Has the TV streaming bubble burst?

With subscription costs mounting, is it really better to revert to traditional TV packages?

Streaming apps on an iPhone
(Image credit: Rik Henderson / Future)

We're living in the golden age of television right now. The arrival of streaming services over the last few years has allowed users unrivalled access to TV on demand.

They've also generally provided access to content at a lower price than traditional setups like cable TV. Some still offer attractive monthly costs. Apple TV+, for example, can be picked up for just £6.99 a month in the UK.

That's definitely in the minority, though. A host of top streaming services have just raised prices, in a bid to combat falling stock prices. And – according to analysis conducted by the Financial Times – that has tipped the balance back in favour of traditional services.

They suggest that a basket of popular streaming apps is now more costly than an equivalent cable TV package. It's definitely a USA-focused piece of research, but the premise remains the same – with prices rising quite dramatically, and other password sharing crackdowns reducing value, is streaming still worthwhile?

Well, yes.

See, while the financial burden of having multiple subscriptions may have reached parity with older styles of viewing, their content is still substantially better. Sure, you aren't going to like everything on offer, but chances are there's something for you.

What's more, there's a lot of extra variety on streaming services. I personally gave up on traditional cable packages a long time ago. Sure, they have some good stuff on there, but there's also a lot of repeats and other content which just isn't valuable.

Why would I pay for 200 channels showing some variation of Storage Hunters and Lizard Lick Towing? For a fraction of the cost, I could gain access to a streaming service full of original shows and carefully curated legacy titles.

When you actually consider the content you're likely to consume – or at least, enjoy consuming – streaming services still offer much better value for money. Take Netflix as an example. 

While I – like most people – wasn't thrilled with the recent password sharing changes and price hikes, I still use the service most days. It's packed with so much content that there's always something for me, whether I'm feeling adventurous or just want to settle in with something familiar.

In short – if you break down the cost against what you actually gain from it, streaming services still offer a lot more than traditional setups.

Sam Cross
Staff Writer

Online news writer at T3.com, Sam has five years of experience in online and print journalism, with work featured in publications like Metro and Last Word on Sports. After years writing about music and football, Sam now turns his hand to bringing you news about new phones, smart home products, smart watches, laptops and TVs. Sam is a longtime fan and user of Apple products, including iPhones, MacBooks and Apple Watches.He’s also T3’s resident football expert, bringing you everything you need to know about the big games, including how to watch them. In his spare time, Sam is a keen guitarist, watch lover and (very) amateur golfer.