Do the Math - Cable VS iTunes

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by aced411, Oct 29, 2010.

  1. aced411 macrumors 6502

    Jun 2, 2007
    So I broke out the cost and I have to tell you, if you're not the kinda of person that requires a continuous stream of television running in the background, iTunes is way cheaper. Consider this:

    My TV bill runs minimum $767 annually (promotional rate). That's one HD box and one HD DVR. Think this is enough content to get by?:

    Rent entire season of 8 TV shows: $176
    Buy 4 season passes: $192

    So that's about half the cost AND you get to keep 4 of those shows. I didn't count the cost of Netflix b/c I'll subscribe regardless if I have cable or not. The savings goes up if you buy HD movies instead of Blu-Ray for new releases, although you might have to break even your first year if you need to buy adequate storage (2TB-4TB plus backup).
  2. drewc1138 macrumors 6502

    Jun 30, 2007
    Heck, go ahead and throw in the cost of Hulu Plus for a year when it (inevitably) comes to the Apple TV. Hopefully by then the lineup will be expanded. That will make up for a lot of those shows you won't have to buy anymore.
  3. NightStorm macrumors 68000

    Jan 26, 2006
    Whitehouse, OH
    This was pretty much the same conclusion I came to when I compared the cost of my monthly cable bill plus the DVD/Bluray season sets for the shows that I would have bought at the end of the season versus buying season passes on iTunes. I recently supplemented this approach with a Netflix account for streaming to my new AppleTV2 and am still saving quite a bit of money annually.
  4. mstrze macrumors 68000

    Nov 6, 2009
    Heck, with most cable bills you can PURCHASE 2 seasons of various TV shows each and every month and STILL come out ahead.
  5. OmegaRed1723 macrumors 6502


    Jun 19, 2009
    The Waste
    I'd love to cut the cable, but likely won't ever be able to do so for one reason: live sports. I live in western New England where only one of the four major sports is available OTA; for the rest I need cable, plus the basic sports package and HD. Some say that online league passes are the solution to this problem. They aren't. NBA League Pass, MLB TV, NHL Center Ice -- they all blackout local market games, as well as nationally televised games.
  6. chapindad macrumors member

    May 24, 2010
    I cut cable anyways and am missing my sports but I just visit friends or go to a local place with a TV. But I agree with the blacking out, which is why ESPN3 is not the solution either. I just couldn't justify $960 a year just for 4-5 football home games on TV.
  7. dmm219 macrumors 6502

    Aug 25, 2008
    just another reason that, much like car fanatics...being a sports fanatic is extremely bad for your pocketbook. i decided a few years ago to pretty much give up on the NFL, NHL and college football...haven't really missed it. Been much happier on weekends as well (an loss of my NFL team would ruin my whole week)...

    24/7 news is another shortcoming of this method...but again...i'll easily argue my life has been better with either of them since I cut the cord.
  8. StruckANerve macrumors 6502

    Dec 31, 2008
    Rio Rancho, NM
    I really need to get around to adding up the Cost of all the TV shows I watch in iTunes. I don't think it will save me any money. The other problem I have is UFC ppv's. Sometimes I will watch them illegally on the computer but the picture quality is garbage.

    I watch;

    Sons of Anarchy
    Rescue Me
    Project Runway
    It's Always Sunny in Philedelphia
    The Big Bang Theory
    The Ultimate Fighter
    Breaking Bad
    The Walking Dead

    Then there are various live Strikeforce MMA events I watch on Showtime which there is no other option for besides Cable/Satellite.

    I just don't think it's possible for me to convert to web based TV.
  9. newagemac macrumors 68020

    Mar 31, 2010
    One other thing you didn't mention is that all of the iTunes TV content is commercial free. Even if you have a DVR with cable, you have to fast forward through the commercials and it's still an interruption multiple times in your show. With itunes, you get a better experience than cable when watching your shows.
  10. rz22g macrumors newbie

    Oct 23, 2010
    Would never work for me. Content is to limited and iTunes has practically none of the things I watch regularly. Even if it did, my family watches multiple complete series so it would not be a better value.

    Buying movies on Blu-Ray seems a better deal to me as well. Highest quality of both video and audio. Its also becoming common to get the digital copy of the movie with the Blu-Ray. The cost is not always better on iTunes for its Blu-Ray counterpart. Cant recall the HD title but it was a Disney title I believe. $19.99 on iTunes or $18.00 to own the Blur-Ray.
  11. WiiDSmoker macrumors 65816


    Sep 15, 2009
    Hermitage, TN
    Not counting the fact that you own it and have the right to sell, trade, loan. Also Blu-Ray is WAY beyond any iTunes "HD" quality. Surely you apple fans appreciate better quality.
  12. Cabbit macrumors 68020


    Jan 30, 2006
    I noticed a much bigger difference going from my old TV to my new TV that upscales the video than i did playing a blu ray disk or watching something in HD on cable.

    So i would not pay extra for a blu ray when it looks almost exactly the same, it was more a case of trying to find the differences in the picture than really being blown away.
  13. rz22g macrumors newbie

    Oct 23, 2010
    Typically I find most Blu-Ray of the same title equal to or less in price with the exception of it being a very new release. If you actually see iTunes HD quality and Blu-Ray quality as the same then there is some factor preventing you from seeing the full quality of Blu-Ray. Either your equipment or configuration of the equipment. Besides the superior Blu-Ray quality you also have superior audio in True HD and Master Audio. You do not get those formats with iTunes HD. That might not matter to some but for those with up to date audio equipment it does.

    All that aside I can see iTunes being the go to source for a lot of people such as casual viewers, owners of 720p displays and those who have older surround systems or no surround at all.
  14. Chodite macrumors 6502a


    Sep 23, 2007
    Baltimore, MD
    Cable TV is a luxury convenience item. I have no problem paying my cable TV bill each month for the amount of content I'm receiving and viewing. Not completely taking cable's side, but tired of hearing everyone making it seem like cable TV companies are evil. It's not a necessity folks. P.S: you can call your cable company, bitch about the bill and likely get rolled into a pretty sweet promotion deal. I know that with my HD service (300+ total channels, tons of HD OnDemand, HD DVR), 16 MB/sec high-speed internet service and unlimited home phone service, we're paying about $130/month for all 3. Not bad at all, IMO.
  15. aced411 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jun 2, 2007
    Complaining about your cable bill doesn't do as much good as it used to (at least in my area). Believe me, I've tried several times. They give me a weak discount. Anyway I cancelled my cable a few years back and went all Netflix/Hulu. There was no shortage of content, but I missed not having to search for shows. With cable, you turn on the tv and mindlessly flip through channels. Sometimes you find something interesting that you otherwise wouldn't pick out.

    Having two little ones in diapers it's kind of nice being able to just turn on a station and let it play while dealing with the youngsters. So I've had cable again for about 6 months and now with the new Apple TV and .99 rentals we're again thinking about canceling.

    As for the blu-ray argument, you're right the quality is way better. Actually other than most new releases, you can usually find blu-rays cheaper or the same price. Of course, our toddler is always screwing with our tower of blu-rays so there's always the convenience factor.

    As a starting point I think I might give back the DVR and supplement that with the rentals. We don't record a lot of content, b/c we just don't have much free time to watch it.
  16. klrobinson999 macrumors 6502

    Dec 28, 2008
    If they would just get The Big Bang Theory on iTunes, plus some live sports, I would cut the cable completely.

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