Are Premium Channels Worth the Extra Cost?

With so many television shows and movies available on cable, satellite and streaming live on Netflix, Roku or Apple TV, you might wonder if premium channels are worth the extra cost.

It depends on your viewing habits. Do you tend to frequently go to the movie theater to watch first-run movies? Would that change if you subscribed to several premium movie channels on cable or satellite, such as HBO, Showtime, Starz, or Cinemax?

The average movie theater ticket price is $8 per person. For $10 per month, in most cases, you can add at least one extra premium channel to your existing cable or satellite television subscription, providing quality movies and original programming to watch whenever you wish. Many cable and satellite providers will offer specials that bundle their premium channels with other services, like HD DVR. Premium channels could be offered at a low introductory rate or free for a certain number of months. The more premium channels you subscribe to, the better the rate you'll pay.

In addition, if you pride yourself on keeping up with the most current and most popular TV shows, there is no way to keep current with the shows on premium channels unless you subscribe to a cable or satellite provider.

Here's a look at some of the most popular premium channels available by most cable and satellite providers:

  • HBO is the top-ranked premium channel in the United States. This premium channel includes up to 10 channels, nine of them airing in HD. Its original series, such as “Game of Thrones,” “Flight of the Conchords,” “Big Love,” along with its original mini-series, like “Band of Brothers” and “John Adams,” draw loyal subscribers. HBO offers many first-run movies, or the first airing of a movie or program episode. Popular movies airing on HBO include “Empire,” “The Descendents,” “Cowboys and Aliens,” “Joyful Noise” and family movies, like “We Bought A Zoo.”
  • Starz offers eight premium channels filled with original programming and Hollywood blockbuster hits. It's a channel for movie lovers. Current action films include “Carnage,” “Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance,” and “Underworld Awakening.”
  • Cinemax offers Hollywood blockbuster movies and original programming on five premium Cinemax channels. Titles include, “Contagion,” “Hunted,” “This Means War,” “Contraband” and “J. Edgar.”
  • Showtime offers nine premium channels, delivering critically acclaimed original series like “Dexter,” “Homeland” and “Oliver Stone's Untold History of the United States.” Its feature movies include, “John Carter,” “21 Jump Street,” and “The Vow.”

If you enjoy curling up on the couch to watch quality, original programming or the latest Hollywood blockbuster, premium channels may be worth the investment.