Netflix vs Cable TV and HBO Movies

by Jeffrey Kosola on September 16, 2011

Instantly watch from thousands of TV episodes & movies streaming from Netflix. Try Netflix for FREE!Entertainment is one place that many people should take a hard look at when trying to reduce the amount of money they spend.

One place to start is to review all the subscription based products you are paying for.

Many of us have cable, gym memberships, magazines, book clubs, internet, Netflix, computer applications, and so on.

Netflix vs Cable

I started to compare cable movies channels to Netflix.  Now I’ve never personally used Netflix and I don’t have any premium movie channels at home.  From what I hear and read about these two entertainment options they both provide some entertainment value and each have a monthly cost associated with them.

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Cable movie channels seem to range from $14 a month for 14 different HBO channels up to $39 a month for over 50 movies channels. The most common Netflix price is $7.99 for each month. Although, they do have a FREE trial, which is nice.

It’s Really Up to You

The further I dug into the numbers it became clear that there is no winner. It seems to completely depend on the person who is using the systems.  

Some people love Netflix because they can pick out and watch the movie of their choice when they want to.  They don’t have to be sitting in front of the TV at 8:00 to catch the movie they’ve been waiting for.

Netflix also has the new movies much quicker than cable.  With the cable movies you are have a ton of different choices at any one time.  With DVRs you can even record the movies you want and watch them at any time.  

Both have advantages and disadvantages so I just don’t know how to put them up against each other.

Now it’s your turn. If you’d like to weigh in on this topic please leave a comment with thoughts and feelings on using Netflix or Cable Movies. Remember that the library is also a great place to rent movies.

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{ 26 comments… read them below or add one }

Megan February 19, 2010 at 10:35 am

In order to have the premium cable channels you still have to pay the basic cable package, I’d rather pay for just the basic cable package (have you seen how many channels that comes with – that by itself could keep me busy for days if I wanted to!).

But, if I were deciding between $14 for 14 HBO channels (which probably include a Spanish version which I can’t watch and a family version which doesn’t suit me either. Also I’ve noticed they have a west and east channel which play the same movies, just at different times) and Netflix I’d go with Netflix hands-down. For the person wanting something NOW as opposed to waiting a couple days for a dvd to be mailed, Netflix has streaming options – so if you have an xbox or similar device you can still have the “on demand” movies. Netflix also has new releases a lot faster than a cable movie channel.

They also have the variety. If you only use a movie-service for your entertainment and a movie you want comes out on Showtime and not HBO chances are you’re going to rent it at Redbox or a local store and spend more money anyways.

Do I sound like a Netflix commerical yet?

I should also add Blockbuster has their version of Netflix which I’ve found to have a similar database of movies available via mail but you can exchange in the store so if your mood changes suddenly you can switch there.

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Jeffrey Kosola February 19, 2010 at 12:24 pm

So how much was Netflix paying you for that spot :-)

I personally am not a fan of the cable companies and if I was choosing for my family I would probably go with Netflix or Redbox. I will never give another dime to BlockSucker video again. I’m a pretty busy dude these days and we never get a chance to sit down and watch movies together. Hopefully when the debt is gone we can start relaxing a bit and use a cool service like Netflix. I love the idea of streaming movies.

Thanks for great comment.

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Vera February 19, 2010 at 11:45 am

I personally have both, well sort of. I subscribe to Uverse, but I don’t get any of the premium channels. I find that the regular channels they offer keep my DVR pretty full. I also subscribe to the cheapest Netflix package which gets me unlimited DVDs 1 at a time. It’s about $8 a month. I do LOVE Netflix and have used it for a long time, but I’m considering canceling my subscription since I rarely watch the DVDs. It is only $8, but since I only watch about 1 DVD a month, it turns out to be more expensive than just going to Blockbuster or renting movies through Uverse. Plus I can get any DVD at a library.

So it’s a dilemma because I do enjoy Netflix and it’s very useful when I want to watch back seasons of various shows. Overall, I think both subscriptions are worth it if they keep you from going out and spending money on other forms of entertainment. Cable and Netflix combined are bout $78, which is basically one night out at a restaurant…

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Jeffrey Kosola February 19, 2010 at 12:30 pm

Those are some great points Vera. I have Uverse as well and bundled it to get internet too. If you do find value in using both that’s great but canceling the Netflix would save you $96 a year. Not much but every little bit helps. I total agree that using these services can help replace the nasty habit of spending money on other things. Entertainment just seems to be getting more and more expensive. Lately, my two kids are all the entertainment I need. Oh wait, that was exercise not entertainment :-)

Thank you for the super comment

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Jenna June 3, 2012 at 8:12 pm

You know you don’t have to get the dvds. You can just have the streaming movies for Netflix. You can watch it on the computer, or on the TV via ps3, ps2(with additional pieces),xbox360, the newer tvs, etc.

