Best Cable TV Providers of 2022

What is Cable TV?

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.

Top Cable TV Providers

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Best Channel Selection

Best Channel Selection

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High-Tech Features

High-Tech Features

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3

Best Personalized Service

Best Personalized Service

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Most Cost Efficient

Most Cost Efficient

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5

High Channel Count for Less

High Channel Count for Less

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Is Cable TV right for me?

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. 

Pros

  • Less susceptible to weather-related outages 
  • Wide-ranging sports coverage
  • Abundant original programming

Cons

  • Higher cost than satellite options
  • Smaller channel selection
  • Less choice in content 

Find Providers Near You

ProviderStarting PriceMax Channel CountDVR RecordingsTV Equipment FeeFind 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+15Call to discussCheck Availability
Optimum$30/mo.420+15$10/mo.Check Availability
ProviderAT&T
Starting Price$64.99/mo. – $139.99/mo.
Max Channel Count65 – 140+
DVR RecordingsUnlimited
TV Equipment Fee$7/mo. – 25/mo.
Check Availability
ProviderXfinity
Starting Price$30.00/mo. – $89.99/mo.
Max Channel Count10 – 260+
DVR Recordings0 – 6
TV Equipment Fee$5/mo.
Check Availability
ProviderCox
Starting Price$50/mo.
Max Channel Count75 – 250+
DVR Recordings1
TV Equipment Fee$4/mo.
Check Availability
ProviderSuddenlink
Starting Price$105.00/mo.
Max Channel Count200+ – 350+
DVR Recordings15
TV Equipment FeeCall to discuss
Check Availability
ProviderOptimum
Starting Price$30/mo.
Max Channel Count420+
DVR Recordings15
TV Equipment Fee$10/mo.
Check Availability

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.

Our Top Cable TV Picks

AT&T

top-providers

Best Channel Selection

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  • Variety of plans
  • Wide availability
  • Fiber internet speeds

DIRECTV STREAM offers a great TV package. With access to a massive channel lineup and lots of bundle options, lots of live news, sports, and on-demand content, you can tailor DIRECTV STREAM to your liking.

Things we like:
  • No annual contract or hidden fees
  • Unlimited cloud DVR & stream on-the-go
  • Huge channel selection
  • Great user-interface
Things to consider:
  • All-inclusive coverage can get expensive
  • Loading/lag times can be slower than other providers
  • No content discovery feature

Xfinity

top-providers

High-Tech Features

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  • Same-day installations
  • 8+ million free WiFi hotspots
  • Unlimited data available

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. 

Things we like:
  • Xfinity DVR records six shows at once
  • Xfinity Stream App allows for on-the-go TV
  • 1-year price lock & money-back guarantee
Things to consider:
  • Pricey plan fees & early termination fee
  • Must purchase at least two TV boxes to get X1 DVR

Cox

top-providers

Best Personalized Service

3

3

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  • Low introductory prices
  • Excellent customer support
  • Blazing fast speeds

Cox TV is the nation’s third-largest cable TV provider. With a great package lineup, unique channel options, and no contracts, Cox offers an attractive service. When included in one of Cox’s bundles, customers can get a great overall value.

Things we like:
  • Attractive DVR options with 2TB storage
  • Local channels plan
  • Free HD channel upgrades
Things to consider:
  • Packages can get expensive
  • Coverage/availability is limited
  • Channel count can be limited

Optimum

top-providers

High Channel Count for Less

5

5

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  • Reliable internet connection
  • Cable & fiber options
  • Fixed pricing available

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.

Things we like:
  • Multi-room DVR records 15 programs at once
  • No contracts required
  • Exclusive programming in New York area
Things to consider:
  • Limited coverage areas
  • Pricey hidden fees
  • Low DVR storage space
Glasses Looking

Our Thoughts on Cable TV

Some may be switching to satellite TV or streaming services, but cable TV can provide great value. It offers great regional selections, cable-specific channels, streamlined services, and more. 

Cable TV vs. Other Connection Types

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.

Comparison of internet connection types

How We Evaluate

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.

FAQ

Cable TV FAQs

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.

One of the main issues many have with cable is the overall cost in comparison to satellite or streaming services. The best way to lower the cost of cable TV is through bundling services.