April 23, 2018

Charter Spectrum Review

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Charter Spectrum is a no-contract cable TV provider with three package options: Select, Silver, and Gold. At the highest tier, it has 200+ channels. Is it worth the subscription? Read on to find out.

Overall Score

4.5

Sports

4.0

Price

4.0

Selection

5.0

Contract

5.0
5-point scale (the higher, the better)

Pros and Cons

  • Premium networks included early
  • No contract
  • Plenty of HD channels
  • Extra charges
  • Average DVR service
  • Average customer service

Bottom Line

No contract cable TV provider with premium networks

Charter Spectrum TV is available in 42 states across the US, and does not require a contract. It also includes premium channels like HBO, Showtime and CINEMAX in its middle-tier Silver package.

However, it's also more expensive compared to other TV providers. We break down Spectrum's TV service, so you'll know what you get before subscribing.

HOW CHARTER SPECTRUM TV WORKS

Charter Spectrum TV is a telecommunications company that also provides internet and home voice services. You can bundle these with your TV service, or pick the TV service a la carte. Bundling lowers the price of your TV subscription, but comes with a bunch of extra fees as well.

To sign up, just go to their website, or give their customer service a call. Choose a package, and set an appointment for installation. A technician will then come on the date to install the service in your home.

Now that you know the basics, let's go over Charter Spectrum's pros and cons.

10 REASONS TO SUBSCRIBE TO CHARTER SPECTRUM TV

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  1. No contract: One of Spectrum TV's biggest strength is that it has no contract. You can subscribe month-to-month without worrying about early termination fees. If you don't like commitments, Spectrum TV is for you.

  2. Good availability: Spectrum TV is currently available in 42 states, although not all areas are covered. You can check its availability by entering your zip code on their website.

  3. You want bundling options: Charter Spectrum also provides internet and home phone. If you're looking to bundle, you can get their TV service cheaper. Each bundling option comes with 100Mbps internet and home voice service.

  4. Premium channels included early: Spectrum TV includes premium channels early on in their package tier. You get HBO, CINEMAX and Showtime in their middle-tier Silver TV package. Other providers usually offer these only at their highest tier. At Spectrum TV's highest tier, you also get STARZ, STARZ Encore, and The Movie Channel.

  5. Weather proof reception: Satellite TV services like DIRECTV are prone to service interruptions due to the weather. Spectrum TV's service is more reliable, since cables aren't affected.

  6. Spectrum TV app: Spectrum also has its own TV app. It lets you watch over 170 Live TV channels while at home, as well as On Demand content. While you're on the go, it has 60 available networks to choose from. You can also browse TV listings, schedule your DVR recordings, and watch TV on your tablet, smartphone or other portable devices through the app.

  7. Plenty of HD channels: Spectrum TV has 200+ channels in HD, and provides them for free in their TV packages. They also have 1,500+ options in their HD On Demand, including movies in 3D.

  8. You prefer simple packages with no extras: Spectrum TV only has three packages, making it easy to choose from. It's a no-nonsense packaging, without extras or unnecessary channels. If you know which channels you want and don't like channel surfing, pick Spectrum TV.

  9. You'd like to try it before buying: Spectrum TV has a 30-day money back guarantee for its service. If you don't like it for whatever reason, you can cancel its service within 30 days and get a refund.

  10. You want a smooth installation service: Spectrum TV also guarantees that their contractor will arrive on time. If the contractor doesn't arrive within the arrival window, you'll get a $20 credit.

3 REASONS TO CONSIDER OTHER PAY-TV OPTIONS

  • Extra charges: For a provider with no contract, Spectrum TV packages seem reasonably priced at first glance. However, be on the lookout for extra charges. The DVR, for example, will cost you $12.99/month. Even if you don't want a DVR unit, you'll still need the HD box, which costs $7/month. Also, you'll need to get additional receivers if you have more than one TV in your home.

  • Average customer service: The American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) rated Spectrum TV as 63, which is quite low. While it ranked higher than Comcast, it's still lower than providers such as Verizon Fios, AT&T's U-verse, DIRECTV, DISH, and Optimum.

  • Average DVR service: Spectrum TV's standard HD DVR box can record up to 80 hours of SD and 35 hours of HD. Their enhanced DVR is a little better - it records up to six shows at once, and stores up to 150 hours of HD. Still, it's not as good as DIRECTV's Genie or DISH's Hopper 3.

OTHER PAY-TV OPTIONS TO CONSIDER

Sling TV: If it's no-contract you're after, Sling TV is a good alternative. It's one of the cheapest live TV streaming services, and it's compatible with most devices. Its cloud DVR service is limited, but since there aren't any equipment or rental fees, it's still a value-for-money choice. It's also a lot more flexible since no equipment or installation is required. For a truly flexible subscription, Sling TV is one of the best choices.

