Should You Cut the Cord?
Use Slate’s calculator to see if dropping cable TV and paying for streaming services will really save you money.
Update, March 18, 2015: This calculator, originally published on Jan. 15, has been updated to include new information about the Playstation Vue and Apple's unannounced streaming service.
With the announcement of Sling TV at the Consumer Electronics Show in January, it’s become clear: The era of cord cutting is here to stay. The new service will provide consumers who’d rather not pay for cable TV with live streaming of ESPN, TNT, TBS, CNN, and some other cable channels for $20 a month. Together with two other services that will launch this year, PlayStation Vue and HBO streaming, Sling TV will expand the universe of à la carte digital-media consumption beyond Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime. But how many of these services can you subscribe to before you’re paying more than you would with cable? To answer that question, Slate brings you this calculator:
1. How much is your cable plan with TV and Internet?
Enter the cost of the plan you would get if you had both basic cable and Internet. Default: Time Warner's 200-channel, 50 mpbs "Preferred TV" package's 12-month promotional cost, $89.99.
$ per month
2. How much is your cable plan with just Internet?
Enter the cost of the plan you would get if your household depended more on the Internet for streaming. Default: Time Warner's 50 mbps "Extreme" Internet plan's 12-month promotional cost, $34.99.
$ per month
3. Select streaming services to subscribe to.
Prices reflect the cheapest payment schedules.
TV and Internet without streaming services:
Internet and streaming services without TV:
Of course, Slate can’t decide what’s best for you. Cable TV and online streaming services are different products. Subscribe to all the streaming services, and you still won’t get all the live channels you could get on some cable plans. And our calculator omits a third, cheaper option: going outside.