Streaming TV vs. cable TV

The one thing that both streaming TV and cable TV services have in common is that they are made for your entertainment. They both contain a plethora of media content for you to tune in to. Movies, TV shows, anime, music shows, and sports programs are all made possible due to these channels. Other than that, there are a few subtle differences between both these services, and those will be explored in this blog.

As the name suggests, cable TV can be accessed through cable services, and for that, you will need to subscribe to cable TV services. On the other hand, streaming TV can be accessed through an internet connection. This means that they can be accessed separately through different services. For instance, if you prefer cable TV services, you can look up Xfinity cable TV packages for TV channels. Though Xfinity also has internet plans for you if you are going for a streaming TV service. Or if you have the luxury of getting them both at the same time, you can go for Xfinity bundle deals, where you can sign up for both the internet and cable TV service for a discounted price.

Speaking of being able to afford either of these services, you also have the prices of both these services to consider. Before delving into that, let’s look into what streaming TV and cable TV services are.

What exactly is streaming TV?

Streaming refers to you watching TV or listening to music or podcasts on internet-connected devices. Streaming TV also needs an internet connection to work. What makes streaming TV stand out is that it has the ability to stream traditional TV channels and digital video services (Netflix, Amazon Prime, etc.) under one umbrella. You can watch your favorite TV channels, or you can turn on the latest on-demand movie being aired on Amazon Prime all in a bundle.

Also, the most important thing to note is that live TV streaming TV and on-demand streaming platforms shouldn’t be considered the same ones, though they are often used interchangeably. Examples of live streaming TV include YouTube TV, FuboTV, AT&T TV, Sling TV, Hulu, etc.

Cable TV

Cable TV service delivers traditional television channels to your TV screens by means of coaxial or fiber-optic cables, and that is where it got its name from. You get the TV channels from the cable TV service you have applied for. For instance, as mentioned above, Xfinity offers cable TV plans which include the number of TV channels associated with those plans. Cable TV channels are live and do not have on-demand programming.


Now that the basic idea of these services has been explored, let’s explore what makes them different from each other.

  • Content-Type. TV channels are broadcast live on cable TV service, while on streaming service, you can view content on-demand. However, top-set TV devices can also provide on-demand features like streaming TV, such as pause or rewind.
  • Number of Content. Cable TV offers more TV channels, and that too of variety as well. This is why cable TV costs so much because these services bring content from the major television networks to your TV screens. Streaming TV, on the other hand, has a limited number of live TV channels for you to stream. They will only upload a few major channels, on premium basic with add-ons.
  • Geographical-wise. Most cable TV services will only offer exclusive channels to certain regions in the country. You would be devoid of your favorite TV channel if you resided in regions where they don’t air it. But with streaming TV, you will have access to their TV channels anywhere in the country, as long as you have a good internet connection.
  • TV channels transmission. The one major drawback with streaming TV is that if your internet suddenly stops working or there is an internet outage for longer periods, you won’t be able to stream your favorite movies. Since cable TV is wired separately from an internet connection, you will be able to watch the TV channels.
  • Cable TV services typically require one or two-year contracts to fulfill, whereas streaming TV doesn’t have any contract. Though you will get discounted price if you pair up cable TV with internet or phone services with some companies and that way you get to enjoy the benefits.
  • Price difference. If you get cable TV service, you only need to pay for the number of channels and you are good to go. But with streaming TV, you are paying for the internet, along with streaming TV service. Hence, the more service you add, the more you need to pay. Also with cable TV, keep in mind that you are paying for extra channels that you do not need.

Keeping all this in mind, both seem like significantly relevant and reliable media services for watching live TV channels. They broadcast or provide streaming to all the major TV channels in the country. They both also have pause and rewind features, though only for high quality or modern television sets. However, cable TV beats streaming TV in these aspects, click here to find out why. Also, the quality of internet connection depends on the number of people in your house, the number of devices being used. But with cable TV, you can watch movies and TV shows lag-free, while also being able to use the internet separately on your devices. The last point is that with streaming TV, you are paying more added services, but with cable TV, you only need to pay for the number of channels.