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the Dad, Climbing Out February 19, 2010 at 12:04 pm

We dumped Netflix last year and went with our local library for free!

Our county’s system is pretty awesome. The local branch has little worth borrowing, but their website accesses every branch in the county. We can queue up movies (we have about 50 in the list right now) and when they become available we get an email telling us to pick them up locally. Totally awesome. Totally free.

Cheers!

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Jeffrey Kosola February 19, 2010 at 12:51 pm

That sounds like a really cool idea Dad. We use the library sometimes for movies but not like that. Typically the movies of choice in my house are Toy Story and Madigascar. We have a video store here named Family Video where you can rent kids movies for free. I may have to look into it one of these days.

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craig February 19, 2010 at 12:44 pm

I love Netflix and it has helped me save money since I don’t buy dvd’s anymore as well as let me watch new movies and stream new ones I haven’t had the chance to see before. It’s much better.

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Jeffrey Kosola February 19, 2010 at 12:54 pm

I’m all about the saving money part :-) I have well over 300 DVD’s. When I was rich I use to buy movies all the time. I’m guessing I’m still paying for some of them. Since you run a movie blog and love Netflix, I’ll have to check it next year after my debt is gone. Thanks for sharing Craig.

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Money Funk February 19, 2010 at 12:46 pm

But you can’t order HBO without the basic package. So Netflix would be less. I pay $140 for our cable package with a zillion channels (husband won’t give it up). I could personally go without TV. But if I had to make a choice, I would go with Redbox or the Library (as the Dad pointed out). :)

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Jeffrey Kosola February 19, 2010 at 1:04 pm

Yep you are right, no cable no HBO. That does drive the cost much higher. I hope you have the cable drafted from his account :-) Do you guys have that much time to watch movies, or is your man a sports nut and need all the channels for that?

I could do without TV, but there are some shows I love. 24, Lost, The Office, and Modern Family. All of which can be found on Hulu or itunes too.

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Money Funk February 22, 2010 at 4:59 pm

Sports nut, Western nut, Military nut, TV in General nut. I’m always telling him that he watches way too much TV. LOL. His bill, but we both pay about the same ratio. So, no win on my part.

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Vera February 19, 2010 at 12:53 pm

We have a similar feature at our library. I can search for any movies, new releases included, and “request” them to my account. Once movies are available, I get an e-mail to pick them up, so it’s very convenient. Of course, the library does not have Blu Rays and that’s one feature we enjoy on Netflix.

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Jeffrey Kosola February 19, 2010 at 1:08 pm

Call me old fashion but I have never watched a Blu Ray movie yet. Are they that much better? I have a 65″ monster TV I bought back when the TVs were as big as a bed. The picture is still super good, I just can’t bring myself to spend the money for a Blu Ray player yet. I’m a techie too, I still can’t believe I haven’t sprung for one.

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Vicki Morton January 20, 2012 at 7:35 pm

Just buy a PS3 it only does everything. blueray,music,hard-drive, 3d movies, games, and streams netflix.

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Vera February 19, 2010 at 1:12 pm

Well, I bought my hubby a PS3 a few years back and it works perfect as a Blu Ray player as well. Picture wise, I can’t see the difference between Blu Ray and HD DVDs. But the sound is amazing on Blu Rays…
.-= Vera´s last blog .."The Postmistress" by Sarah Blake =-.

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Jeffrey Kosola February 20, 2010 at 12:18 pm

Very nice explaintion of the pros and cons. You win some brownie points for the wise man bit :-) I also have all the Sexy and the City DVD sets, I can start a rental service if you like. This next part is not directed at you, I’m just making a point about TV and time wasters.

If people are in debt and worried about watching TV then, they really don’t care about getting out of it. I understand watching a VERY little bit here and there to relax but come on. Let’s say you got a Netflix plan and ordered 20 movies a month. The avg length of 2 hours per movie would come to 40 hrs per month just be sitting there watching the screen. If you took that 40 hrs and got a second job you could make some good money. We’ll use me as an example. 40 hours in the pizza delivery world at my avg of $19-ish per hour equals $760. Hmmm 40 hours of sitting there doing nothing or 40 hours of making $760. You make the call. Carry it out for a year and you’d have $9,120.

While in debt I try to put a dollar value on all the things that are time wasters in my life. It helps to focus my efforts into more meaningful tasks. Before anyone goes there, blogging is not a time waster to me. I consider it a great way to learn about topics and test your knowledge againest some wonderful minds out in the blogging world.

