(Photo courtesy of Stuart Miles at freedigitalphotos.net)
It’s a television kind of day here in Michigan. It’s cold outside, with snow and icy patches. It’s a Saturday, and I don’t have to work. I haven’t slept well for the past two nights, and my joints are killing me. The easiest thing to do is pop on the TV and huddle under an afghan. But how much is that TV viewing costing? Every year or two I go online and re-examine all the options for television. Here’s a summary of your basic options for traditional cable TV:
Comcast/Xfinity: The first year you can get good rates, such as the economy package with 45 channels for $19.99 per month. The problem come when you’re past that first 12 months. Take a look at their regular rates:
Economy – 45 channels, $39.99
Starter – 45 channels, $59.99
Preferred – 220 channels, $79.99
Preferred Plus – 220 channels, $99.99
Premier – 260 channels, $119.99
In addition, you’ll pay extra monthly fees for local channels, your receiver box, and federal, state, and local taxes. A 24-month contract commitment is required to get a lower price for the first 12 months. There is an early termination fee if you break your contract, and you will pay for the receiver box if you don’t return it promptly.
Here are their monthly rates for the first 12 months:
Select – 145 channels, $19.99
Entertainment – 150 channels, $24.99
Choice – 175 channels, $29.99
Extra – 220 channels, $39.99
Premiere – 315 channels, $89.99
A 24-month contract is required to get these prices, and after 12 months the price goes up, although I couldn’t find the prices for after 12 months. They also charge a monthly receiver box fee ($6.50) and federal, state, and local taxes. If you want to record shows to watch later, it’ll cost you $5.00 a month for Tivo, $15.00 a month for a high-definition DVR box. There is an early termination fee if you break your contract, and you will pay for the receiver box if you don’t return it promptly.
Dish Network used to be the cheapest of the cable companies, with a few packages of $20.00 a month as their regular price. They are no longer inexpensive, with their prices looking like this:
America’s Top 120 – 190 channels, $34.99 for 12 mths, then $64.99
America’s Top Plus – 190 channels, $49.99 for 36 months
America’s Top 200 – 240 channels, $44.99 for 12 mths, then $79.99
America’s Top 200 – 240 channels, $64.99 for 36 months
America’s Top 250 – 290 channels, $49.99 for 12 mths, then $89.99
America’s Top 250 – 290 channels, $74.99 for 36 months
They also require a 24-month contract to get the initial lower rates, have an early termination fee, and will bill you for unreturned equipment.
So there you have it, your choices for traditional subscription television. If you live in an apartment complex and TV service is piped into every apartment, consider yourself lucky (although your rent is probably slightly higher to cover the cost). Not looking too good for your budget, is it? Part two will cover other options for television viewing.