How is Cable TV Different from Streaming Services?

While the end result is the same with both traditional television and streaming video services, the means by which they do this are very different. Nowadays, franchises appear to be everywhere.

All current streaming strategies incorporate the concept of launching multimedia franchises. Instead of going for binge-able big hitters, cable television often airs shows that can be watched only once.

However, WOW Cable TV offers its robust TV app so that you don’t miss out on the streaming experience.

When weighing your options, you’ll probably have to choose between traditional broadcast television and online streaming services like Netflix or Hulu. We’ll compare and contrast the two in greater depth so you can choose the greatest form of entertainment.

Cable TV vs. Streaming Services

Cable companies have exclusive rights to distribute video through their networks and have close working connections with studios. The trade-off for the increased reliability and expanded programming options offered by cable television is, of course, a higher monthly bill.

However, streaming services are relatively new to the media industry, thus they are not subject to the same regulations. They can provide service to the entire country, and it works on a wide range of devices.

They are independent of the quality of the recipient’s internet connection and can therefore deliver regardless of it. Their plans are less expensive overall, but they don’t have as many channels.


The primary distinguishing factor is, of course, cost. After the initial discount expires, the cost of cable television can quickly add up. Most streaming services can be subscribed to on a month-to-month basis with no long-term commitments.

If you determine the service isn’t for you, canceling it is simple. Cable companies also typically impose monthly DVR rental costs in addition to the standard monthly subscription price. However, the subscription cost of a streaming service is typically all-inclusive.


Cable still has the upper hand over most streaming providers when it comes to content selection. It typically offers hundreds of channels, including virtually all of the popular networks like sports. However, this is also why cable is so expensive.

Although you may pay less on a per-channel basis, they are only able to deliver you programming because of bundle arrangements with major content networks.

Streaming services, on the other hand, provide a smaller selection of channels. Nonetheless, they will most certainly have every major channel a viewer could want. Unless you subscribe to an unusually large number of channels or have a very specific list of must-haves, the vast majority of streaming services will have your content needs covered.


The quantity of channels available is another area where streaming services differ from cable. The channel lineup on cable TV is often more extensive than that of streaming services.

However, it’s likely that only a fraction of those channels are ones you really tune into. It’s also challenging to find a package that includes all of your preferred channels. In order to get you to pay for more channels, cable companies group your favorites into packages.

In contrast, most streaming services give you a selection of channels from which to choose. Because of this, you may better manage your monthly budget and spend money solely on the channels you actually use.


The typical contract length for cable TV services is between one and two years. You are free to terminate your streaming service at any moment without penalty (in most cases) because there are no contracts involved.

Streaming services, on the other hand, are likely to have a far more relaxed agreement. Monthly subscriptions can be terminated at any time by going online and doing so before the next billing cycle begins.

Unlike cable companies, streaming services don’t normally charge as much for higher tiers of service. Verify that every one of your must-have channels is accessible online.

Compatible Devices

Compared to cable TV, streaming services provide superior device compatibility. Many different types of TVs, including older ones, are compatible with streaming devices. Only TVs manufactured in the last few years with an HDMI connector can receive cable. A cable box, streaming stick, or HDMI converter will be required if your TV lacks this input.

Should You Go Cable-Free?

To cut the cord or not to cut the cord depends on personal choice and circumstance. Cutting the cord isn’t a good idea if you watch a lot of TV and are willing to pay for it. However, it could be a lifesaver if you’re sick and tired of shelling out a large sum every month.

More and more Americans are ditching their cable subscriptions in favor of streaming video services, but this does not mean that everyone agrees with this trend. You have complete freedom over your viewing choices.

All in All

There are a few things to think about before making a final call. Both are roughly equivalent in terms of technology. Many of the features streamers are used to, such as DVR capabilities and pausing and rewinding live TV, are also available on cable boxes, but in a somewhat different form.

However, you have little to lose by giving streaming a shot initially. There is no additional hardware required, and the contract can be terminated after 30 days if the customer is unhappy with the service.

But, cable TV is a better option if your internet connection isn’t that great and if you have a good number of people living in your house.