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Ted February 20, 2010 at 9:19 pm

I love redbox and the local library. We found with two small children that we barely had the time to watch the netflix dvds. So we were wasting money. I did love the opportunities to rent TV shows through netflix. But I can make do with HULU for the shows I love. Redbox is great for the newer releases and more popular movies, while the library is great for snagging 2-3 classics for a long weekend. We also use the digital antenna for our TV so getting movie channels is not an option.

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Anthony February 21, 2010 at 2:02 pm

I have been using the local library for some older DVD’s (TV shows and movies). I prefer a TV series over movies (Netflix or HBO). Currently, I have HBO as part of a promotional package on my TV bundle, but my wife and I have yet to watch an HBO movie. We are more likely to watch a movie on the basic channels.

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Forest February 23, 2010 at 5:58 am

This may have been mentioned in comments but not had tme to read over them. Netflix also allows you to stream many shows and movies to your TV from the net. I love their service and for me they are a clear winner…. I get very bored with Cable and don’t like general TV that much but I do love discovery and national geographic channels.

Thanks,
Forest.

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Jeffrey Kosola February 23, 2010 at 6:29 am

You guys have cable in Egypt? Just kidding :-) It looks like Netflix is the winner, with the movies delivered to your door and the ablity to stream them anytime you like. I’ve only got about a year and half to wait until I can try it out. I watched a show about King Tut last night with my wife and I thought of you. Have you been to all the tourism sites in the country? Anyhow take care Forest.

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Forest February 23, 2010 at 6:46 am

Ha ha, yeah they love the American shows here and you can get mostly the same channels and a million in Arabic…. Which are amusing for a short while.

Sadly I can’t actually use Netflix here…. It’s restricted like most US services… Hopefully one day they will support Egypt but it’s international copyright law bull…

We have been to a few. Seen the catcombs in Alexandria, the new Great Library, The Pyramids, Isalmic Cairo and more…. But still got an endless amount to see. I really want to climb mount Sinai at some point… Some bloke called Moses found some stones up there apparently and dropped them on the way down so i’ll be looking for them in particular ;)

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Clayton July 10, 2010 at 4:27 pm

I thought about completely ditching my cable TV and subscribing to netflix. I know you can browse the internet with game consoles such as the WII, or the PS3. Most all TV shows are on the internet SOMEWHERE in streaming video. The way I look at it, You can get netflix on your WII, or PS3 for 9.99 a month, unlimited downloads, and TV shows, still retain your local channels with a HD box. Saving yourself about $40-$50 a month. You could have paid for the WII or the PS3 in 5 months unless you already have one.

Most TV’s now days have ethernet capabilities built into themselves now. Also, most computers can be connected to the new LCD,LED and Plasma TV’s, and with just a cable. So if you do not want to purchase a PS3 or a WII, your computer could be connected to your TV very easily and you can view TV shows and Movies through your computer with HULU, or one your favorite channels website.

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Paul Sylvester September 22, 2010 at 4:55 pm

With Netflix adding Lionsgate, Paramount, MGM films and shows. It seems more and more better. You can have an $8.99 subscription to Netflix and still have more and more to offer. I just science fiction and they are getting movies like Star Trek (2009) and Iron Man on Netflix now. I through out my cable subscription and went all digital with my Roku box and I love it!!

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youssef hossam :D August 14, 2011 at 12:11 am

Man I really do wish they get netflix to egypt I mean im over here (in egypt) wishing I could see myth busters on discovery channel or movies .. Maybe even classics ….. But no :( ….. I guess for some reason everyone or (mostly everyone) judge us (egyptians) as a very low ranking community…… I mean we can speak english very good .. Yea sure I didn’t get an A+ on my report this year .. But I’m only 13 .. And we have xbox and evrything …. Thing is … No one ever stops and gives a crap about the little guy … Well atleast now we got rid of that son of a bitch president we have :D its going great maybe people will let go of that 9.11 incident and move on .. The guy was a terrorist like any other terrorist in any other country … But for some reason they think he was an arab so suddenly all arabs are bin laden followers … The guy is fucking dead … And now my only hope is to follow my dreams of being a graphic designer or animator to go out of egypt … And watch mythbusters … U know .. I can’t even buy map packs or microsoft points …. That’s sad … Really sad … I feel like crying . Lol anyways have fun u guys with ur netflix accounts ( And no I’m not NV-ing u ) its against my religion :P take care yall

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netflix review September 25, 2011 at 11:01 pm

With Netflix adding Lionsgate, Paramount, MGM films and shows. It seems more and more better.

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