Cheapest Cable TV Providers

Cable at an affordable price is something every home needs, and you can get it for $20 per month.

Xfinity TV
Xfinity
Xfinity TV
3.8 out of 5 stars
3.75
Starting from
$20
/mo
Available channels
10–125
Spectrum TV
Spectrum
Spectrum TV
3.5 out of 5 stars
3.5
Starting from
$64.99
Available channels
150+
Cox TV
Cox
Cox TV
2.8 out of 5 stars
2.75
Starting from
$56
/mo
Available channels
75
Check Availability
Sparklight TV
Sparklight
Sparklight TV
2.3 out of 5 stars
2.25
Starting from
$42
/mo
Available channels
Up to 20
Chantel Buchi
Jan 25, 2024
bullet9 min read

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If you're looking for a cheap cable TV provider so you don't miss out on Family Feud while also saving money, you're in the right place.

The four inexpensive cable TV providers on our list are all reliable companies, and you might find yourself wanting to stick with them for a few years. They range from $20-$60 per month with 20-150 channels. Not bad.

There's one downside to some of the cheap TV providers: their availability can be limited. But we found the best cable TV deals and we'll help you find the right one for your home.

What is the cheapest cable TV provider?
Service
Plan
Price
TV channel count
Details
Xfinity TV - WestChoice TV$20/mo.*10+
Xfinity TV - WestPopular TV$50/mo.125+
Spectrum TVSpectrum TV® Select Signature$64.99/mo. for 12 mos.150+
Cox TVContour TV Starter$56/mo.^75+
Sparklight TVEconomy Cable$42/mo.°Up to 20
* No term contract. Broadcast TV fee extra; price subj to change. Taxes and equipment not included.
No term contract. Broadcast TV fee and regional sports fee extra; price subj to change. Taxes and equipment not included.
* Limited time offer; subject to change; valid to qualified residential customers who have not subscribed to any services within the previous 30 days and who have no outstanding obligation to Charter. Spectrum TV Select Signature promotion price is $59.99/mo; standard rates apply after yr 1. Taxes, fees, and surcharges (broadcast surcharge up to $23.20/mo) extra and subject to change during and after the promotional period; installation/network activation, equipment and additional services are extra.
^ Pricing for 1 year
° Taxes, fees and surcharges extra. Services may not be available in all areas and programming is subject to change. Rates subject to change.
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Comcast Xfinity TV is the best and cheapest cable TV service

You'll score the most channels for $50 with Xfinity's Popular plan, or save some cash and spend less than half that to get your local channels (and more).

Also, Xfinity offers the cheapest cable and internet bundle. You can add Xfinity Internet for $20–$80 extra per month.

Plan
Monthly price
Available channels
View Plan
Choice TV$20/mo.*10+
Popular TV$50/mo.125+
* No term contract. Broadcast TV fee extra; price subj to change. Taxes and equipment not included.
No term contract. Broadcast TV fee and regional sports fee extra; price subj to change. Taxes and equipment not included.

What we like about Xfinity TV

  • Xfinity's dollar-to-channel ratio is the best in the cable TV world
  • The X1 DVR is one of the best DVRs in the industry

Many channels for an abundance of entertainment

Comcast Xfinity gives you more than 125 channels for sports, lifestyle, kids, and news. There's something to watch for the history-storytelling Dad and the Elena of Avalor-loving sister.

Some of the channels in the Popular TV plan lineup are the following:

  • ABC
  • Animal Planet
  • BBC America
  • CBS
  • CNN
  • Cartoon Network
  • Disney Channel
  • Food Network
  • Fox News
  • Hallmark Channel
  • HISTORY
  • HGTV
  • Lifetime
  • MSNBC
  • NBC
  • Telemundo
  • PBS
  • Univision

But if you're looking to save money for a new car or your kid's dance lessons, the Choice TV plan might be more to your liking for $20 per month. And even though Xfinity advertises this plan to have 10+ channels, we've found it can carry close to 90 channels, depending on where you live.

