Cable Vs Streaming: Which one is better?

Cable Vs Streaming

When you are trying to choose between video services, you will most likely need to go with cable television or various streaming services. Several factors need to be considered. While comparing features and pricing, it can be difficult to make a decision about what to choose, what is best for you, and how they differ. Cable Vs Streaming-

On the one hand, cable and satellite TV have been around for years, and people prefer them. On the other hand, with the advancements in internet technology, speed, and accessibility, streaming live TV has become more and more popular.  

Do not worry if you are finding it hard to opt for one. We will help you figure out what works best for you and your family by breaking down the differences between them in this article.

Before we get into the differences and benefits/drawbacks of each, let us first define both of these services for your ease.

What is Cable TV- Cable Vs Streaming?

By means of coaxial cables, fiber optics, or light pulses, cable TV delivers television programs to end-users. You can stick with it if you do not want to cut the cable and compromise on the content you are seeing.

What is Streaming Live TV?

Like traditional TV, the streaming service offers channel guides, DVR functions, and live channels. A stable internet connection is necessary for watching TV shows and movies. People assume that this option would cost them more money, but it is actually the opposite. There are tons of internet providers offering affordable packages. For instance, you can check Spectrum specials to ensure access to your favorite show at a cheaper rate than cable. Moreover, many streaming services come with year-round promotional deals making the cost much more feasible. 

What are the Differences between Cable Vs Streaming?

Even though cable television and video streaming services both provide entertainment, the way they do so is significantly different. 

Content providers are able to broadcast video content via cable operators’ dedicated networks, and their relationships have lasted for years. This structure was the foundation for the pay television industry, and the product you receive reflects that. While cable television generally provides more content, it is (literally) more expensive.

Streaming providers, on the other hand, are relatively new to the video market and do not have to adhere to the same rules. You can use their services in a wide range of devices, and they can offer their services nationwide. Unlike legacy infrastructure, they are not constrained by it. The company can deliver through virtually any Internet connection, but it also has no control over the connection’s quality and is completely dependent on it. Prices tend to be lower, but there are fewer channels.

  • Cable Vs Streaming: Content Selection

The content selection for both is different. Obviously!

Few streaming services offer more than 100 channels, while cable and satellite TV providers offer packages with 200 or 300 channels. Even though cable and satellite have fewer channels you actually want (like home shopping and audio-only music channels), they win the quantity contest easily.

Streaming TV is also beaten by cable and satellite when it comes to sports channels. Live TV streaming is gradually catching up, but sports channels still do not run uniformly across different services. There is always at least one missing (such as NBA TV on Hulu + Live TV, NHL Network on YouTube TV, or any sports channel on Philo).

On the other hand, cable and satellite sports channels are easy to get even if you have to pay a higher rate.

  • Cable Vs Streaming: Video and Audio Quality

Who do you think will win this round? Well, you might be right. Let’s see.

If you talk about on-demand streaming services such as Prime Video and Netflix, the video can reach up to 1080p HD, sometimes even 4K. Nevertheless, the live streaming TV can only go up to 720p video quality. If you are satisfied with the internet service provider, great. But if you have a slow connection, your videos will keep buffering for sure. 

Except in rare cases, as cable-to-source distances or dish-to-source distances, satellite TV and cable TV always deliver high-quality 1080p and 4K pictures. Non-pro TV viewers might not be able to tell the difference, but pixel perfectionists tend to be bothered by it.

  • Streaming vs. Cable: Cost and Contracts- Cable Vs Streaming

It is no surprise that cable is more expensive than streaming. You may have guessed this already from the previous sections. You will have a higher bill if you opt for cable unless you get the simplest plan. 

In terms of more channels, you do get what you pay for. If you choose a high-end DVR box or combine this with other services like the Internet or phone, your cost may go up. Your bill, along with your promotional pricing, will generally increase after the first year as your contract expires.

However, streaming providers will likely have much looser agreements. A typical plan is month-to-month and can be canceled online. It will automatically terminate before your next statement date. In addition, streaming providers do not typically offer tiers that are as expensive as cable companies are. So make sure you have access to all the channels you need.

  • Streaming vs. Cable: Reliability and Ease

The streaming video services do exactly what their name suggests. Using your Internet connection, you request the video content, and the provider sends it to you right away. This has several advantages. You can watch the service on any computer, tablet, or phone (including iOS or Android) that supports the Internet (like a laptop, tablet, or phone).

A third benefit is mobility, which allows you to watch from anywhere that has Internet access. Moreover, you will be able to pause and rewind live streaming, even if you’re watching it on your computer. The quality of your Internet connection will also affect your experience. 

In the same way that local television systems transmit video over radio waves, the cable is a broadcast medium. The cable carries signals over copper wires, and analog has now been replaced by digital. In essence, the idea remains the same. The result is that all content is instantly available.

Most modern cable boxes can record your current program automatically if you get up for a snack and miss something. However, the extent of this depends on your carrier, and it will reset if you change channels. Your service provider will require you to purchase a set-top box in order to use it.

  • Streaming vs. Cable: The Choices

Cable and satellite TV only offers one branded live TV option (with some add-ons for more money), whereas streaming TV offers several live TV apps and services to choose from, and you can try another one at any time. 

There is no limit to what you can do with on-demand streaming apps. Many of the apps are free and do not require a subscription on the Roku Channels store alone. When you subscribe to cable or satellite, you are limited to 50 to 300 channels. With streaming, it is the opposite.


When making this decision, there are a couple of things to consider. Both are technologically comparable. In terms of what devices you can use to watch the video, streaming providers are probably more flexible than cable providers. A cable box also performs many of the same functions as streamers, such as DVR functionality and pausing/rewinding live TV, but it does so slightly differently.

You really have nothing to lose by trying streaming at least once. It doesn’t require any extra equipment, and if you aren’t satisfied with the service you’re getting, you can switch providers (or end your subscription).

Cable should be taken into consideration in two situations in particular. The first is if your Internet is low-quality. Second, you might want to consider if you have a large household with many people watching different things simultaneously. Your home network may not be able to handle all that data even if your streaming service provider does not restrict it.

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