If you are a TV lover, you probably know how the TV industry constantly evolves, with television programming delivered in many ways. Despite the numerous options modern society offers, cable TV continues to remain at the top. By adapting to modern society, cable providers have generated an estimated revenue of over $58 billion in 2021.

Due to the ever-evolving cable TV landscape, today’s consumers face more choices than ever before. Are you too stuck in a choosing rut? Fret not! We are here to help. By carefully considering every possibility and trying out most cable TV service providers, we have come up with a list of the best cable TV service providers. This comprehensive guide will help explore the cable TV landscape and look at the best cable TV service providers, their plans, and prices.

The World of Cable TV in 2023

With the rise of OTT platforms, one might think the cable TV era is nearly diminishing. But the truth is that more than 40% of U.S. adults still subscribe to a traditional pay TV service. Despite platforms like YouTube TV, Hulu Live, and Sling TV chipping away at their market share, cable TV continues to hold strong because of the many benefits it offers.

Cable TV offers a wide range of content, from news and sports to movies and entertainment, catering to everyone’s interests. People appreciate the convenience of having all their favorite programs in one place. The comfort and familiarity of traditional television and the benefits of channel selection and reliable service continue to make it a preferred choice for many Americans.

The Benefits of Cable TV:

  • A wide range of channel selection: When one subscribes to cable TV, they are provided a variety of channels, offering their customers diverse content. Most of the content provided by cable TV channels caters to every type of audience. From news, kids, sports, and lifestyle to educational, music, entertainment, and reality TV, cable TV offers a diverse lineup that can satisfy every family member, from kids to adults.
  • Reliable signal: The transmission is reliable as cable TVs utilize wired connections. And because cable TVs are unaffected by internet connection, cable TVs can guarantee a more seamless and uninterrupted experience than satellite or internet-based streaming services.
  • Consistent picture quality: Because cable TVs let users experience uninterrupted streaming, the picture quality is way more consistent than services that rely on the internet and weather conditions.

  • Access to exclusive channels: Cable TV networks often focus on local and regional content, providing news, sports, events, and relevant programs to specific communities. Popular channels like TBS, TNT, and ESPN, along with other local networks, are exclusive to cable TV providers.
  • Bundled packages: Most cable TV providers offer TV, internet, and phone services. The advantage of bundling services is that it can help you save a lot of money. Also, the hassle of remembering due dates and calling customer service isn’t present because you will be provided all leading services by a single provider.
  • Ease of usage: Cable TV is straightforward, making it accessible to people of all ages. Once installed, viewers can quickly navigate through channels, use the remote control, and access on-demand content seamlessly.
  • No Data Caps: Cable TV does not rely on internet data, allowing users to watch their favorite shows without worrying about data limitations.

With the many benefits of cable TV, it remains one of the most sought-after television landscapes in the United States.

Things To Consider When Choosing a Cable TV

Before choosing the cable TV service you want, you have to consider the following points:

Subscription Plans, Contracts, and Bundles:

Cable TV often comes with various plans in the form of monthly subscriptions, promotional pricing, contracts, and bundles.

Contracts:

Some cable TV service providers offer contracts that last longer than one or two years. The benefit of such contracts is that these contracts are a lot cheaper than monthly subscriptions. This is because contracts offer more affordable monthly rates.

But the cons of subscribing to a contract is that there is no flexibility when one changes plans midway. Monthly subscriptions or no-contract options cost more per month but allow switching providers freely.

Bundles:

Bundles offered by cable TV providers often contain plans that combine TV, the Internet, and phones. Subscribing to bundles can significantly lower monthly costs. But bundles also require more extended contracts. Bundles that offer fewer services are more flexible.

Monthly Subscriptions:

Customers who opt for monthly subscriptions have the flexibility to customize their plans. They can add or remove channels based on their preferences. However, monthly subscriptions are pricier.

Promotional Pricing:

Cable TV service providers often roll out introductory offers. These offers often provide you discounts that you can avail the first 6 to 12 months. As enticing as that sounds, the prices often spike after promotions end. Thus, make sure to read the fine print before subscribing.