Some of the channels in the Choice TV plan lineup are the following:

  • ABC
  • CBS
  • CNBC 
  • C-SPAN, C-SPAN 2
  • Cozi TV
  • Discovery Channel
  • Daystar Television Network
  • FOX
  • Fox Business
  • History Channel
  • HSN
  • MeTV
  • NBC
  • PBS
  • PBS Kids
  • Telemundo
  • The CW
  • TV Land

The X1 DVR will support your family's recordings needs

The Xfinity X1 DVR is one of the most touted in the traditional TV industry for its capabilities

Xfinity gives you 20 hours of cloud DVR storage for free. If you'd like more storage, you can get 150 D hours for $10 per month or 300 hours for $20 per month.

With 150 hours, you can store 25 movies and 75 TV episodes. The best part is that you can save those movies and TV shows as if you own them.

Record The Longest Yard and watch it today, next month, or two years from now because they'll save on your DVR.

And another bonus is you and the roommates can record six TV shows or movies at once.

What we don't like about Xfinity TV

  • Fees can make your monthly bill higher than you'd like

Xfinity has many pesky fees we could do without

Most cable TV companies charge fees; unfortunately, Xfinity isn't different. But what can we expect?

Luckily, all fees are optional, but we highly recommend them if you want access to local channels, regional sports channels, and DVR service.

Allow us to give you a heads up on which monthly fees you might want to pay to create a service perfect for you:

  • First set-top box: $7.50/mo.
  • Additional TV box: $7.50/mo.
  • DVR fee: $0-$20.00/mo.
  • Broadcast fee: Up to $24.95/mo.
  • Regional sports fee: Up to $11.20/mo.

Spectrum TV is the best no-contract option

Spectrum is a great second choice to Xfinity TV if the latter is not available in your area. 

Spectrum
Spectrum TV® Select Signature
3.5 out of 5 stars
3.5
Channel Count
150+
Starts at
$64.99/mo. for 12 mos.

What we like about Spectrum TV

  • Like Xfinity, Spectrum doesn't have a contract
  • You'll get a solid number of channels in your lineup

No contract? No way?

One of the best things a cable TV service can give us is a no-contract option. Let's be real—we don't like feeling stuck. We want to feel free to cancel if we don't like the service.

Keep in mind Spectrum may increase the price on you after a year. Spectrum guarantees the advertised pricing for one year but doesn't specify how much your monthly bill will be during year two.

But hey, this might be where the no-contract thing comes in handy. If it becomes too pricey for you, feel free to cancel. But maybe you'll like the reliability of Spectrum and decide to just stick with them.

If you'd like to bundle, Spectrum Internet is one of the best internet providers.

A solid channel lineup everyone in the family will love

Whether you want the top channels for your family or for sports-watching parties at your house, you'll find it with Spectrum. Spectrum offers the following channels:

  • ABC
  • Animal Planet
  • BBC America
  • Cartoon Network
  • CBS
  • CNN
  • Discovery Channel
  • Disney Channel
  • ESPN
  • Food Network
  • Fox News
  • FX
  • Hallmark Channel
  • HGTV
  • HISTORY
  • Investigation Discovery
  • Lifetime
  • MSNBC
  • Nickelodeon
  • PBS
  • TNT
  • USA

What we don't like about Spectrum TV

  • We're disappointed in Spectrum's DVR as its DVR storage is minimal

Spectrum's DVR storage is one of the lowest in the industry

We'll just spit it out--Spectrum's DVR only holds 35 HD/80 SD hours and can only record two shows at once.

This is subpar when you realize Xfinity's DVR holds 60 HD/300 SD hours, and Cox TV's holds 250-1,000 SD hours.

If you have a small family, Spectrum TV's DVR might slide. But if you have four or more family members who like to record TV shows and movies often, you might find yourselves in a sticky situation.

Why? Because you'll run out of storage quickly, you can only record two shows or movies simultaneously, and the family won't be happy.

