Cutting the cable connection to coax connector illustrating retired people cancelling cable TV service

My Reply to the USA Today Anti-Cord Cutting Story


Cutting the cable connection to coax connector illustrating retired people cancelling cable TV serviceIt’s that time of the year and a cheap anti-cord cutting story is out again. This time it is coming from USA Today.

The author brings out the same scare tactics and works hard to ignore any facts in his reporting. In his story he is trying to say cord cutting costs as much as cable. So let’s break down this post and show how the author Jefferson Graham who is a technology columnist for USA Today can save $1,500 every year by being a cord cutter.

#1 Internet Is Not a New Cord Cutting Cost

In Graham’s story he counts Internet in the cost of cord cutting. You count Internet against the cost of pay TV; however, do people cancel Internet if they get pay TV?

The truth is you cannot count Internet as an exclusive cost to cord cutters. Now on average you do get a $10 Internet savings if you bundle so you could at most count $10.

So we just cut $40 to $50 from his claim cord cutting costs $87. Even from our own chat as you said you pay about $200 a month for your bundle deal.

#2 You Don’t Have to Subscribe to Everything…         

In our chat on YouTube’s Facebook page Jefferson Graham talked about how cord cutting costs more if you subscribe to everything. (Now on the market and coming up.)

The thing about cord cutting is you do not need to subscribe to everything. You can pick and choose what you want to subscribe to. Even better most cord cutting services offer a free trial. So you can test it before you pay for it.

Gone are the days when cable says what you have to watch and when you will watch it. Cord cutting lets you pick what you want and pay for what you want.

The truth is most cable subscribers are already paying for streaming services. Jefferson Graham is a perfect example of that. During our chat he said not only is he paying $200 a month for his cable bundle but he also pays for three different streaming services.

So when you look at being a cord cutter you also need to count in what you already pay for. For Jefferson Graham to become a cord cutter the only new cost is $12 for Hulu. (He said he already paid for Netflix, Amazon Prime, and CBS All Access.) We say Hulu because he said he struggles to get over-the-air TV with an antenna.

Phone Savings

If he went with Ooma for phone he could drop the $50 he said he paid for phone down to $10.

So now we are looking at a total cost of $75 a month down from the $200 he is paying now. That is a $125 savings every month. Over a two-year contract with a pay-TV provider he would save $3,000.

Live TV

If he really wanted to have live TV he could add Sling TV for $20 or $25 a month and still save $100 every month.

Don’t believe me? Take a look at what our readers say about cord cutting savings. Don’t trust our readers? Take a look at what the Wall Street Journal has to say.

I did get a chance to chat with Jefferson Graham about this story and you can find our chat here:

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  • Bill Eastman

    There are only 24 Hours in a day, you work so many, sleep so many, so there is only so much time to watch TV. So you don’t need every service. I have DirecTV Now Go Big at $35 promo and had $5 HBO, which is now FREE for a year. I have Tablo and antenna for OTA. That is enough to watch. T-Mobile gave me MLB.TV FREE last year, and again this year (coming April 4 T-Mobile Tuesday). I had a $200 cable bill, now pay $50 for internet (and increased to 100 Mbps). I paid $150 for lifetime guide for Tablo. In year 3 now. Other options were $5 per month or $50 per year. Access to more TV Everywhere apps is coming with no additional money. More than enough to watch.

  • Norman

    He’s an idiot. For several years I’ve grouped a few thinks together in what I call my technology budget/expenses. Basically this is expenses for TV, Internet and Phone. I’ve had several different combinations with HushesNet, DirectTV, Dish, Comcast, local phone carrier, etc. My Comcast phone/Internet with PSVue as my base is way cheaper. And if he’s paying for every app out there every month then he’s dumber than an idiot.

  • jack pollard

    I always read the “cord cutting is More expensive” articles with a grain of salt. They are usually just wrong, mainly for the reasons you discussed. I don’t consider the cost of internet as part of my TV viewing, it stays regardless. We have Netflix and PS Vue and of course OTA. I’ve had Tablo for more then a year to record OTA. We pay less then $70 per month for all the entertainment we watch. I understand I didn’t put the cost to purchase Tablo, antenna, etc. But it’s been paid for for at least a year or 2. I would never even think of going back to the shackles and poor service of cable or satellite.