Premium Channels, Equipment, and Add-Ons

Most cable TV service providers offer the base channel package. But the base channel package is just the beginning. Certain cable TV service providers offer contracts lasting longer than one or two years.

Cable TV service providers also offer add-on channel packs like regional, sports, kids, educational, and international programming. Along with the premium channels, you will also be paying the service fee of premium channels like HBO and DVR rental costs.

Thus, when you think about add-ons and premium channels when choosing a cable TV service provider, ask the following questions:

  1. What premium channels are must-haves? Avoid paying for premium channels that you know you rarely watch.
  1. Are add-on channel packs a good choice based on your viewing habits? Educational, kids, or sports packs might seem unnecessary for some.
  1. Do you require an advanced DVR, HD service, and TV box for all sets? Ensure that each device needs a cable connection.

Hidden Fees and Fine Print:

Most people choose their cable TV service provider based on advertisements. While the ads might make it seem like you are in for a great deal, it is essential to note that there is always a fee beyond the advertised price. Cable TV services often come along with various hidden charges. These charges include:

  • Cable TV service providers often charge you for activation and installation. And if you are new to the service, the activation and installation fee can run between $50 to $200.
  • You will face additional charges for equipment rentals. These equipment charges include set-top boxes, DVRs, and routers. These add up to $10 to $20 monthly for each device.
  • Cable TV service providers often charge you for news and sports broadcast channels. Often referred to as sports fees/news fees, the subscriber is deemed to pay around $15 monthly to cover network affiliates and sports.
  • If you decide to terminate a contract with a cable TV service provider before its end date, you may be charged between $10 to $20 for each remaining month. This is the early termination fee.
  • As mentioned, read the fine print carefully because the temporary new customer promo pricing can jump after the first 6 to 12 months.

Channel Lineups

Before choosing a cable TV service provider, reviewing the channel lineups offered by different providers is essential. Channel lineups determine the variety and availability of cable TV content, including news, sports, entertainment, local, and premium channels. Assess your viewing preferences and ensure the cable TV provider’s lineup includes the channels you frequently watch.

Installation and Setup

Before choosing your cable TV service provider, knowing their installation and setting-up process is essential. Evaluate whether you can self-install, which can save both time and money. If not, inquire about professional installation services and associated fees. Check if the cable TV service provider offers equipment, such as set-top boxes and DVRs, as part of the setup process.

The Best Cable TV Providers of 2023:

To ensure the list is foolproof, our team of experts took everything into consideration (pricy plans, bad weather, unstable internet, running children, and every other possibility) and scored each of the top TV providers in the US, charting everything from channel lineup, availability, and DVR capability to parental controls, picture quality, and much more. We also watched a lot of live TVs (by a lot, we mean A LOT) on each service and tried out the latest and greatest features from each provider. And here’s the result!

Criteria

TV Service Provider

The TV service provider with the best value for money

Verizon FiOS

The TV service provider with the best bundles

Comcast Xfinity

The TV service provider that is the most budget-friendly

Spectrum

The TV service provider that is best for sports

DirecTV

The TV service provider that has the best customizable bundles (+ fantastic customer service)

Cox Communications

Aren’t you curious to know more? Well, what are we waiting for? Let’s dive right in and look at the best cable TV providers, shall we?

  1. Comcast Xfinity

Service Type

Cable TV

Price

$20.00 – $80.00 / month

Channels

10 – 185+

DVR

150 hours

Contract

12 – 24 months term agreement

Best Bundles

While Xfinity’s costs per channel might seem steep ($0.40 – $0.53), the bundles this service provider offers have high internet speeds that might be worth the extra money. An added perk is the Xfinity Mobile Streaming App. This app lets you stream live TV channels, on-demand movies, shows, DVR recordings, and more. It’s one of the best mobile streaming experiences one could expect from a traditional TV provider.

Pros

Cons

Widely available

Twelve-month term agreement.

No-term agreement plans

Up to 33% higher pricing for no-term agreement plans.

It comes with a streaming app (Xfinity Streaming App).

