RCN Cable TV Service Review
Most cable providers try to lock you into a long contract by promising sweet deals up front. But not RCN. All of its plans are month-to-month, and the prices are actually on the lower end of the spectrum (especially if you bundle).
But RCN isn’t for everyone. It’s available in only a few metropolitan areas, like New York, Chicago, and DC. Plus, RCN has just one TV plan, so if you don’t like its offerings, you’ll need to look elsewhere.
- Contract-free packages
- Affordable TV and bundles
- Poor variety of plans
- Extra costs for DVR and other equipment
RCN cable packages and pricing
RCN offers affordability and flexibility with its TV plan. Yep, there’s just one.
RCN takes a less-is-more approach to its TV service. In fact the company has only one standalone TV package (though you can get other TV offers if you’re bundling with internet or phone service).
RCN’s Signature TV package comes with a standard 275 channels (or more in certain locations), RCN On Demand service, a TV guide, and parental controls.
While RCN only has one standalone package for its TV customers, that package can be custom built with add-on channel packages and on-demand services (more on that below).
RCN’s minimalist attitude also extends to its contracts: it has none.
Its TV packages are month-to-month and come with a one-year price guarantee. (Can I hear some noise from my fellow commitment-phobes in the back?)
Comparing RCN cable to competitors
RCN is a relatively small company, but it competes with giants like DISH, DIRECTV, and Xfinity. RCN offers simple, flexible plans that cost less than the major brands’ premium packages with similar channel selection.
Many major cable TV companies don’t offer month-to-month plans like RCN. Those that do usually charge a much higher price for the contract-free option.
But RCN can’t quite compete with the bigger players in other areas like plan variety and channel selection. The options are just more limited.
If you decide to bundle with RCN, you’ll have a few packages to choose from. In fact, you can get a wider variety of TV plans by bundling than by buying a standalone TV plan.
RCN’s TV/internet plan combinations and prices vary widely by service area (check RCN’s website to see what it offers in your area), but here are some of its most widely available bundles.
|Plan||Price||TV channel count||Internet download speed||Details|
|Digital Basic + 25 Mbps Internet||$34.99/mo.*||70+||25 Mbps||View Plan|
|Digital Basic + 155 Mbps Internet||$44.99/mo.*||70+||155 Mbps||View Plan|
|Digital Basic TV + 1 Gbps Internet||$64.99/mo.*||70+||1000 Mbps||View Plan|
|Signature TV + 155 Mbps Internet||$89.99/mo.*||295+||155 Mbps||View Plan|
|Signature TV + 1 Gbps Internet||$109.99/mo.*||295+||1000 Mbps||View Plan|
As you may have noticed, it’s actually significantly cheaper to get a Basic TV and 250 Mbps internet bundle than it is to get the Signature TV package on its own. If you don’t care about having Comedy Central and TNT, then the bundle’s a pretty great deal even with fewer channels.
You’ll also be happy to know that RCN bundles with more channels are still cheaper than those offered by the competition. You can get 275+ channels and 1,000 Mbps (aka suuuper fast) internet for about as much as other top providers’ premium TV packages alone.
Early termination fees
RCN has no early termination fees (as in zero, none, nada, zip, zilch). We know, it’s hard to believe.
RCN’s fine print warns that there may be additional fees “for taxes, surcharges, equipment, activation and installation that are not included as part of the package and are subject to increases.”1
While that ambiguous statement may sound ominous, these fees shouldn’t add up too much. The monthly charges you’re most likely to incur are a $2–6 charger for a digital or HD converter box, and then whatever extra equipment you want to rent, like a DVR device (more on that below).
Don’t worry, folks: you likely won’t pay anything for installation.
Technically, RCN charges for installation. But the company gives out free installation coupons like they grow on trees.
Just look for a coupon code when you sign up (or Google “RCN installation coupon”).
RCN Channel Lineup. Source: RCN.com
RCN cable channels
Some limited options, but still plenty of faves on this channel list.
Game of Thrones is over—you gotta move on. But what comes next? Well, that largely depends on what cable channels you’ve got.
If you sign up for RCN’s Signature TV package, then you’ll have popular channels like TNT, ESPN, USA, Univision, MSNBC, The CW, National Geographic, and TLC. That should give you plenty of new shows to obsess over.
You can get the full channel list on RCN’s website.
RCN’s premium channels
When it comes to premium channels, RCN’s prices are about the same as other major television companies. You can save a little bit more when you bundle some of them together, like HBO and CINEMAX.
|SHOWTIME + The Movie Channel||$7.95/mo.||View Plans|
Date effective 05/15/2019.
* Price guaranteed for 12 months.
RCN’s additional channel packages
RCN’s Signature TV package will already give you channels like ESPN. But if that’s not enough sports coverage for you, you can add on sports packages:
- MLB Extra Innings (our favorite MLB TV service)
- NFL RedZone
- FOX Soccer Plus
- NBA League Pass
- NHL Center Ice
You can also add on extra channels with packages like Premiere Movies & Entertainment and the Premiere News & Information.
RCN’s digital cable plans come with on-demand content. You can choose from dozens of newly released movies or get on-demand content from popular channels like HBO and STARZ.
Renting from the on-demand section might cost a few dollars more than renting from Redbox, but at least you don’t have to leave your house!
Equipment and features
Watch your daughter’s game at school without missing the game on TV.
How many times have you said no to a dinner party so you could stay in and watch your team dominate (or not) in a home game? With a DVR system, you’ll never have to ditch on dinner again. (You can still use the game as an excuse—we won’t blow your cover).
Unfortunately, no DVR system comes standard with RCN cable packages. But the company has teamed up with TiVo, one of the best DVR services on the market, to offer DVR rental options.
|Device||DVR price||Storage hours||Additional features||Details|
|Single tuner||$5/mo.||No storage capability||Can access recorded content||View Plans|
|2-tuner DVR||$5/mo.||45 HD hrs.||Record 2 shows at once||View Plans|
|4-tuner DVR||$15/mo.||75 HD hrs.||Record 4 shows at once||View Plans|
|6-tuner DVR||$15/mo.||150 HD hrs.||Record 6 shows at once/4K ready||View Plans|
|Every room powered by TiVo||$9.95/mo.||N/A||Access DVR storage from other TV||View Plans|
RCN is taking the plunge into 4K television
4K TV is here. But as with most new entertainment technologies, it’s hard to say whether it’s the future (like the internet) or a dud (like Betamax).
If you’re interested in trying out this super-high-definition TV experience, then you can do so with RCN. All you need are four things:
- HD-capable TV
- Internet connection
- 4K-capable set-top box
- RCN subscription
If you’re looking for where RCN shines, this isn’t exactly it.
We aren’t here to sugarcoat things: customer service tends to be . . . questionable with any cable company. Sure enough, there are some online complaints about RCN’s performance, specifically when it comes to price increases and service outages.
But many customer reviews also mention how easy it is to cancel RCN cable. So either way, you should be okay.
RCN cable recap
RCN keeps things simple. Maybe too simple for some people.
RCN tries to compete with the telecommunications giants by offering a simple, flexible service in a few select locations. The results are mixed.
While the company’s contract-free plans and relatively cheap pricing may seal the deal for some folks, its lack of plan options and perks may drive some customers to other TV providers.
If you’ve been an RCN customer, tell us about it—good or bad—in the comments section.
1. RCN, “Terms and Conditions”