The Smartest Way to Compare Cable TV Bundles, Plans, and Offers
Cable TV companies are constantly evolving their products and technology. And as they do, you may feel a little left in the dark about what’s new, what’s the same, and what’s best for your home. So, let us help you make the smart move and by preparing you with some vital information on cable TV.
Because as the digital TV market continues to grow and change, so does the way that cable providers do business. And for you to get the best deal possible on cable TV, it’s a good idea for you to know how to make sense of the countless options available to you. So, let’s dig in.
Here’s How Cable TV Works
You want to watch all your favorite shows. The TV networks want you to watch all your favorite shows. The cable companies want to provide you with all those shows and keep everyone happy. And, hypothetically, anyone who has cable TV can get (nearly) every TV channel ever – if they’re willing to pay for it.
“In general, the best cable TV packages are the ones that offer a great balance.”
But, since most folks don’t want every channel ever – nor will they ever even attempt to watch them all – cable providers offer their customers various TV packages that are more economical. And to deliver the TV signal directly to you, your provider of choice filters certain digital channels and features into your home for your enjoyment, as based upon the cable TV package you choose and pay for.
So, how do you know which cable TV provider and offer gives you the channels you need at the price you want?
The Best Ways to Compare Cable TV Options
When it comes down to it, figuring out how to choose the best cable TV package isn’t as hard as it may appear. Sure, there are a number of different factors for you to consider when selecting a cable TV provider and package for your home, but we’ve outlined them below for you. We’ve also slipped in a few tips as well, so be sure to keep all this in mind as you’re considering the cable TV provider for your needs.
- Price: Nowadays, with increased competition from satellite TV and fiber TV, cable TV is becoming an inexpensive choice for television service. This competition has dropped prices for cable service in some areas. It has also increased the number of features available at the same cost, like free HD cable TV programming, in other areas. So, be sure to compare cable TV options to see how far your dollar might go.
- Contract Terms and Length: Not only is price important, but be sure to read the fine print on contract lengths and introductory pricing. The first year of service may be an absolute bargain, but make sure you’re not locked into a contract for longer than you want to be. You never know when you may feel the need to change your cable TV service or your provider.
- Number of TVs/Devices: Depending upon your cable service provider, there may be a single charge for connecting cable TV to your home. Or, there could be a separate charge for every TV or device connected to the cable network. You’ll want to know which is what you’re buying, or what you’re needing, based on the number of TVs you have.
- Number of Channels in Your Package: Sure, having 500 channels sounds pretty cool, but there’s also a lot of content you’ll never have the chance to see. So, it’s not simply the number of channels that’s important, but what those networks are showing. Keep in mind the kind of content that’s most important to you – whether it’s dramas, sports, reality TV, or anything else – and be sure that this programming is part of the package you’re paying for.
- Variety of Channels Your Provider Offers:
- With the advent of digital TV, basic cable has sort of become the new standard for television viewing. It offers 20+ channels – including the main local broadcast stations (like ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX, PBS, etc.), as well as education and local government channels.
- Expanded basic cable packages include roughly 30-50 channels – all the ones mentioned above, plus popular networks such as Disney, ESPN, MTV, and Fox News. However, not all channels are available in all markets, so be sure to double check with your provider beforehand.
- Many service providers also offer additional channels a la carte. These include foreign and international channels, sports-centric channels, premium channels (like HBO, Showtime, Cinemax, and Starz), and On-Demand viewing options of popular movies and TV series.
- Quality of Channels / Access to Premium Content: Many cable TV providers have partnered with particular networks offering premium content (such as XFINITY offering HBO for free to their subscribers) to give their customers added value. Some companies also offer certain channels in high definition to their customers for a crisper and more true-to-life viewing experience. And, if your television is HDTV-ready, upgrading to high-definition cable and truly experiencing television is easy. So, get to know what extras are included as part of your package to make the most of it.
- Add-Ons and Bonuses: Look for adding the convenience of a DVR to your cable TV package. These genius little devices let you conveniently record – and never miss – hours of your favorite shows. And if you lead a life that keeps you on the move, you’ll definitely want to research any TV-on-the-go apps or options that your cable provider may offer.
- Bundles of Savings: Does your preferred cable TV provider also offer internet and home phone in your area? Odds are pretty good that they do. And if you’re looking to save a bunch of money while getting a bunch of entertainment services and home utilities connected, then getting a cable bundle may be the wisest way to work it in your favor. Here’s why. By letting your provider offer you multiple services via a single connection, they’re tapping into that already-available technology. And this is both easier and cheaper for them than setting up an entirely new one. Thus, to keep you happy as a paying customer, cable providers are more than willing to pass on some of those savings to you in the form of a bundled TV package.
In general, the best cable TV packages are the ones that offer a great balance of what you need to see, what you want to watch, and immediate access to additional content for whenever the mood strikes. So, as you compare and finally choose a package, keep an eye on all of these things.