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As Netflix tests new surcharge, here's the current price of streaming services compared to cable

We did the math to see how the price of basic cable compares to a handful of streaming apps like Netflix, Hulu and Disney+.

MINNEAPOLIS — This week, Netflix announced they're testing out a fee for accounts with multiple user profiles outside the customer's household. In a blog post, the company cited cost, writing that the sharing of accounts is "impacting our ability to invest in great new TV and films for our members."

The test is only currently active in Chile, Peru, and Costa Rica, where members are charged $2.99 per additional out-of-household consumer. 

Currently, a standard Netflix plan costs $15.49 a month. Adding a couple extra users would bring the monthly price up to $21.47. With subscription prices continuing to rise, we did the math to see approximately how many subscription streaming services would add up to a basic cable subscription.

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We used MediacomCable to make the comparison. Their website lists the lowest-cost subscription at $29.99 for the first year, not including activation, installation and modem rental. If you tack on a broadcast charge they say prices range from $17.10-$24.62, and the total cost is around $50 each month in the first year including internet.

Now let's compare that to streaming services. Using Mediacom for internet, their lowest-cost high-speed internet plan starts at $19.99 for the first year. 

To factor in the cost of streaming subscriptions, we used an average based on the monthly cost of commercial-free plans on eight major VOD services:

  • Apple TV+: $4.99
  • Disney+: $7.99
  • Amazon Prime Video: $8.99 
  • Paramount+: $9.99 (ad-free version)
  • Peacock Premium Plus (ad-free, with all content unlocked): $9.99
  • Hulu: $12.99 (for ad-free version)
  • HBO Max: $14.99 ($9.99 for ad-free version)
  • HBO Max: $14.99 ($9.99 for ad-supported version)
  • Netflix: $15.49 (standard plan, not including out-of-household profile surcharge)

Rounding up to the nearest fifty cents, the average cost of these eight streaming services is $10.50 per subscription.

With approximately $20 spent on internet, that allows for about $30 more to meet the price of basic cable in a first-year offer, so about three streaming subscriptions.

Consumers should consider price, original quality, variety, and convenience. Many cable companies now allow people to store and save shows to watch back on demand, but without streaming subscriptions, consumers might not be able to catch certain shows that aren't provided on cable TV.

That said, if most of your favorite shows are provided on basic cable, it's probably most cost-effective to stick to a cable subscription. If you're yearning for new documentaries, original documentaries, or exclusively-streaming series, cutting the cord might be a good fit.

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