercise we will assume you get the cheapest model, either the Roku 1 or streaming stick, which costs $50. So as far as cord cutting costs go, we are at $95.

Streaming Services

Finally, let’s look at streaming services. When it comes to how best to watching TV online, it really boils down to your preferences. For this part, I’m going to examine three streaming services and their overall costs. There are plenty of other services out there, but the following are the most popular: Netflix, Sling TV, and SelectTV.


For the most part, Netflix has almost every top TV show from the past, with the exception being shows like Game of Thrones that appear on premium channels like HBO. You may be one season behind on any given show, but you are not completely cut off from all your favorite shows. Not to mention, there is plenty of original content like House of Cards to keep you busy. The cost of Netflix amounts to $8.99 a month, or $107.88 a year. That brings our cord cutting costs to $202.88 (let’s say $200 for easy math).

Sling TV

The next service we’ll look at is Sling TV. For $20 a month, you can stream dozens of live television channels; including AMC and ESPN (zombie/sports fans rejoice!). You can also add on additional channels for $5 per package. What makes Sling great is that it opens the cord cutters world to sports and other cable channels that would otherwise be blocked by cable. The total yearly price for Sling TV is $120, which brings our cord cutting total to $320 a year. Already, cord cutting is far cheaper than cable; and when you take year two and three into account, cord cutting becomes an even better deal. You can check out a full review of Sling TV on


From TV shows, to movies, to games, there is always something to watch on online. The only issue is that with so many things to choose from, it is easy to get lost in all the options – leading to not even knowing some of your favorite programs are available. That is where SelectTV comes in.  This new streaming service costs only $24 a year and is one of the most valuable tools online. SelectTV organizes all web content into one easy to use, searchable interface that puts the shows you want, just a click away. If you like saving time and money, SelectTV is for you. Adding a year of SelectTV to our total we are now at $299 because the Select TV cored cutter bundle includes an OTA antenna for free. All together, this equates to around $305 in savings year one. What we also need to keep in mind is that cable companies will always raise your rates after the first year, usually by about $10 a month. Conversely, cord cutting becomes cheaper in year two because you don’t have to buy more equipment. Don’t need another Antenna and you won’t need to buy another streaming device. For a full review of SelectTV, visit So let me ask you, which one seems like the better option? Sure, cable can be convenient, but at what price? Do you really want hundreds of channels you don’t want, terrible customer service, and a plan that’s more expensive than just doing it yourself? I like things easy as much as the next person, but I like saving money even more; and if you do too, then it’s time to cut the cord and kill the cable bill. Your wallet will thank you.

About KilltheCableBill

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