The only clarity we have is the enhanced DVR. At checkout, it says you can record 100 shows if you upgrade to the $10 per month DVR service. 

Cox is best for basic TV channels

Cox TV allows you to create a personalized bundle with TV, internet, landline or mobile, and home security. No other cable TV provider offers the simplicity of four services on one bill.

Cox
Contour TV Starter
Starting from
$56/mo.
Channel Count
75+
Technology Type

What we like about Cox TV

  • Cox's starter plan includes basic, popular channels
  • There are many DVR options for the family

Enjoy more than 75 basic cable TV channels

Cox's Contour TV Starter plan has basic local broadcast, government, education, and shopping channels. It does also include lots of Music Choice channels.

We like the variety, especially if you would like a little more than just the local channels. (But if you're looking for a lineup with only local channels, jump down to Sparklight.)

Cox's Contour TV Starter plan includes the following channels:

  • ABC
  • CBS
  • CoziTV
  • C-SPAN
  • CW
  • FOX
  • HSN
  • MeTV
  • NBC
  • PBS
  • PBS Kids
  • QVC
  • Telemundo
  • True Crime Network
  • UniMás
  • Univision

Choose the DVR storage space that best fits your family

Cox TV gives you the option to record 250 or 1,000 hours with your DVR.

This is perfect for the family of three who will record only a few TV shows here and there, and for the family of seven who could use the entire 1,000 hours of space.

We'll break down the three DVR option Cox offers here:

  • Essential DVR: $10.00/mo. (250 hours of DVR storage space, record two shows at once)
  • Preferred DVR: $20.00/mo. (250 hours of DVR storage space, record six shows at once)
  • Ultimate DVR: $30.00/mo. (1,000 hours of DVR storage space, record 24 shows at once)

What we don't like about Cox TV

  • You must sign a 2-year contract
  • Cox TV has limited availability in the US

Get out of here with that contract, Cox

Hopefully, you fell in love with that channel lineup and DVR combo because you'll need to commit for two years. But it might honestly be worth it if you want to bundle TV, internet, landline, and home security.

If you happen not to like Cox's services, you can get out of your plan for free if you cancel your service within 30 days of your sign-up date. But if you wait until after that 30-day window to cancel, you'll be charged an early termination fee (ETF) of up to $240.

Cox might or might not be available in your state

Cox is only available in 19 states in the US. Sigh.

The way you can find out if this cable provider services your area is to enter your address on Cox Communications website. (We're crossing our fingers for you).

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Sparklight TV is best for local channels

If you want a simple TV plan with your local channels, Sparklight might be up your alley. You'll get at least 20 local channels for your morning news and nighttime entertainment.

Sparklight
Economy Cable
2.3 out of 5 stars
2.25
Starting from
$42/mo.
Channel Count
Technology Type

What we like about Sparklight TV

  • No contract for 20 local channels

Cable TV with no contract is music to our ears

It's always a bonus when you don't have to be tied down to a contract with your TV provider, especially when you have no idea if you two will have a great relationship.

Although Sparklight TV offers only 20 local channels, they offer some of the top local channels.

Keep in mind that every location isn't created equal. When we checked the Idaho Falls channel lineup, 26 channels were available. Diamondhead, Mississippi had 34.

If you want to know exactly which channels you'll get straight to your TV, check out the full channel lineup. And in that same link, you can see if you live in one of the 21 states Sparklight is offered.

Sparklight TV offers the following local channels:

  • ABC
  • CBS
  • Daystar Television Network
  • FOX
  • HSN
  • PBS
  • PBS Learn
  • C-SPAN
  • NBC
  • QVC
  • TBN
  • Telemundo
  • The CW
  • True Crime Network

What we don't like about Sparklight TV

  • It costs about $2 per channel

The price can be hard to justify if you have other affordable cable TV providers in your area.

You're paying about $2 per channel with Sparklight, one of the industry's priciest dollar-to-channel ratios. We like to see nothing higher than $1.50 per channel.

