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Why does cable television cost more than broadband?

Our family pays about $50/month for FIOS broadband service. We get 20/5 Mbps. It’s a beautiful thing and is only going to get faster.

We pay about $140/month for television which includes 3 HD DVRs.

What’s wrong with that picture?

Yes, CableTV is almost 3x the price

But there are other big differences.

Hardware. cabletv has a closed set top box. The internet allows me to plug in any hardware I want.

Software. cabletv comes with a UI that is broken and old. The internet allows me to use any software and UI I want.

Content. cabletv has a few channels that we love (live sports and a few network shows and aren’t available online (yet). The web has a ton of content sources that I use all the time. CableTV has 1080p video. The web doesn’t stream 1080p. I’m not sure I care about that anymore.

At the end of the day, if we could only afford one of these things, cabletv or broadband, we would choose broadband all day long. That would be true if they jacked up our broadband price or if they dropped the cabletv price. I have a hunch many consumers would pick the web over cabletv as well.

For now, many of us can afford to pay for both services a month and we do just that. But this quick comparison shows the value proposition isn’t right.