The true cost of Pay-TV?


Moderator, , Webmaster of Cache Free TV
Staff member

Sure, that $29.95 offer from the pay TV sevices looks inviting.
But once the "promo" expires, whats it really going to gost you? Recent Surveys indicate the average pay TV subscriber pays about $70 a month. This price generally does not include "premium" channels or packages, or even an occasional Pay-Per-View. Even HD is extra for some providers. About a hundred channels, including lots of infomercial-religious-and useless,and about 4 local stations.

Your Monthly bill: assuming 2 receivers or cable boxes:
$70 a month = $840 annually
And, don't forget the annual electric cost for your boxes, with annual energy costs @ $.11 Kw/hr, here's a list of common costs.

•CRT TV: $1.00
•LCD TV: $2.97
•Plasma TV: $2.97
•DVD: $1.53
•VCR: $4.63
•Digital cable box: $17.65
•Satellite cable box: $15.50
•DVR: $36.63
•Digital cable box with DVR: $43.01
•Set-top satellite box with DVR: $27.52
•Video game console: $1.00
•Portable stereo: $1.64
•AM/FM tuner: $1.11
•CD player: $4.99

We'll have 2 boxes, please! One for the living room ,and one for the bedroom. (We'll call it $16.50 * 2 as an average). Now we're up to:
$840 + $33 = $873 a year

Wow, thats still not too bad. But wait, you're forgetting that you're counting in PRE-TAX dollars. You must earn $1.49 to bring home one dollar:

SO, $873 x 1.49 = $1300.77 is the amount of money you must earn for a year of Pay TV. And of course, if you're self-employed, your cost for a "tax free dollar" is closer to $2

Well, now! As you can see, you have to earn an extra $108.40 a month to pay for your $70 TV bill. Thats $1300.77 x 20 years = $26015.40 But what could you do with just $108.40 a month, if you didn't spend it on cable? How about investing it in a regular (pre-tax) IRA? Even at the paltry rate of 4%, heres the result of compounding:

Years = 20
Percent Yield = 4
Initial Balance = $108.40
Monthly Contribution = $108.40

Year# : Balance
1 : 1437.73
2 : 2821.22
3 : 4261.07
4 : 5759.59
5 : 7319.16
6 : 8942.27
7 : 10631.51
8 : 12389.57
9 : 14219.25
10 : 16123.48
11 : 18105.29
12 : 20167.84
13 : 22314.43
14 : 24548.47
15 : 26873.52
16 : 29293.31
17 : 31811.68
18 : 34432.65
19 : 37160.4
20 : 39999.29

lets call it $40,000. Of course, that money IS taxable, unless you don't have a lot of income when you withdraw it - Say, when you retire.

And that doesn't even take into consideration:
Rising pay TV bills (every year!)
Increasing Taxes (Thank you, Uncle Sam!)
Increasing electric bills, too!

I think you can conclude that 20 years of pay TV could cost you $50,000+!

Last edited:

Ray In Florida

DTVUSA Jr. Member

I am in the process of trying to replace my old over the air antenna/amp/etc. We have used "free" TV for years. I am amazed after reading your post of the money I have saved. But I want to know who has my $40,000????:huh:

All kidding aside, I would probably not be watching TV if I had to pay some company to watch. Most of the programming is really not worth paying for.

Fun post!!!!


, Blogger: Orry's Orations
Those promotional deals never even tempt me. They are always tied to a contract and I won't do contract TV for anyone or anything. I'm anticipating that in a couple of months I may be downgrading to whatever the basic cable is called now. I'll lose some of my beloved channels like Hallmark and Encore, but I can't afford what they're charging right now.

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