DVR fees

Fantastic voice remote

  1. Cox Communications

Service Type

Cable TV

Price

$56.00 – $139.00 / month

Channels

75 – 250+

DVR

250 – 1000 hours

Contract

12 – 24 months

Best for Customizable Bundles

Cox Communication is best for those who like it simple. This cable TV service provider will fit all their services (TV, Internet, Landline Phone, and Home Security) into one bill. It is also the only cable TV service provider that offers customizable bundling.

Cox Communication, the cable TV service provider, offers four TV-only plans and bundles with high-speed internet. While everything might seem expensive, including the DVR service, nothing can beat Cox Communication’s customer service.

You might wonder why customer service is important when choosing a cable TV service provider. Even if you bag a great service provider but encounter poor customer service, your cable TV experience will drain you. Poor customer service involves not resolving issues immediately and blatant rudeness. When you encounter such situations, you will start hating the process and would rather give up on fixing the issue.

Despite being highly-priced, Cox Communication offers incredible bundles and fantastic customer service, making it a cable TV service provider worth considering. Also, if you want the best of everything, Cox’s Contour TV Ultimate (250+ channels) would be your perfect choice.

Pros

Cons

Cheaper add-on packages

Two-year contracts

Fantastic DVR

High-priced bundles

You can stream via Contour Stream Player and Contour TV app

High DVR fees

Bundles with high-speed internet

Sign-up deals that are packed with value

  1. DirecTV

Service Type

Cable TV and Satellite

Price

$64.99 – $154.99 / month

Channels

165 – 340+

DVR

Up to 450 hours

Contract

Two-year contract

Best For Sports

DirecTV is your best choice if you are a huge sports lover. Not only do they have over fifteen sports channels, but DirecTV also provides NFL Sunday ticket. You can’t deny that they are the best cable TV service providers for sports enthusiasts.

DirecTV streams diverse sports channels like FS1, FS2, Golf Channel, NFL Network, NHL Network, and NBA TV. What’s more, DirecTV’s prices (between $64.99 – $154.99 / month) are guaranteed not to increase during your two-year contract. Apart from its wide range of sports channels, DirecTV offers a hefty channel count (165 – 340+). You will certainly love DirecTV if you are a die-hard sports fan.

Pros

Cons

Two-year price guarantee (both years are priced the same, and no hikes are charged)

Two-year contract

Wide range of sports channels

Activation and installation fees for services and devices.

Has Genie DVR

Genie is now an add-on, costing $15.00 / month.

Three months of free premium channels.

Provides NFL Sunday tickets

  1. Spectrum

Service Type

Cable TV

Price

$59.99 / month

Channels

125+

DVR

Depends on preference

Contract

No contracts

Most Budget-Friendly

If you are looking for the most budget-friendly TV service provider, look no further because Spectrum is here to save your day. Spectrum has one of the cheapest TV packages overall. Spectrum TV Select costs $59.99 / month. Included in this package are 125+ channels.

Moreover, the 125+ channels include all 35 of the most-watched channels. Spectrum TV Select, along with the premium add-ons, is a fantastic deal if you’re a fan of movies and sports. You are offered a massive amount of content for less than $100. Not many other cable TV service providers can match this offer.

Pros

Cons

No contracts

Only one plan

Contract buyout

Confusing DVR options

All channels can be found in free HD

DVR fees

Affordable premium channels

Free Peacock Premium (it’s about time you watch Superstore!)

  1. Verizon FiOS

Service Type

Cable TV and Fiber Internet

Price

$60.00 – $119.00 / month

Channels

60 – 425+

DVR

50 – 200 hours

Contract

No contracts

Best Value For Money

If there is one streaming cable TV service that gives us more than what we pay for, then it’s got to be Verizon FiOS streaming service. With over 425 channels, this cable TV service provider has more than any other provider. What’s more, it offers them for less. If you subscribe to the MOST FiOS TV, you can watch all 425+ channels (including but not limited to Showtime, Starz, The Movie Channel, and MGM+) for $119.00 a month. That means, you only pay $0.28 per channel.

No other cable TV service provider can beat that. Unfortunately, Verizon FiOS service is currently available only in nine states: New Jersey, New York, Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Washington D.C, Virginia, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island. If you are not from these states, you won’t be able to subscribe to Verizon FiOS.

