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Comparing Cable Costs

Savings Experiment: Cable Providers There are many different cable providers out there, but how do you know which one to choose? Here, our experts break things down between four major companies so you can ultimately figure out how to cut your monthly costs.

In this scenario, we compared the basic cable packages from Comcast, Time Warner Cable, DirecTV and Verizon Fios. As a general rule of thumb, the number of average channels affects the monthly cost -- the more you have, the more you'll spend. However, when we broke things down to a per channel cost, Comcast, Time Warner and DirecTV were roughly the same, while Verizon Fios was notably cheaper at 45 cents per channel. That package offers 200 channels, but at $90 per month.

By this rationale, you might think that your cable bill is dependent on how many channels you're willing to pay for, but there's one more factor to consider. Most households own an high definition television on which you'll want to watch HDTV. So, to get your money's worth, you need to consider how many HD channels are offered by each provider.

Of the total number of channels offered in the basic plan, only a fraction are offered in HD. In the cases of Time Warner, DirecTV and Verizon Fios, only 21-26 percent of their channels are high definition. However, a whopping 95 percent of Comcast's programming is offered in HD, which makes it the clear winner.

Cable television choices listFind out which cable providers service your area and do a little price comparing while keeping these points in mind. If you decide to stay with your current provider, try asking a customer service representative how you can lower your cable bill. You may be able to take advantage of a current promotion, and the provider will usually go the extra mile to keep good customers happy.

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