Is Bundling TV with Internet Worth It in 2023?
Bundling these services has changed. Here’s why it’s still worth it.
Once an easy decision, bundling TV and internet services is not as good of a deal as it used to be, but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth it. There’s no shortage of cable TV alternatives, and our own data shows customers are increasingly steering away from bundling as the discounts shrink year after year.
But when you take a hard look at the available alternatives, you usually don’t find much savings. Live TV streaming prices have crept up in recent years, especially when you account for additional tiers and packages. Plus, you have to provide your own streaming boxes (and if/when they break, it’s on you). If you go with another cable or satellite service, that delivers a whole new set of annoyances and fees. In fact, you’ll probably end up paying about the same price.
Internet and TV bundling still brings a lot of convenience to the table and may still save you some cash (and time), even if those savings don’t come through a direct discount.
Pros and cons of bundling TV and internet
- One-stop shopping
- Fewer installs and appointments
- Easier management
- Easier on data caps
- Extra perks
- Small discount
- Term contracts
What happened to bundling discounts?
In the past, bundling internet and TV could usually get you a sizable discount … not anymore. We’ve seen discounts shrink over the last few years, and now, in 2023, many of the major internet service providers (ISPs) have cut them altogether.
Looking at the prices of three major ISPs shows that bundling TV and internet services isn’t rewarded with much (if any) direct savings.
|Cox Internet Preferred + Contour TV Preferred
|Spectrum TV + Internet Double Play
|Xfinity Superfast Internet + TV Extra
Customers have definitely noticed these decreases in savings. One of the clearest trends we’ve seen in our annual customer satisfaction surveys is a sharp decline in bundling TV and internet. This year only 32% of customers reported bundling up, down from 58% last year: A nearly 50% drop.
It’s anybody’s guess as to why ISPs seem less motivated to attract customers to internet + TV bundles. Some rumors claim that the ISPs don’t see enough profit from TV. Other theories look at the way TV service impedes the capabilities of cable internet since they both travel over the same line; if cable ISPs could repurpose the bandwidth used to deliver digital TV service, they would likely be able to deliver faster speeds. But what matters is the value. Should you still go with the bundle?
Why it’s still worth it to bundle TV and internet
Even though you probably won’t get the same wallet boost you would from bundling internet and TV years ago, there are still enough perks to make it the right call for many customers. However, now the advantages of bundling are more centered around convenience and indirect savings.
Easier sign-up, installation, and maintenance
Bundling internet and TV under a single provider saves time by combining the sign-up and installation of both services—and avoiding two installation fees can save you $100 right off the bat.
On the contrary, if you decide to go with separate providers for internet and TV, you have to navigate your way through two different plan catalogs, negotiate with two different entities, and schedule two different installations.
Once you have both services installed, maintenance of any problems or changes in your plan will likewise require more work dealing with two different providers. This means the convenience of bundling continues to deliver over time, as does the inconvenience of choosing not to do so.
Keep in mind that all that extra work doesn’t even necessarily lead to additional savings. Just because ISPs don’t provide the big bundle discounts anymore doesn’t mean TV service has gotten any cheaper. If you’re going to pay a premium regardless, why not choose the more convenient option?
Less stress on your data cap
If you’re planning on going with one of the cord-cutting alternatives to live cable TV, you should account for the additional blow to your internet data cap. Imposed by many ISPs, data caps limit how much information you can download per month, and video streaming is the biggest data hog for most households.
If you bundle your TV service with your ISP, watching TV doesn’t drain your monthly data allowance, even if you’re still streaming it through the provider. However, going with something like HULU TV or YouTube TV will take up a sizable chunk of your data. If you go over your data cap, you may have to pay overage fees that compound the more you go over your allowance. This can easily add up to $100 or more tacked onto your monthly internet bill.
Internet and TV customers get extra perks
Although the big direct discounts are phasing out, ISPs often reward bundling with additional perks that add value and still end up saving you money. Bundling customers may get free or discounted equipment rentals, more channels, more speed, and other helpful add-ons. These perks look different depending on the ISP and when you sign up, but extra perks tend to find their way into these premium bundles.
Best internet and TV bundles
|Xfinity Superfast Internet + Popular TV
|Spectrum Select Double Play
|Cox Internet Preferred + Contour Starter TV
|Up to 250Mbps
* Internet: For 12 months. No term contract. Taxes and equipment not included. Includes $10/mo automatic payments and paperless billing discount. TV: No term contract. Broadcast TV and regional sports fee extra; price subj to change. Taxes and equipment not included.
† Limited time offer; subject to change; valid to qualified residential customers who have not subscribed to any services within the previous 30 days and who have no outstanding obligation to Charter.
§ for 12 mos. w/ 1-yr. term agrmt.
Is Bundling TV with Internet Worth It? FAQ
Author - Austin Aguirre
Austin worked as a broadband technician installing and troubleshooting countless home internet networks for some of the largest ISPs in the U.S. He became a freelance writer in 2020 specializing in software guides. After graduating with a BS in technical communication from Arizona State University, he joined the team at HighSpeedInternet.com where he focuses on home network improvement and troubleshooting.