 

Charter Spectrum

Sling

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SPECIAL OFFER
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Benefits and Features

DVRTwo DVR models, Motorola and Cisco/SA. Motorola can record and store up to 21 HD hours. Cisco/SA with 80 GB hard drive can record and store between 30 and 50 hours. Models with a 160 GB hard drive can store up to 90 hours of SD. Records up to 2 channels simultaneously. One box needed per TV. Connects up to 8 TVs.Sling TV's cloud DVR can record any number of shows, although it's not available on all channels. 50 hours of cloud storage for $5/month. Cloud DVR beta users have 100 hours of cloud storage.
PackagesTV Select ($64.99/month): 125+ channels
TV Silver ($84.99/month): 175+ channels, HBO, Cinemax, Showtime, Digital Tier 1.
TV Gold ($104.99/month): 200+ channels, HBO, Cinemax, Showtime, The Movie Channel, Starz, Starz Encore, Digital Tier 1, Digital Tier 2
Sling Orange ($25/month): 25+ channels Sling Blue ($25/month): 40+ channels Sling Orange + Blue ($40/month): 50+ channels
CancellationNo early termination fees. All equipments must be returned upon termination. Unreturned equipment fees apply.No early termination fees. No refunds for prepaid or partial months of service.
ContractNo contract.No contract.
InstallationStandard professional installation included for up to 6 rooms. Additional installations cost extra.App-based TV service, can be installed on most smart devices.
AutopaySign up for autopay feature online through TWC's account portal.Payments are automatically deducted from debit or credit card on file.
Receiver FeeSpectrum Receiver & Remote ($5.99/month), DVR Service for 1 DVR receiver ($12.99/month). Additional DVR receivers up to 4 ($19.99/month). CableCARD ($1/month). Secure Connection per CableCARD ($1/month).No equipment rental fee.
Regional Sports FeeNo regional sports fee.No regional sports fee.
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Compare Charter Spectrum Packages

Charter Spectrum: Pricing information including fees, features and contract length was obtained on April 12, 2018 from published websites and is believed to be accurate, but not guaranteed.

DIRECTV: DIRECTV may have a two-year contract, but it's a solid TV service. It's available throughout the US, and has great DVR capabilities. Prices do hike in the second year, but it delivers in terms of DVR technology, channel selection, and sports content.

 

Charter Spectrum

DIRECTV

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SPECIAL OFFER
Compare DIRECTV Packages - Learn More

 

Benefits and Features

DVRTwo DVR models, Motorola and Cisco/SA. Motorola can record and store up to 21 HD hours. Cisco/SA with 80 GB hard drive can record and store between 30 and 50 hours. Models with a 160 GB hard drive can store up to 90 hours of SD. Records up to 2 channels simultaneously. One box needed per TV. Connects up to 8 TVs.Genie HD-DVR can record up to 5 simultaneous recordings. 1 TB storage space for 200 hours of HD or 800 hours of SD recording. Paired with receivers (Mini Genie) to connect up to 8 TV sets, however only 4 active viewings at one time.
PackagesTV Select ($64.99/month): 125+ channels
TV Silver ($84.99/month): 175+ channels, HBO, Cinemax, Showtime, Digital Tier 1.
TV Gold ($104.99/month): 200+ channels, HBO, Cinemax, Showtime, The Movie Channel, Starz, Starz Encore, Digital Tier 1, Digital Tier 2
Select ($35/month): 150+ channels.
Entertainment ($40/month): 155+ channels.
Choice ($45/month): 185+ channels, NFL Sunday Ticket.
Xtra ($55/month): 230+ channels, NFL Sunday Ticket.
Ultimate ($60/month): 245+ channels, NFL Sunday Ticket.
Premier ($110/month): 325+ channels, NFL Sunday Ticket, DIRECTV Sports Pack.
CancellationNo early termination fees. All equipments must be returned upon termination. Unreturned equipment fees apply.Early termination fees are $20 for each remaining month left in contract. All equipment is leased and must be returned, unreturned equipment fees apply.
ContractNo contract.User agreement requires a base TV package of $29.99/month for a 24-month contract minimum. Promotional pricing only applies for first 12 months; regular pricing applies after.
InstallationStandard professional installation included for up to 6 rooms. Additional installations cost extra.Standard professional installation included in up to 4 rooms only; additional installations cost extra.
AutopaySign up for autopay feature online through TWC's account portal.$5/month discount for the first 12 months if you sign up for DIRECTV autopay feature. Autopay can be setup with bank account, debit card, or credit card.
Receiver FeeSpectrum Receiver & Remote ($5.99/month), DVR Service for 1 DVR receiver ($12.99/month). Additional DVR receivers up to 4 ($19.99/month). CableCARD ($1/month). Secure Connection per CableCARD ($1/month).Equipment rental fee of $7/month for each receiver on account.
Regional Sports FeeNo regional sports fee.Up to $7.29/month may apply (varies depending on location)

Compare Charter Spectrum Packages

Charter Spectrum: Pricing information including fees, features and contract length was obtained on April 12, 2018 from published websites and is believed to be accurate, but not guaranteed.