  • GersonT1000

    I definitely agree that you save a lot with cord cutting, but I disagree with you that you can’t count your internet access cost. Unless you only watch on a phone using your mobile plan, you will have to get internet from the cable company to use these streaming services on your TVs and other devices. When comparing, I compare the cost of Sling (or any other streaming service you use) plus the internet access, to the cable package I used to have which included TV and internet. I don’t factor in Netflix or Amazon Prime because I had that together with cable as well.
    I was only paying about $90 for cable/internet with DVR and two STBs. When my 2-year contract ran out, it went up to about $115 (both prices after taxes and fees). Now, I pay $35 for internet and $20 for Sling, so I just pay $55 in total for a $420 yearly savings. If my parents would switch to something similar (say, internet plus PS Vue), they could save about $1,00/year.

    • FREETELEVISION

      I had cable and Internet from separate companies. Internet is a necessity, cable was not. I cancelled cable and started streaming TV on Internet. So, I don’t count Internet as a cost for streaming, same as I did not count it as a cost for cable. Streaming is a Bonus to Internet.

    • TimO22

      Internet is like a utility. I need it regardless of my TV plan.

    • GersonT1000

      But when you are calculating your savings, you can’t say “Oh, I was paying $150 for my cable and internet package, and now I’m only paying $20 for Sling so I’m saving $130 a month”. You need to compare the “cable” portion to the Sling price, or the entire cable package to the Sling+internet price to calculate the real savings.

      • vikings football

        im with you Gerson…to get the true and real numbers of $$$ savings, internet cost must be included.

        with TWC:
        – my internet 100 alone cost me 43.00 and some change/month
        – when i added digital tv 300 (which included cable box monthly fee and other taxes and fees) to my internet 100, my bill came out 125/mo…which means, the digital tv 300 was an additional 82.00/month added to my internet 100 of 43.00/mo.

        now i compare that 82.00/mo to what im paying directv now 36.00/mo…im saving 46.00/mo

      • FREETELEVISION

        I never said that. My Cable was $70 back then and Internet was and still is $40. They were from different companies. I cancelled cable and started stream on the internet I already had. $20 for SLING, saved $50.

        • GersonT1000

          That makes more sense. I think Luke should be more clear in his response to the USA Today guy and more careful in using that defense that internet shouldn’t count, because of the reasons I stated and the fact that your situation I believe is in a minority. Unfortunately, most internet comes from cable companies. This is why it’s been so easy for these companies to screw us, and why I fear that internet prices will go up a lot to counter us cord cutters (and they’ll give a “big discount” for bundling the cable service with it, then hit you with the other fees they don’t tell you about).

    • EJ95835

      The cost of home Internet access should be included in your TV costs if you only use the Internet for streaming video. Most consumers connect to the Internet for reasons other than streaming video. My family uses Internet access to shop, learn, read the news, and for reasons other than viewing video. Even if we didn’t watch TV we would still use the Internet, and pay to access it. It therefore is not included in the cost of watching TV.

  • Jason Williamson

    Obihai with google voice is free for the service, e911 is 13 bucks a year. Total investment: Used obihai from Ebay=$12 and 13 a year for 911 service. $25 for the first year of unlimited phone service. Even cheaper than magic jack.

  • TimO22

    The USA Today author misses the point of cord cutting. Yes, cord cutting could indeed be more expensive than cable if you treat streaming services like it was cable TV and add many items you will not watch. If you have that much money, why cord cut at all, as the satellite and cable people have worked hard to create nice easy to use interfaces. But That’s not what cord cutting is about.

  • SnoDa

    USAToday has a habit of writing lame stories. Just add one more to the pile

  • Thomas Barretta

    Before I cut the cord, my last cable bill was $231.00 and with Plsystation Vue, Netflix streaming and DVD, and Amazon services, and intwrnet, I am paying $180 a month. I even have magic jack phone service which practically cost nothing. I am savibg over $100 a month cause I was already subscribing to my streaming services.

