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Cable TV is a system that provides TV programming to users through coaxial cabling, sent via a radio frequency signal. Invented in the 1940s, cable TV proved superior to over-the-air signal transmission. Cable service has rapidly grown since then, with dozens of TV providers offering competitive options. Sort through the top U.S. cable providers below to find the best service for your needs.
As coaxial infrastructure is widespread throughout the U.S., cable TV is available to almost anyone. Cable TV services can cost as little as $25/mo. for 75+ channels, depending on the user’s location and provider availability. But is cable worth it?
Streaming and satellite TV services typically offer cheaper options, but cable makes up for it through a large channel selection and lots of convenient features. Amongst many other add-ons, customers usually receive a DVR which allows for recording of programming, cloud storage options, and TV on the go. Cable offers content for virtually any taste, with endless sports coverage, plentiful movie channels, lots of children’s programming, and more.
Additionally, many providers offer money-saving cable and internet bundles, which allow users to combine their chosen cable plan with internet and/or phone plans. Once you’ve found your preferred cable TV provider, be sure to check out their bundle deals to see how you can save.
|Provider||Starting Price||Max Channel Count||DVR Recordings||TV Equipment Fee||Find Plan|
|AT&T||$64.99/mo. – $139.99/mo.||65 – 140+||Unlimited||$7/mo. – 25/mo.||Check Availability|
|Xfinity||$30.00/mo. – $89.99/mo.||10 – 260+||0 – 6||$5/mo.||Check Availability|
|Cox||$50/mo.||75 – 250+||1||$4/mo.||Check Availability|
|Suddenlink||$105.00/mo.||200+ – 350+||15||Call to discuss||Check Availability|
|Starting Price||$64.99/mo. – $139.99/mo.|
|Max Channel Count||65 – 140+|
|TV Equipment Fee||$7/mo. – 25/mo.|
|Starting Price||$30.00/mo. – $89.99/mo.|
|Max Channel Count||10 – 260+|
|DVR Recordings||0 – 6|
|TV Equipment Fee||$5/mo.|
|Max Channel Count||75 – 250+|
|TV Equipment Fee||$4/mo.|
|Max Channel Count||200+ – 350+|
|TV Equipment Fee||Call to discuss|
|Max Channel Count||420+|
|TV Equipment Fee||$10/mo.|
TV service availability based on service address. All pricing varies by location and is subject to change at any time. Additional fees and terms may apply. As of 5/12/22.
Best Channel Selection
Xfinity TV provides great programming and high-tech features. Reliable, offering a variety of plans, attractive bundling options, and packing lots of tech, Xfinity TV touts a solid total TV package.
Best Personalized Service
High Channel Count for Less
While it may only service East Coast users, Optimum TV is a solid choice for those within coverage areas. Depending on plan choice, customers can get some of the highest channel counts in the industry, a multi-room DVR, and more.
Cable has lots of regional content with great local coverage. There are many cable-specific channels (i.e. 24-hour news networks and premium subscriptions). Cable can lower choice fatigue, giving users what they want without switching between platforms. However, cable TV is expensive in comparison to some satellite/streaming options. Some may dislike the limited content on cable plans. While cable reduces choice fatigue, this comes at the cost of original programming on specific platforms.
Between hidden fees and price hikes, finding the right cable TV plan can feel overwhelming. To help with your search, our team of TV experts evaluates providers on categories including performance, affordability, and customer satisfaction to provide you with the best options near you.
While cable plans can offer great entertainment for anyone, certain groups may benefit more. If you watch TV regularly (especially local sports & news), medium to large households (4 or more people), or want widespread sports coverage.
Aside from their technical differences, cable and satellite TV offer many service variations. Cable TV is less likely to be affected by weather but is typically more expensive than satellite TV options, but cable can become more affordable through bundling cable and internet. For those looking for short-term (i.e. renters) contracts or no contracts at all, cable is a better choice. However, satellite has extensive availability, while cable can sometimes exclude newer communities or rural areas.
While cable TV and streaming TV can be delivered over the same network, they differ in almost every other way. A standalone streaming service is usually cheaper than a cable plan (especially when equipment & service costs are included), but neither typically requires contracts. Cable offers a wider range of channels, but many users never get the full value of this channel breadth. Streaming wins with on-demand content, but many cable services now provided significant on-demand options.
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