Cable TV

Should I cut the cord? Advantages and disadvantages of cable TV

Whether you’re considering “cutting the cord” or planning to upgrade or change your television service, it’s important to investigate the advantages and disadvantages of cable TV. Read on to help determine what television service is best for you.

Cable TV

Definition of cable TV

The first step is to define cable TV. In this article, cable TV is television that comes into your home from a third-party provider such as Comcast, Time-Warner Cable, or Cox. Alternatives to cable include satellite television (DIRECTV, Dish Network), streaming services (Netflix, Hulu), and over-the-air/broadcast television which can be picked up by antenna.

Advantages of cable TV


Cable TV is one of the easiest ways to get television service. Installation is often as simple as plugging in a few cords. By contrast, satellite services require an external dish to be placed on your home. You may need to buy extra equipment to hook your television up to streaming services.


Unlike cable TV, satellite service often loses quality or goes out altogether in stormy weather. Streaming services use your Internet bandwidth, so your other online connections could suffer while you watch TV.

Live sports

Premium television offers the best access to live sports. Local sporting events are sometimes available over the air, but options are limited. Most leagues offer standalone options for streaming live sports, but subscribing to all of them can be costly. A fan of many sports may prefer to have cable or satellite for the easiest, cheapest access to a wide variety of games.


While cable TV has a reputation of being expensive, it can be a good value if you bundle Internet service with other services like Internet and home phone. In some cases, the cost of adding cable to these other services is minimal.

Your old TV set still works

If you still use old televisions around your house, cable may be the most economical option. Switching to streaming or over-the-air delivery will require you to buy converter boxes, streaming boxes, or antennas, while your cable connection can still work with your old sets.

Disadvantages of cable TV

Fewer over-the-air channels

With digital television, most markets have many over-the-air channels which may not be available through cable. These channels are of varying quality and usually show older TV shows or other programs of limited interest. If you love older programs and don’t care about high-definition, though, you might not need cable.

Fewer on-demand options

Cable TV can offer many on-demand options, especially for current shows. However, paid streaming services offer substantially more. If you want to watch specific films at certain times, a streaming service, or even renting online, would be a better choice. Of course, a streaming service can supplement cable TV.


One big disadvantage of cable TV is cost. Often, what starts as a cheap bundle jumps in price when the contract runs out. There are a few ways to get around this problem. You can always call your cable company and request a lower rate. If that doesn’t work, you may consider canceling cable TV for a year or so, then seeing if you can get a deal as a new customer. If you try that option, make sure you won’t be billed any cancellation fees for breaking a contract.