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Best Cable TV Providers of 2022
The best TV experience starts with picking the right cable TV provider for you
There are a lot of different ways to watch live television these days, but cable television might be the most reliable. So we found the best cable TV providers to ensure your Sunday Night Football game, local news, and your episode of The Price Is Right won’t get interrupted.
To some of you, comparing cable TV providers might be like comparing Coca-Cola to Pepsi. If you’re not ready to cut the cord and want to find the top cable TV provider, let us guide you in finding the best provider for you.
- : Best cable TV provider of 2022
- : Best no-contract option
- : Best channel lineups
- : Best for families
- : Best for customization
All of these cable providers offer bundles that get you both TV and decent internet speeds. You'll likely save money by getting everything on the same network, and who doesn't like the simplicity of one bill?
What to look for in a cable TV provider
The best cable TV providers have a decent dollar-to-channel ratio, most of the popular channels in its entry-level package, and sufficient DVR storage space.
TV providers that work best for consumers:
- Fair pricing
- Offers most of the popular live TV channels
- No-contract options or a solid deal with a contract
- Easy to install equipment
- Ample DVR storage space
A solid cable TV provider starts with a dollar-to-channel ratio that can challenge the best in the business.
And the channel lineup must have most of the popular channels, even in its entry-level package, to be a strong competitor. A cable provider will also want no-contract options for those who don't want to be tied down or move a lot. But if they require their customers to sign a contract, it better be for an excellent deal.
And lastly, you'll want an easy-to-install set-top box that has a sufficient amount of storage for you and the family to record everything you'd like.
Want to read more?
Xfinity is the best cable TV provider of 2022
Xfinity's TV packages are some of the cheapest in the TV industry.
Xfinity TV's Popular TV plan gives you more than 125 channels, including every one of the most popular 25 cable TV networks (ESPN, AMC, The CW, USA, TNT, Discovery, etc.) except Univision.
We also named it the best cable TV option for watching NBA games so you won't have to miss one Golden State Warriors game.
Xfinity also delivers some pretty great DVR equipment, like a voice-controlled remote and a cable box. Just say “Frozen” or “Billions” and the remote will grant your wish.
The Xfinity X1 DVR is one of the best in the cable TV industry, if not the best.
It has Netflix and Amazon Prime Video integration, can record up to six shows at once, and can hold 20, 150, or 300 hours of HD content for (you can make the choice at checkout). Your family will be able to record Sesame Street, That ‘70s Show, and The Herd with Colin Cowherd all at once.
Both of Xfinity's plans require you to sign a 1-year contract, but don't worry, you'll get great cable service that won't break your bank. Just be aware that your monthly bill will increase by $20–$30 after your contract is over (and $70–$89 per month still isn't bad for reliable service in this industry).
We don’t like additional fees, and Xfinity has quite a few. There’s a broadcast TV, regional sports, DVR service, and TV box fee. We’d rather have the fees included in the monthly service price, but almost all TV providers do this, so we can’t fault Xfinity.
Check out our Xfinity TV Review for the prices of the fees so you know what you're walking into.
TV channel count
|Popular TV||$49.99/mo.^||125+||View Plans|
|Ultimate TV||$59.99/mo.^||185+||View Plans|
If you're thinking about bundling Xfinity TV and internet, don't forget about Xfinity Mobile for extra savings! Just remember—You'll need Xfinity internet before you can grab its mobile service. Here's what our experts say about Xfinity internet and mobile:
- Xfinity internet: "We’ve used Xfinity internet for 10+ years now, and despite its bad rap for customer service, we think it’s a pretty good deal."
- Xfinity Mobile: "Because of Xfinity Mobile's bundle-only model, plan structure, and rock-bottom prices, it really is like no other mobile carrier."
Wanna learn more? Find the Xfinity TV, internet and mobile deals in your area.
Or, if you just want internet, you're in luck. Switch to Xfinity and get up to a $200 Visa® Prepaid Card!
Spectrum is the best no-contract option
The best thing about Spectrum cable is that you don’t have to enter into a multi-year contract when you sign up. You’re a free agent—able to move on to a different TV service whenever you see fit.
