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Spectrum TV Review

By SatelliteTV-Deal.com Team
Last updated: 5/24/2024
Our score
8.7/10
Customer rating:
5.0/5
[ add yours ]

Spectrum is one of our top picks for cable TV service -- its plans are packed with value and you can customize the base lineups with additional channels packs, all at a smart price. Other nice perks that set Spectrum apart from competitors is their $500 contract buyout and free Disney+/ESPN+. Toss in solid internet bundle prices, they've setup a pretty solid ecosystem of services:

For this Spectrum TV review, we'll analyze all plans based on three primary categories:

  • Channel value: relative value of all channel lineups versus price
  • DVR/Tech: receiver features, DVR storage, program guide, user interfaces and general tech status
  • Support: if something goes wrong or you need to make changes, the general ease of that process

For starters, here's a look at Spectrum's TV plans:

Plan
Price /mo
Channels
Method
Cost /Channel
$39.99
80
Internet
$0.49
$64.99
150
Cable
$0.43
$69.99
160
Cable
$0.43
$39.99
140
Cable
$0.28

Advantages

  • Good overall value
  • No contracts (all monthly)
  • Save by bundling with internet
  • Excellent add-on options

Disadvantages

  • DVR is just average
  • Extra programming costs extra

Spectrum's Channel Value

Spectrum offers two different English channels, TV Stream and TV Select. Their flagship and most popular plan is Spectrum TV Select. It includes 150 channels for $64.99/mo. It's a great option for a lot of folks and our most recommended Spectrum plan.

For just $5 more per month, you can upgrade to TV Select Plus. The "Plus" means you get up to 10 additional channels, all Regional Sports Networks (RSNs). In most cases, this is a no-brainer upgrade for sports fans.

The other English plan is also their only streaming option, Spectrum TV Stream. It's a new plan and gaining a bunch of traction. No TV box is required and, of course, sufficiently fast internet is required (all Spectrum internet plans do the job). With about half the channels as Select, TV Stream's 80 channels for $39.99/mo fits in well with a lot of smaller households.

With regard to value, TV Select is their most valuable plan at $0.43 (cost/channel) - TV Select Plus has the same value. TV Stream, and its cost/channel of $0.49 is slightly more expensive but not incredibly so... especially compared to competitors. Speaking of which, Xfinity's cost/value hovers around $0.40 for their TV plans - however, they have hefty fees that bring their overall costs just about in-line with Spectrum.

Spectrum TV's pricing and channel breakdown

In addition to the two main English plans, Spectrum also offers a couple different Spanish plans (Mi Plan Latino and TV Stream Spanish). Mi Plan Latino has been around much longer and, as a result, is the more popular option for Spanish speakers ($140 channels for $39.99/mo). TV Stream Spanish includes $45 channels for $24.99/mo and is the better bet for native speakers that don't need as many channels or are looking to save.

Here's a visual look at their more popular plans:

[Chart #1] Spectrum channels by plan

80
140
150
150
75
1
TV Stream Mi Plan Latino TV Select Channels

[Chart #2] Spectrum TV plans by price/mo

$39.99
$39.99
$64.99
$64.99
32.495
1
TV Stream Mi Plan Latino TV Select Price
Bottom Line
Spectrum TV provides good value with plenty of flexibility (keeping your costs down). Bundling with internet and choosing the TV Stream plan is gaining a bunch of popularity.

More about TV Stream

DVR/Tech

Spectrum does a lot of things well but, frankly, their TV receiver isn't one of their strengths. It lacks the snazzy and advanced features but is reliable and generally works well. We used and tested it thoroughly for years and never had any major issues.

Spectrum's DVR (Motorola)
Spectrum DVR (Motorola)

Spectrum tends to rotate a lot of different Arris and Motorola receiver models -- all slightly different but with the same core tech and software, they all work about the same way.

When it comes to to price, the $12.50/mo receiver fee is a bit higher than other providers. If you want a DVR, you'll also need to fork over an additional $4.99/mo for 1 TV. For 2 or more TV, it's $9.99/mo. Yeah, that adds a fair amount to your bill but at least you have the option of opting out.

Is a receiver required?

Not always. For the traditional cable TV plans like TV Select, yes. With TV Stream (streamed via internet), a TV box is totally optional - instead, they offer a Xumo box which lets you watch all your apps (Netflix, etc) from one place.

Parental controls

Overall, Spectrum does a solid job with their parental control options. As with most receivers, you can restrict programming by rating, content, channel, time of day and more. When first turning on parental controls, you'll need to a create a PIN. That code will give you access in the future and let you override previous settings - so be sure to remember it and to choose numbers not easily guessed by the kiddos. With On Demand and purchases, you'll be able to cap the allowed purchase amount per transaction and for tighter controls, force the use of a Purchase Control PIN for every purchase.

Bottom Line
Spectrum won't win any tech awards but their equipment is reliable. That shouldn't deter you from getting one of their plans - just don't expect stellar features and program guide options.

Support

With any service, being able to deal with issues or to ask questions is an important part of the experience. If your receiver stops working right or you just can't figure out how to order that pay-per-view movie, being able to speak to someone that can easily help is a big deal. With Spectrum, their customer service reps are generally well-trained and you'll almost always have a positive experience.

24x7 Support

The first line of support for most Spectrum customers is their call support. It's open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Of course there are exceptions but most support agents are super friendly and helpful. You'll occasionally get routed overseas but even when you are, there's almost no gap compared to domestic centers. Wait times are typically extremely short and, on average, better than competitors. Call Support: 833-949-0036

When you don't need a bunch of help or would rather handle it all online, their online chat usually works just as well. Chat agents are trained just as well as phone agents and have the same access to your account and settings. It's also available 24x7 and wait times are typically extremely short (less than 15 seconds). Jump into their chat here.

What about going to a Spectrum store?

Being a nationwide provider, there are a bunch of brick-and-mortar Spectrum stores throughout the country. Most medium to large cities have a Spectrum store relatively close. Going to a store in person gives you a few advantages. You can often pick up your equipment in person (no waiting for delivery), get help with setup, get familiar with the program guide, etc. Unlike other providers, there's usually never a hard sell to bundle with other services. Find your closest Spectrum store here.

Bottom Line
Overall, Spectrum does an excellent job with their support staff. Bad calls/chats are extremely rare and, based on our experience and the feedback from our visitors, satisfaction rates are firmly above average.

Wrapping up

Spectrum is a leading cable TV provider in the country for good reason. They offer a variety of value-rich plans that let you customize programming. In particular, sports and movie fans will appreciate the various channel packs that you can stack on top of any plan. Sure, it's not the cheapest provider out there but especially if you bundle with internet, it's a solid service overall.

With regard to equipment, you won't get any cutting-edge features or options but it is reliable. The on-screen program guide is a similar story. Nothing flashy but the layout and remote are intuitive enough. Receiver and DVR fees are a bit higher than we'd like but that's the general industry trend.

At the end of the day, Spectrum takes home above-average marks across most our categories. If you have multiple TV and internet options in your area, bundling with Spectrum usually wins out in terms of service and value. If you don't watch a bunch of TV, consider their TV Stream plan or, at least initially, see if Spectrum internet combined with your favorite streaming services do the trick.

For more information on Spectrum TV, give us a ring:

1-844-895-6321

Spectrum TV Customer Reviews

If you're a current or previous Spectrum TV subscriber, share your thoughts here. Please be as specific as possible about your experience and let us know if you'd recommend it to others.




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