Choosing a Cable Bundle

Over the last several years, “bundling” has become all the rage in the TV subscription industry. Choosing a cable bundle is said to save families money while making bill pay more convenient. By learning more about cable bundles, people can understand what they need to know in order to make the right choice about bundling.

What Is a Cable Bundle?

When the cable company offers multiple services on a single consolidated bill, this combination of services is called a bundle. The cable company usually offers significant savings compared to the cost of purchasing each service individually. It is common for cable to be bundled with Internet service, phone service, or both. This is a good way to get both cable deals and internet deals.

Bundles can be handled in two different ways. One type of bundle includes services that are all offered by the cable company itself. For example, the cable company may also offer high-speed cable Internet access. By enrolling in both services, the cable company may discount the cost of one or both services, or the cable provider may offer free premium channels as a gift.

The other type of bundle includes services that are not offered directly by the cable provider. However, the subscriber pays for the other company’s services through the cable company. For example, the cable company may team up with a local phone company in order to offer discounted landline service. The subscriber pays the cable company, and the cable company pays a certain amount to the phone company. This saves the subscriber money, and the phone company reaches a new clientele.

How to Pick the Right Bundle

1. Ensure that the services are all relevant to one’s household. Although bundle subscribers can get excellent rates on multiple services, this is only valuable if one is likely to use those services. For example, discounted landline service may not be worth the extra cost if everyone in the household already owns and uses a cell phone.

2. Do not always opt for premium channels. This is often the enticement that cable companies use. It is a great bargain for many TV viewers. However, some people are unlikely to get much use out of premium channels. If one is only interested in the occasional premium program, consider the pay-per-view option. Saving money on an unnecessary bundle can justify the occasional pay-per-view purchase.

3. Check for special bundles offered only to new customers. On top of the regular bundle savings, many cable companies offer new customers a free or discounted service for a trial period. In general, the intention is to get new customers to add more services to their bundle. Whether or not this works, it is nice to get a little bit extra just for enrolling.

4. Choose the right levels for each service. The savings inherent in bundling sometimes leads people to upgrade their services, eliminating all the savings anyway. Some people deliberately use their savings to purchase better services, but others actually do intend on saving money. The latter group should keep track of the services that they use. For example, someone who adds premium channels should pay attention to how often those premium channels are watched. Don’t be afraid to upgrade or downgrade depending upon how existing services are used.

5. Ask about fees and taxes. If a bundle advertises $20 of savings but the company adds another $20 of fees, the subscriber breaks even. Another problem is that some bundles include HD channels, but then those “free” HD channels require a special HD box that must be rented from the cable company. People who really want HD channels may still save, but those who are only bundling for the free HD channels may benefit from a different bundle or no bundle at all.

Most people who bundle their services do save money and enjoy the convenience of a consolidated bill. However, bundles are not right for everyone, and there is no one-size-fits-all bundle. This is why it is important to consider these points and inquire about every bundle option available. Most of all, potential bundlers should be sure that cable is the right choice for their household. Although cable bundles offer excellent savings, some satellite companies offer bundles as well. By looking at all options, families can make the best choice in terms of both finances and entertainment value.