Pros

Cons

No contracts

Internet connection required

Affordable plans

Limited availability

A variety of channels

Free premium channels (on selected plans)

Signup deals packed with value

An Overview of the Best Cable TV Providers

Comcast Xfinity

Cox Communications

DirecTV

Spectrum

Verizon FiOS

Service Type

Cable TV

Cable TV

Cable TV and Satellite

Cable TV

Cable TV and Fiber Internet

Price

$20.00 – $80.00 / month

$56.00 – $139.00 / month

$64.99 – $154.99 / month

$59.99 / month

$60.00 – $119.00 / month

Channels

10–185+

75 – 250+

165 – 340+

125+

60 – 425+

DVR

150 hours

250 – 1000 hours

Up to 450 hours

It depends.

50 – 200 hours

Contract

12 – 24 months term agreement

12 – 24 months

Two-year contract

No contracts

No contracts.


To Briefly Summarize:

  • Comcast Xfinity: This is the best cable TV service provider if you are looking for a bundle that lets you stay connected, protected, and entertained. Known for its various bundles, Comcast Xfinitycan meet all your needs, including TV & streaming, high-speed internet services, home phone, and security.
  • Cox Communications: Although overpriced, Cox Communications is your go-to cable TV service provider if you want your bundles to be customized. That, combined with its fantastic customer service, Cox Communications is a service every TV lover should take advantage of.
  • DirecTV: If you are a sports fan, DirecTV is your favorite cable TV service provider. With over 15 sports channels showcasing diverse sports, DirecTV and its hefty channel count (165 – 340+) will surely entertain you.
  • Spectrum: If you are the average TV lover looking for a budget-friendly cable TV service provider, then Spectrum is what you need. With over 125 channels, Spectrum has all the essentials to stay entertained. And the best part is that you can cancel anytime.
  • Verizon FiOS: What makes Verizon FiOS great is that it offers the most channels compared to any other TV service provider. Are you among the nine states (New Jersey, New York, Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Washington D.C, Virginia, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island) that offer Verizon FiOS services? In that case, you should check them out.

Our Approach:

We ranked the best cable TV service providers based on six important criteria:

  • Price
  • Plans
  • Channels
  • Availability
  • Contracts
  • Equipment.

We also took into account reliability, customer service, and niche. While we may not always have the opportunity to try out all the features these services provide, we have extensively researched to provide you with the best possible recommendations.

The era of cable TV is still going strong. Furthermore, cable TV service providers have only adapted themselves and now offer one of the best entertainment packages. With so many bundles to look out for, and channels to explore, it is only natural that people still stick to cable TV. We hope we assisted you in selecting the best cable TV service provider. Want to know more about cable TV, satellites, and whatnot? Check out our blogs. Until then, ciao!

Frequently Asked Questions


Q: How can I determine if a cable TV service provider is available in my area?

Ans: To check the availability of a cable TV service provider in your area, visit their official website or contact their customer service. You will be asked to give your address or zip code to determine if their services are available in your location.

Q: What additional features or channels do these cable TV plans offer?

Ans: The features and channels cable TV providers provide depend solely on your subscription plan. Additional features may include video-on-demand libraries, DVR capabilities, sports packages, premium channels like HBO and Showtime, and more. You can review their plans before subscribing to their services.

Q: How many simultaneous streams do cable TV providers allow?

Ans: The number of simultaneous streams cable TV providers allow depends on the company and their plans. For example, Xfinity allows up to six streams at home and three out of home. Similarly, Spectrum allows up to three concurrent streams.

Q: What factors impact the monthly costs of cable TV?

Ans: Factors that often impact monthly costs are:

  • Broadcast surcharges
  • Equipment rentals
  • Taxes

Q: How much money can you save by bundling TV and internet?

Ans: On average, subscribing to bundles can help you save up to $20 per month.

Q: Do cable TV providers offer any special promotions or discounts?

Ans: Many cable TV service providers offer special promotions and discounts for new customers. The special promotions often include reduced pricing, free installation, or added benefits like premium channels for a limited time.