But if it's one of your only choices, enjoy staying updated on local, national, and international news with Sparklight TV.

Recap: Which is the best inexpensive cable TV service?

  • Xfinity: For $20 per month, you can get 10+ (or maybe even 50+, depending on where you live) with Xfinity's Choice TV plan. Or opt-in for 125+ channels with Xfinity's Popular TV plan for $50. This cable TV provider offers the best bang for your buck.
  • Spectrum: Spectrum gives you over 150 channels for $65 per month without a contract, but your price is only the same for 12 months. After that, it will return to Spectrum TV's standard rates. This is a great combination for a cheap TV provider, and it provides you with a channel variety everyone in the family will enjoy.
  • Cox: Cox's Contour TV Starter nets you 75 channels for $53. This isn't as great a deal as with Spectrum or Xfinity, but Cox allows you to customize your package fully. We like the simplicity of bundling TV, internet, landline, and home security with one cable company.
  • Sparklight: This cable TV provider is certainly one of the cheapest, but its dollar-to-channel ratio is still a bit high. But this cheap TV provider is best for those who just want a few channels to stay up to date on the news or watch their favorite network TV shows.

What to look for in an inexpensive cable TV provider

You might need to keep your standards at bay when looking for a cheap cable TV service. But you shouldn't have to compromise too much.

A good, cheap TV package should still have a decent dollar-to-channel ratio, and the amount you'd like to pay per month will most likely determine how many channels you get.

Cheap cable TV providers that work best for consumers:

  • Offers at least one inexpensive package
  • A fair price for the number of channels you receive
  • At least has local channels
  • Includes channels for the family
  • Still a reliable service despite the price

Our top four recommended cable TV services have at least one affordable plan. They're the cheapest plans in the industry from reliable cable TV companies.

With these plans, you'll get a sufficient number of channels for the price tag, and all plans have local channels.

If you're willing to spend $50 per month, this is where you'll find over 100 popular channels for the family, such as ESPN, HGTV, and Disney Channel.

If you're willing to get satellite TV, you can get 165+ for $65 per month.

How can I get basic cable for free?

The best way to get basic cable for free is to set up an HD antenna.

They're a one-time buy of about $20-$80 and you could get as many as 100+ channels with great reception.

Is streaming cheaper than cable?

Yes and no.

Live TV streaming services range from $25 to $155, and cable TV ranges from $20 to $139.

Philo is $25 per month for more than 60 channels, but the average price for live streaming is around $85 per month for 32–260+ channels (fuboTV, Hulu + Live TV, YouTube TV, Sling TV, and DIRECTV).

But you can get 125+ channels for $50 per month with Xfinity TV. Or you could spend as much as $138 per month with Cox TV for 250+ channels.

Methodology

We compare and rank cable TV providers based on five key factors:

  1. Price
  2. Number of overall channels
  3. Channel variety for the family
  4. Availability
  5. DVR storage space

For a cable TV service to be named "one of the cheapest," it's got to have a sufficient number of channels (especially local) for a fair price.

The dollar-to-channel ratio is a huge factor we take into consideration. Who doesn't want to get the best bang for their buck?

Channel variety is also important so everyone in the family has something to watch. We have to think of the parents who love The Price is Right or The Kelly Clarkson Show. And, of course, the kids will want to watch Arthur or Teen Titans Go! before school.

All that won't matter if it's unavailable to you in your area, so availability across the US ranks cable TV providers higher on our list.

And we'll save you from family feuds by making sure those cable TV providers have enough DVR storage space.

Chantel Buchi
Written by
Chantel Buchi
Chantel is all about finding the best tv or streaming service to watch as many football games as possible to keep her Fantasy Football team in check. Prior to being a TV and Streaming Tech Reporter for Reviews.org, she worked for NFL Network and The Alliance of American Football. Before that, she received a B.A. of Communication at the University of Utah and an M.S. in Sports Journalism at USC. Go Utes and Fight On. Contact her at chantel@reviews.org

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