Cheapest Cable TV Providers 2021

Cable at an affordable price is something every home needs

If you want to find a cheap cable TV provider, so you don’t miss out on your Family Feud and The Office, you’re in the right place.

You might be trying to save money for a new car, or you and your roommates are living that broke college student life. Or maybe you and your spouse are trying to find ways to cut back on luxuries.  But you don’t classify your daily $5 Starbucks drink as a “luxury,” so budget cuts have to come from somewhere else.

There’s one downside to all of the cheap cable TV providers: their availability is quite limited. But we found the best cable TV deals and did the research for you.

Quick comparison—cheapest cable TV providers
ServicePlanPriceTV channel countDetails
Cox TVTV Starter$25*75+View Plan
Spectrum TVSpectrum TV® Select$44.99*125+View Plan
Buckeye TVLocal 30+$24.9930+View Plan
Cable ONE TVEconomy Cable$40Up to 20View Plan
Data effective 10/28/20. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.
* For the first 12 months.

Enter in your ZIP code to see which cable providers are available in your area.

Cox: Editor’s Choice

TV Starter
Cox TV
TV channel count:
TV service type:

What we like

  • Includes basic, popular channels

All the basic cable TV channels you need

Cox’s TV Starter plan has your basic local broadcast, government, education, and shopping channels. It does also include lots of Music Choice channels. Coming in at $25 per month, that’s not a bad deal for basic cable TV.

Cox’s Starter TV plan also includes the following channels:

  • ABC
  • CBS
  • C-Span
  • CW
  • FOX
  • NBC
  • PBS

What we don’t like

  • 2-year contract

Get out of here with that contract, Cox

Hopefully, you fell in love with that channel lineup and price combo because you’ll need to commit for two years. But it might honestly be worth it if you’re not high maintenance with your channel lineup.

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 ETF of up to $240.

Cox summary

  • Good: Cox’s channel lineup and price are a great pair for any money-saver.
  • Bad: You’ll have to go full committal for two years when you sign the contract.
  • Full review: Check out our full review of Cox.

Where is Cox available?

Cox is only available in 18 states. Check if it’s available in your city with this coverage and availability map.

Spectrum: Best no-contract option

TV Select
Spectrum TV
TV channel count:
TV service type:

What we like

  • No contract
  • Solid number of channels

No contract? No way?

One of the best things a cable TV provider 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. This is where the no-contract thing comes in handy.

Channels for everybody

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

  • Animal Planet
  • Big Ten Network
  • CNN
  • Disney Channel
  • ESPN
  • ESPN2
  • Food Network
  • FS1
  • Golf Channel
  • Hallmark Channel
  • HGTV
  • Lifetime
  • PBS
  • SEC Network
  • And more

What we don’t like

  • Equipment varies depending on location

Where do you live?

Our customer service representative said Spectrum’s equipment is different depending on where you live. So we can’t tell you if you’ll be getting a DVR with a storage of either 21 or 150 total hours. But we can tell you that you’ll be getting a DVR box that can record two things at once.

Spectrum summary

  • Good: Spectrum doesn’t have a contract and has a decent number of family and sports channels.
  • Bad: The equipment will be a surprise, depending on where you live.
  • Full review: Check out our full review of Spectrum.

Where is Spectrum available?

Spectrum is only available in 41 states. Check if it’s available in your city with this coverage and availability map.

Buckeye: Best price

Stay updated on the politics or the local weather with the cheapest TV provider.

Local 30+
Buckeye TV
TV channel count:
TV service type:

What we like

  • 30 plus local channels with no contract

Affordable cable TV and no contract required

For the price of a t-shirt, you’ll get more than 30 local channels to choose from when you wind down after work. These channels range from ABC, C-SPAN, FOX, PBS, Telemundo, and more.

What we don’t like

  • Very limited availability

Only available in a small area of the country

But those local channels are only available to select cities on the East Coast. This cable TV provider is a great option for those who may be living in Ohio or Michigan and like to stay updated on the latest news.

Buckeye summary

  • Good: Buckeye offers more than 30 local channels for a low price without signing a multi-year contract.
  • Bad: This cable TV provider is only available to a few cities on the East side of the US.

Where is Buckeye available?