DIRECTV: Pricing information including fees, features and contract length was obtained on December 6, 2017 from published websites and is believed to be accurate, but not guaranteed.

Verizon Fios: Although its availability is limited, Verizon Fios is one of the better service providers out there. Like Spectrum TV, it also has no contracts, but it delivers great customer service as well. Fios has consistently been top-of-the-charts on the ACSI rankings since 2014. The Custom TV package lets you customize your channels somewhat, minimizing the monthly TV costs.

 

Charter Spectrum

Verizon Fios

SPECIAL OFFER
Compare Charter Spectrum Packages - Learn More

SPECIAL OFFER
Waive Set-Up Fee. $99.99 Value - Learn More

 

Benefits and Features

DVRTwo DVR models, Motorola and Cisco/SA. Motorola can record and store up to 21 HD hours. Cisco/SA with 80 GB hard drive can record and store between 30 and 50 hours. Models with a 160 GB hard drive can store up to 90 hours of SD. Records up to 2 channels simultaneously. One box needed per TV. Connects up to 8 TVs.Three DVR options available. Single Room DVR records 2 shows at a time, with 20 hours HD recording, for $12/month. You can only watch recordings on the main TV. Enhanced Multi Room DVR service records 6 shows at a time, and has 100 hours of HD storage. It costs $20/month. Their Premium Service records up to 12 shows at a time, and has up to 200 hours of HD recordings. It costs $30/month.
PackagesTV Select ($64.99/month): 125+ channels
TV Silver ($84.99/month): 175+ channels, HBO, Cinemax, Showtime, Digital Tier 1.
TV Gold ($104.99/month): 200+ channels, HBO, Cinemax, Showtime, The Movie Channel, Starz, Starz Encore, Digital Tier 1, Digital Tier 2
Local TV ($10/month): 10 channels
Custom TV ($64.99/month): 155+ channels
Preferred TV HD ($74.99/month): 255+ channels
Extreme TV HD ($79.99/month): 330+ channels
Ultimate TV HD ($89.99/month): 425+ channels
CancellationNo early termination fees. All equipments must be returned upon termination. Unreturned equipment fees apply.No early termination fees. All equipments must be returned within 30 days. Unreturned equipment fees apply.
ContractNo contract.No contract.
InstallationStandard professional installation included for up to 6 rooms. Additional installations cost extra.Standard professional installation $99.99.
AutopaySign up for autopay feature online through TWC's account portal.Sign up for autopay feature via the My Fios app or My Verizon account online. Accepts bank account, debit and credit card.
Receiver FeeSpectrum Receiver & Remote ($5.99/month), DVR Service for 1 DVR receiver ($12.99/month). Additional DVR receivers up to 4 ($19.99/month). CableCARD ($1/month). Secure Connection per CableCARD ($1/month).Set-Top Box ($12/month) per TV, Fios Wireless Router ($10/month)
Regional Sports FeeNo regional sports fee.Regional Sports Network Fee (up to $6.39/month, varies depending on location)

Compare Charter Spectrum Packages

Charter Spectrum: Pricing information including fees, features and contract length was obtained on April 12, 2018 from published websites and is believed to be accurate, but not guaranteed.

Verizon Fios: Pricing information from published website as of 2/7/2018.

BOTTOM LINE

In a nutshell, Spectrum TV is a simple, no-nonsense TV provider. We like that it has no contract, and that there are only three package options to choose from. We also like that the premium channels are included from the Silver TV package onwards, which is a plus for those who know which channels they want.

Still, for its price, we would have liked to see better DVR capabilities and customer service. Although there's no contract, the monthly fees are quite high. With the added monthly DVR/equipment costs, it's almost the same as other providers. In fact, it could be more expensive when you factor in multiple TV sets.

Spectrum TV is great for viewers who live alone and don't mind paying a little extra. Having no contract gives flexibility, and if you're just about the premium channels, then Spectrum TV is for you. However, if you have a bigger household, or want a long-term TV service, we suggest going with another provider.

Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are author's alone. Please support CreditDonkey on our mission to help you make savvy decisions. Our free online service is made possible through financial relationships with some of the products and services mentioned on this site. We may receive compensation if you shop through links in our content.

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