Spectrum TV Review 2019
Spectrum TV service is available in most of the US—over 41 states, thanks to the merger between Time Warner Cable, Bright House Networks, and Charter Communications. And if you’re looking for more than just TV, you can bundle your Spectrum TV and internet service together to save some cash.
It’s not just basic TV, either. Spectrum TV offers a no-contract option that includes big hitters like HBO and SHOWTIME on its Silver and Gold plans. Plus, you won’t pay extra HD fees.
|Plan||Price||TV channel count||Details|
|TV Select||$44.99*||125+||View Plan|
|TV Silver||$69.99*||175+||View Plan|
|TV Gold||$89.99*||200+||View Plan|
- No contract
- Premium channels included
- Widely available
- Extra fees
- Not the cheapest
Spectrum TV packages and pricing
No contracts and a surprising number of actual channels.
At face value, Spectrum costs more per channel than other providers like Frontier, DIRECTV, AT&T U-Verse, and Xfinity. But you might be surprised at how many channels you actually get once you plug your ZIP code in.
For example, when we entered a Los Angeles ZIP code, we got offers ranging from 214 to 342 channels per package. That price per channel breakdown is a lot better than the advertised channel counts.
|Plan||Price||TV channel count||TV service type||Details|
|TV Select||$44.99*||125+||Cable||View Plan|
|TV Silver||$69.99*||175+||Cable||View Plan|
|TV Gold||$89.99*||200+||Cable||View Plan|
Where Spectrum wins points is with its premium channels. Both the Silver and Gold plans include HBO and SHOWTIME, and each of these premium channels can cost up to $15 per month with other providers.
Now fans of Euphoria and Chernobyl can stay on top of the new HBO series for a decent price.
How to choose a Spectrum package
- Select: If you need to keep it cheap, this will get you the most popular channels, but you may miss out on some sports.
- Silver: This is where Spectrum shines. You get a good balance between a decent price and the networks you watch.
- Gold: We’d recommend this primarily for sports fans or those who want it all and don’t mind paying a bit more for it.
We recommend going for Silver or Gold packages, if only for the HBO and SHOWTIME, which would normally run you an extra $20–$30 total with other providers.
Spectrum TV contracts
No contracts, no problems.
We prefer when TV providers don’t require one- or two-year contracts, which normally come with early termination fees. No contracts also means that you won’t get locked into a price hike after your first year.
So props to Spectrum for keepin’ it real and letting folks go month to month. We appreciate that freedom.
Spectrum TV early termination fees
Don’t worry about early termination fees with Spectrum.
No contracts means no early termination fees either—a beautiful thing for short-term renters, or anyone who’s had to pay hundreds of dollars because they canceled their service early. Spectrum lets you come and go as you please.
Spectrum TV extra fees
Spectrum’s fees aren’t outrageous, but they do add up for larger households.
Additional set-top boxes
How many TVs do you need service for? Each set-top box from Spectrum adds $7.50 to your monthly bill. So one box is $7.50, two boxes are $15, and so on.
That’s really not too bad compared to the other TV providers who charge $10 or more per month for every box.
Adding DVR service costs $4.99 for one box, but a flat $9.99 for DVR service for two to four boxes. Even though that price is on top of your set-top box lease, it’s still not too bad, since providers like Xfinity may charge $20 for DVR service before adding an HD fee too.
However, it’s not quite as nice as DIRECTV’s offers, which include service for a single Genie DVR as part of the package price.
No HD fees
Luckily, Spectrum doesn’t charge extra HD fees. Some providers like Xfinity charge an extra $10 per month for HD channel access.
Broadcast and regional sports fees
Spectrum’s broadcast fee of $11.99 is higher than we’re used to seeing, but it also seems to loop in the regional sports fee we see with other providers. If you consider other providers charge anywhere from $5 to $10 for each of those fees, Spectrum actually comes out a bit cheaper than most.
Spectrum’s self-install kit costs $9.99, and professional installation costs $49.99. We’d say it’s worth saving the money since most people can connect a cable box pretty quickly and effortlessly.
Spectrum TV channels
Even at its basic levels, Spectrum includes our favorite channels.
Spectrum’s channel counts may be much higher than listed. While a lot of those are Music Choice or shopping channels, we weren’t disappointed with the channel lineup on even the Select package.
Most of our favorite networks were available even in the cheapest package. The biggest reason for upgrading from Select would be to get the premium channel inclusions and more niche networks.
Upgrading to Silver or Gold gives you the offshoots of major networks. For example, you get Nickelodeon with Select, but get Nick Jr with Silver, and Nicktoons and TeenNick with Gold.
You also find a lot more sports networks in the Gold plan, but the main networks are still covered by Select.
Spectrum’s premium channel pricing is similar to other providers, but if you upgrade to Silver or Gold plans, you’ll get the most popular premium networks included for free.
It makes no sense to add a premium network to a Select plan—it’s only $20 more per month to upgrade to Silver. You’ll get two premium networks and more than 50 additional channels. It’s a no brainer.
Best packages for sports
You can get ESPN and other major networks on the most basic package. The Silver package adds a few more networks, but to really flesh out your sports lineup, you’ll want to go for the Gold.
Spectrum TV offers the following sports at its basic level:
- FOX Sports 1
- NBC Sports Network
You’ll want to upgrade to Silver or Gold to get the more specific sports channels like NBA TV, NFL Network, NHL Network, and NFL RedZone.
The Spectrum TV app is straight-up stacked. If you’re at home, you can watch 200 live TV channels and 30,000 on-demand titles. When you’re on the go, you can still get up to 150 live channels and 20,000 on-demand titles.
Spectrum TV equipment and features
DVR service isn’t amazing, but it’s cheaper than most.
|Number of DVRs||DVR service price|
DVR service with Spectrum is pretty cheap and doesn’t require leasing an additional box. However, the DVR hours are pretty weak compared to our favorite Hopper DVR from DISH. Spectrum’s box gives you about 21 HD hours, whereas the Hopper can store 500 HD hours.
Spectrum has also introduced a cloud DVR, but it’s in a sort of “beta” state and isn’t really advertised. The quick and dirty is that you’ll pay $5 per month and you can save up to 50 programs (episodes or movies, not seasons of shows) for 90 days.
Spectrum TV customer service
Like all TV providers, Spectrum doesn’t score well with customers.
The American Customer Satisfaction Index never shows amazing scores for the telecom industry, and Spectrum is no exception. Even though the company has improved its scores from past years, it’s still a few points behind the average score of 62.1
Not stoked on Spectrum’s ACSI ratings? You won’t like JD Power’s US Residential Television Service Provider Satisfaction Studies, either. Spectrum is last in almost every region.2
Spectrum TV recap
No contracts, all the channels you want, and a reasonable price.
We like that you don’t have to sign up for contracts (or the price increases that can come with them). We’re also big fans of how Spectrum includes HBO on Silver and Gold packages. (We watch HBO more than anything, so it’s nice having it bundled into the service for a better price.)
While Spectrum doesn’t impress us much with tech—other TV providers have much better DVRs—it does basic TV well. Plus, you’ll get on-the-go TV with the Spectrum TV app, which includes a ton of on-demand content.
Are you a Spectrum customer? How was your experience? Let us know in the comments below!
- American Customer Satisfaction Index, “ACSI Telecommunications Report 2018-2019“
- JD Power, “US Residential Television Service Provider Satisfaction Study by Region”