  • Rob Hawkins

    Didn’t even bother reading the article, as soon as I saw the headline yesterday I knew it was a hit piece. Our big media is a complete disaster. I hope the people that did read it weren’t gullible enough to believe it. We do sling TV and ota antenna along with regular YouTube and our own collection of TV shows and movies on the NAS.

    I hope the big cable companies are terrified, for years those jerks screwed us all and now they are starting to see that the jig is up.

    The fight to take back TV will get only harder but we will get there!

  • donkey_kong

    There is no way I am going back to crappy cable boxes and DVRs which you spend a fortune on via monthly rent. I spent time at my parents this weekend and forgot how annoying it is to scroll through the endless channel guide hoping for something good to be on, Instead of firing up Hulu and watching what you want. Time is money.

    Roku is awesome. PS vue is awesome. Android TV, not so much, but will get there. I’m saving about $100 per month including 150 unlimited internet, for a much better customer experience.

  • Bruce Wayne

    He was paid by the cable companies to write that.

  • vikings football

    i agree with GersenT1000, internet cost must be included when calculating cord cutting savings.

    i had digital tv 300/internet 100 for 79.99 with TWC, with cable box (1) and modem (1) fees, and other taxes, it came out to about 125/mo…but internet 100 alone after taxes and fees comes out to 43.00/mo…meaning my digital tv 300 came out to 82.00/mo.

    i currently have DirecTv Now 100 channels for 35.00/mo…it has all the channels i watch, and now includes HBO free for a year…but i had noticed that i had been taxed a little over 1.00, so my directv now bills is 36.00 and some change per month.

    so my internet cost combined with directv now cost comes out to a little under 80.00/mo…im saving 45.00/month

    and with directv now, im able to watch all of my available channels anywhere away from my home network using my android devices or laptop…with TWC, away from home access to my tv package were limited to a small selection of channels, the majority of the channels i watch werent included…so this being said, this was another reason why i went cord cutting with directv now…the beauty of being able to watch my entire channel lineup anywhere anytime with any of the listed devices.

  • deguello

    What am I missing?
    If you get PlayStation Vue’s Elite Slim with local channels it’s $55 a month. Compared to cable for the same thing is $90-$100 or more a month.

    • deguello

      And no taxes or fees.

      • Peter Gibbons

        And especially no random “$9.99/month HD technology fee” for Comcast cable. I always shook my head at that fee. Totally ridiculous.

  • Jeff McLean

    I read alot of Jefferson Graham article’s and he does not seem to really know what he is talking about sometimes.

  • Lacy Beam

    When I had cable, I paid $100 at least every month JUST FOR CABLE. Now, I have Hulu without commericals for $12.74 that’s with tax, Netflix for $10, and Amazon Video for $49 per year (I have the student membership). I don’t really count Amazon because I had it when I had cable. So, technically I pay around $23 per month for TV. Yes, some months I add HBO or Showtime but overall I stay with the three listed above. Plus, I paid for internet when I had cable as well so I don’t count that.

  • rjdriver

    Add up Netflix, Amazon, HBO and Showtime, and yes, I am paying almost as much as I was paying for cable TV (around $50.00 – one box, no DVR, no premium channels) when I cut the cord in 2009. But I am no longer paying to watch commercials. More than the inflexible bundle pricing and the ever increasing cost of pay TV, it was the constantly growing number of commercial minutes per hour that made me take the plunge. Too spoiled now to ever go back, even for one of those skinny bundles from Sling.

  • cpaulg

    The huge advantage to cord cutting, regardless of what the final cost is, is the consumer’s ability to choose. Consumers are sick and tired of having to pay for a higher tier, filled with channels he’ll never watch, just to get the one or two channels that are really important to him. If I’m paying more than I would for cable (which I’m not…not even close), it is very likely I’m paying for more of the content I care about, and a lot less on the “filler”. The guy from USA Today narrowly thinks it’s just about the final cost.