Buckeye is only available in parts of Ohio and other cities along the East Coast. Check if it’s available in your town with this coverage and availability map.

Sparklight: Best for local channels

Sparklight is pricier for fewer channels, but it’s more widely available than Buckeye.

Economy Cable
Cable ONE TV
TV channel count:
Up to 20
TV service type:

What we like

  • 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. Mostly when you have no idea if you two will have a great relationship. And although Sparklight (formerly Cable One) only offers 20 local channels, they offer some of the top local channels.

Sparklight offers the following local channels:

  • ABC
  • CBS
  • CW
  • FOX
  • HSN
  • PBS
  • C-SPAN
  • NBC
  • TBN
  • Unimas
  • Univision
  • Weather
  • And more

What we don’t like

  • $40 per month

The price can be hard to justify if you have other affordable cable TV providers in your area. You’re paying $2 per channel, which is probably the priciest channel-to-dollar ratio in the industry. But if it’s one of your only choices, enjoy staying up to date on local, national, and international news with Sparklight.

Sparklight summary

  • Good: Sparklight offers some of the top local channels.
  • Bad: The price is a bit pricey for the small number of channels in the package.

Where is Sparklight available?

Sparklight is only available in 19 states. Check if it’s available in your city with the tool below, or this coverage and availability map.

AT&T U-Verse: Discontinued

Get over 180 channels you and the family will love for the price of one nice, fancy meal. Time to cut out the prime rib, Carl.

Light Bulb icon
Looking for AT&T U-verse?
We hate to break it to you, but AT&T U-verse has gone the way of the dinosaurs. RIP, friend. If you still rock the U-verse badge with pride, you can get our take on it in our AT&T U-verse review.

If you’re still looking for AT&T TV packages, check out our reviews of DIRECTV and AT&T TV NOW.

AT&T U-verse TV
TV channel count:
TV service type:

What we like

  • High channel count
  • Fiber-optic network

Lots of family channels

AT&T’s U-family plan is a great buy for everyone in the family with more than 180 fun channels. There’s something to watch for the history-storytelling Dad and the Elena of Avalor–loving sister. Some of the included channels are:

  • Animal Planet
  • Boomerang
  • Disney Channel
  • Food Network
  • Hallmark Channel
  • HGTV
  • National Geographic
  • Nickelodeon
  • And more

Reliable fiber-optic network

AT&T U-verse uses both fiber and fiber-and-coaxial hybrid connections. These deliver a more reliable, glitch-free cable TV watching experience. You’ll be able to see all the amazing slo-mo analysis on Sherlock Holmes.

What we don’t like

  • Fees
  • 1-year contract

Those pesky fees

Lots of cable TV companies charge fees for activation, installation, broadcast, etc. But it’s nice to lay it out and see what you’ll need to pay before choosing a service.

  • Activation fee: $35 (one time)
  • Installation: $15 self-install kit or $89.99 professional installation
  • Broadcast fees: $7.99 per month

1-year contract required

For one year, you’ll have to commit to AT&T U-verse before switching to another cable TV service. Although it’s not a no-contract option, at least it’s not a two-year commitment like DIRECTV.

If you need to back out of your contract, just keep in mind that you’ll be paying a prorated early termination fee of $15 per month left on your contract.

AT&T U-Verse summary

  • Good: U-verse gives you the best value with the price-to-channel ratio along with availability.
  • Bad: Double-check the U-verse channel lineup because you’ll have to commit for one year.
  • Full review: Check out our full review of AT&T U-Verse.

Where is AT&T U-Verse available?

AT&T U-verse is only available in 22 states. Check if it’s available in your city with this coverage and availability map.

Recap: Which is the best inexpensive cable TV provider?

  • Cox: Cox allows you to choose from six lineups to make it unique to you and your family.
  • Spectrum: Spectrum’s biggest plus is the fact that it doesn’t require a contract combined with a decent number of channels.
  • Buckeye: If you’re in one of the lucky cities Buckeye is available, you’ll get to enjoy local channels for a fair price.
  • Sparklight: This cable TV provider is certainly one of the cheapest, but it’s not the best choice. Hopefully, Sparklight drops its monthly price soon to compete against others in its industry.