And since Spectrum increases the price on you after a year to $77 per month, you may want to if it doesn't fit your budget.
Considering you don’t have to sign a contract, the price for Spectrum is not too bad overall. No one wants to be tied down when you may have other options in the future.
And in case you didn’t know, ending contracts early is always an ugly process that ends up costing you too much money. But we have some tips on how to avoid TV cancellation fees.
Spectrum's DVR storage is not sufficient. Spectrum’s DVR only holds 35 HD hours or 80 SD hours.
Compare that to Xfinity, where you can record up to six programs at once and get 150 hours of HD or 300 hours of SD storage.
According to Spectrum, a DVR that records 150 hours and can record six shows at once (instead of two shows) is available. But we were uncertain as to why we couldn’t find this option at checkout. We’d suggest calling this cable TV provider and asking to get this enhanced DVR if you know 35 HD hours is too little for your family.
Spectrum TV is available in more than 41 states, so it's very possible either Xfinity or Spectrum will be available in your area.
Spectrum is one of the largest cable TV and internet providers in the country. If you're considering Spectrum TV in your area, then Spectrum Internet is probably an option for you too. Check out Spectrum's Internet plans to see if it makes sense to bundle your services.
Verizon Fios has the best channel lineups
Verizon Fios has four different plans to choose from, all without a contract. Fios is also a fiber-optic network. This means that your service will be fast, reliable, and filled with tons of live TV channels.
In fact, Fios offers more channels than any other cable TV provider. (Optimum TV comes close, and it's $5 less. Just double-check to see if it's available in your area.)
We really like Verizon Fios TV, and it could be higher on our list, but it lacks one key component: wide availability.
Fios is only available in a few eastern states, like Delaware, New Jersey, and New York. Check if Verizon Fios TV is available in your state, or use the little zip finder near the top of this page.
If you’re one of the lucky ones who can get this excellent cable TV provider, we’ll give you a little breakdown for each plan you could choose:
- Fios TV Test Drive: Fios lets you “Test Drive” the plan that gives you 425+ channels for 60 days for $70 per month.
- Your Fios TV: This is the only Fios package that is customizable. You get to personalize your TV plan by picking five of your favorite channels from about 200 (including NFL Network, The Hallmark Channel, and The CW). Then, Fios will recommend a channel lineup based on your favorites.
- More Fios TV: This plan will give you over 200 channels for $90. Now let’s compare that to our top TV provider: Xfinity gives you 185 channels for as low as $60 per month but will increase to about $90 afterward.
- The Most Fios TV: There is no other cable TV provider that can net you more than 425 channels. And for $110? If you want loads of channels, this is the package to get. This is why we hope you live in one of the areas Verizon Fios TV is offered.
TV channel count
|Fios TV Test Drive||$70.00/mo.°||425+||View Plans|
|Your Fios TV||$70.00/mo.°||125+||View Plans|
|More Fios TV||$90.00/mo.°||225+||View Plans|
|The Most Fios TV||$110.00/mo.°||425+||View Plans|
Optimum is the best cable provider for the family
You’ll avoid family fights when your spouse wants to record the Utah Jazz game, your kiddo wants to record The Bachelor, and you want to record the Los Angeles Dodgers double-header. No more “house divided” when you can record 15 shows at once.
Just be aware that the DVR maxes out at 75 hours of HD storage. So yes, you can record everything at once, but you might have to watch and delete your recording ASAP.
Optimum is based out of NYC, so it hooks all the Big Apple residents up with HD sports channels for every New York sports team. (Seriously, all nine of them.) Sadly, though, we can’t guarantee the Giants will magically get better with your Optimum TV cable subscription.
Optimum is only available in three states and random cities.
Sorry if we got your hopes up about this cable TV provider. Optimum’s service area covers only New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and random cities in the US. Check out this availability map to see if you're one of the chosen ones.
If you’re fortunate enough to live in beautiful New England, though, you could do much worse than Optimum cable, especially if you’re a sports fan.
