Families and individuals on a budget may plan on cutting down on their television services in order to save money. While a trimmed version of cable could be a viable option for most people, exactly what is basic cable?
What is Basic Cable?
Basic cable includes all channels that are broadcast to anyone who has a cable connection without requiring a paid service to be purchased. Channels that are available through basic cable are not encrypted or scrambled in any way, while channels that must be paid for to access are broadcast with encryption to prevent the general public from accessing these channels.
Programming that is broadcast on basic cable may include a high number of advertisements. The need to show so many advertisements is due to the fact that programming is being provided without the need for viewers to pay a subscription fee.
Some cable service providers offer an expanded basic cable service that costs a small amount of money. For a fee that typically starts at $10, viewers are able to gain access to approximately 40 channels. Specific offerings vary by region and cable service provider, so anyone who is interested in expanded basic cable should contact their local service providers for more information.
The Benefits of Basic Cable
Now that the answer to the question “What is basic cable?” has been answered, it is time to examine the benefits of opting for basic cable over other services. There are several reasons for a household to choose basic services instead of a more expensive option.
- Cost Savings
Depending on the type of basic cable that a family chooses, basic cable could cut down television costs by hundreds of dollars every year. If a family is paying the average $50 per month for cable and cuts down to a $15 per month basic service, the annual savings would be a substantial $420. Some taxes and fees that are added to the base price may also be saved.
- Program Availability
While there was once a time when subscribing to cable was the only way to watch television shows, there are now many programs that air online after they are broadcast on premium channels. A household may be able to save money by sticking with basic cable and using online options to fill in the gaps.
- Watching Less
Television can be an entertaining way to pass time in any household, but having too many options to choose from when looking for something to watch could lead to watching too much TV. Basic service limits options to avoid mindless viewing, so family members can still enjoy their favorite shows without resorting to watching television simply for the sake of watching it.
- Better Shows
There was once a time when the best shows were on premium channels that required the payment of a hefty subscription fee in order to view them. Fortunately, the competition in programming on networks included in basic cable plans has prompted networks to improve the quality of their shows. Award-winning, engaging television series can now be found even on basic channels.
The Disadvantages of Basic Cable
Depending on how often a household views television and how involved each family member is in watching certain television shows, it may make more sense for a family to opt for cable services that offer more programming choices than basic cable.
As mentioned above, television shows are often available online shortly following the initial airing of these programs. Some networks offer these episodes for free, and there are premium subscription services that allow users to access programs for a monthly fee. However, there are shows that are only available for a fee that is charged per episode. If each family member in a four-person household watches two different shows each per week, this could add up quickly. Eight episodes per week at an average of $2 per episode for standard definition downloads would mean $64 per month to only keep up with these specific programs.
Determining whether basic cable is the right service for an individual household is a matter of evaluating personal television viewing habits. Money can be saved when members of the household are only interested in programs that are broadcast on channels included in basic cable, and it is possible to use subscription services online to fill in the gaps.
To determine whether desired programming is available with basic cable, contact a local cable service provider for channel listings. Service providers are also able to provide price structures and discuss cable needs with customers in order to suggest the best package.