TV channel count
|Basic TV||$30.00/mo.**||50+||View Plans|
|Core TV||$75.00/mo.**||220+||View Plans|
|Select TV||$95.00/mo.**||340+||View Plans|
|Premier TV||$115.00/mo.**||420+||View Plans|
Cox allows you to customize your service
Cox TV caters to movie buffs, sports fans, families, and reality show addicts. You and your family will find a package you love with four TV channel lineups to choose from.
The packages include local channels for news junkies, sports programming for fanatics, and Spanish-speaking channels for telenovela addicts. SHOWTIME, HBO, and CINEMAX round out the selection for movie aficionados.
Cox’s Record 6 DVR costs $19.99 a month and it stores 340 HD or 1,000 SD hours. Xfinity's X1 DVR stores less than one-third of that ($7.50/month). Both DVRs can record six shows at once.
Although Cox TV has an inexpensive option for people who only want a few live TV channels, Cox’s Contour TV Starter package will give you half the channels than other cable service providers entry-level packages. Xfinity’s entry package gives you 125+ channels for the same price as Cox’s plan with 75+ channels.
But Cox might be the only TV provider in your area, and it's still a reliable option (it did make our top 5). We recommend you check your availability, since Cox TV is available only in 19 states.
Also, there's a 2-year contract (*eye-roll*).
One of the downsides to cable TV is contracts, and Cox TV has one (unlike Spectrum). If you choose to cancel your service within 30 days of your sign-up date, you get out of your plan for free. If you wait until after that 30-day window, you’ll be charged a $240 fee to cancel.
TV channel count
|Contour TV Starter||$53.00/mo.††||75+||View Plans|
|Contour TV Preferred||$92.00/mo.††||140+||View Plans|
|Contour TV Preferred Plus||$112.00/mo.††||170+||View Plans|
|Contour TV Ultimate||$132.00/mo.††||250+||View Plans|
Recap: Which is the best cable TV provider?
- Xfinity TV: Xfinity is the best cable TV provider because of its wide availability across the US, both plans have great dollar-to-channel ratios, and Xfinity has a solid DVR in the X1. The entry-level plan, Popular TV, comes in at a low cost of $50/month for 125+ channels or upgrade for only $10 more for 185+ channels with Ultimate TV.
- Spectrum TV: Spectrum is the best no-contract option with its fair pricing. Its only plan made itself to our favorite cheapest TV packages list. You can't go wrong with the TV® Select plan for $50 per month and 125+ channels, and you can cancel whenever you'd like.
- Verizon Fios TV: With Verizon Fios TV, you’ll get the most channels you can possibly get with a TV provider. We're just crossing our fingers that you live in one of the nine states that it’s offered. Get a personalized channel lineup for $70 per month with Your Fios TV, 225+ channels for $90, and a whopping 425+ for $110 per month.
- Optimum TV: Optimum is best for the family because its set-top box allows you to record 15 shows at once. But this TV provider is also for the East Coast folks like Verizon Fios TV. Optimum offers the most inexpensive plan on this list at $30 for 50 channels with the Basic TV plan, but you can also get as many as 420 live TV channels for $115. If Fios isn't available to you, we think Optimum's Core TV and Select TV packages are worth the price.
- Cox TV: Cox is best for those who like the simplicity of one bill to combine their service with TV, internet, landline phone, and home security. We're not a huge fan of the high pricing combined with the low channel count (as compared to the other cable TV providers on this list). However, it is the only cable TV service that offers customizable bundling.
If you’re still unsure which TV provider to sign up with, check out our Best TV Providers of 2022 review to compare more options.
We compare and rank TV providers based on five key factors:
To decide which cable TV providers are best for you, we ranked each on these five important factors. We also consider reliability, customer service, and bill simplicity.
We don’t always get to take these companies for a test drive, but we do loads of research to give you the best recommendations possible. We got your back when it comes to getting the most out of your money (because who doesn’t want to save money for summer trips and festivities?).
Is it worth it to cancel cable?
Before you cancel your cable subscription, consider these questions:
- Are you looking to save money? If so, keep in mind that some live TV streaming services are more expensive than cable.
- Do you find yourself not watching TV? Consider ordering a cheap streaming service for your entertainment.
- Are you have a bad experience with the company's customer service? Consider another cable company.