Whether you're a die-hard GoT fan or you've gotta have your Sunday NFL games, finding the best TV service for your watching habits is a must.
In this guide, we'll answer the question "How do I find cable TV companies near me?" and we'll help you find the best cable TV deals in your area. Plus, you'll have access to the pros and cons of the major service options in our TV provider guides.
Stay tuned for details on the top TV options!
Table of Contents
How to Pick the Best TV Provider
Before we look at specific providers, we'll go over some tips to help you make the right decision. There are several things you should take into consideration.
- Pricing: The introductory promotional period that's typically available for first-time customers doesn't usually last. You'll want to know how long you get that rate and what you'll be paying once it expires.
- Contract: While satellite TV providers require a contract, most cable companies allow you to pay month-to-month if you want (this is typically more expensive than the rate if you get with a service agreement).
- Extra fees: Additional fees may be tacked on to the advertised monthly price. For example, some providers charge a Regional Sports Fee, while others include this in their package pricing. You want to calculate these ahead of time so you aren't the victim of sticker shock when the monthly bill comes.
- Equipment: Whether you choose a cable service, satellite service, or you're in search of the best streaming sites, you want to know that the DVR or set top boxes you receive are capable of handling your viewing and recording habits. Storage capacity, for instance, can vary widely from provider to provider.
- Channels and packages: Will you get decent sports coverage? What about premium movie channels and Pay-per-View? Are your kids' favorite channels available within your budget? What about add-on plans like NHL Center Ice?
- Mobile viewing: Is there an app that allows you to watch live TV shows or your recorded content on your mobile devices? What about mobile content management?
- Customer satisfaction: The American Customer Satisfaction Index provides ratings each year reflecting consumers' attitudes about how well subscription TV services are doing. This includes areas like customer service, price, and product quality.
Most cable and satellite companies offer decent HD channel lineups. Make sure you check out which ones are available if that's a major sticking point for you.
Cable TV Providers
Cable is the most common form of TV service, with Comcast XFINITY holding onto the lion's share of the market, at 24% (Statista). Cable television is available in most areas.
You might be wondering about fiber internet and TV service. This is the fastest type of connection. While fiber optic technology is not available everywhere yet, some of the top providers do offer it in limited areas.
Pros and Cons of Cable TV
- Economical basic plans available
- Not as vulnerable as satellite TV to weather disturbances
- Affordable cable TV and internet bundles typically available
- Can get pricey in the second year
- Commitment may be required to get promotional price
AT&T U-Verse*: U-Verse offers up to 470 channels and is available in 21 states.
Cable One*: This company operates in 19 states. Package options are lacking, however, and they're on the pricey side.
CenturyLink*: CenturyLink is phasing out its Prism® TV product, however it is an authorized DIRECTV dealer.
Charter Spectrum* (fiber for business): Spectrum offers a typical array of channels, plus add-ons like NFL RedZone and other sports plans, plenty of PPV options, and over 10,000 on-demand titles.
Cox Cable: Cox is available in 18 states. The channel selection isn't as extensive as some of the larger providers but they do offer high speed internet if you're looking for cable TV and internet bundles.
Mediacom: You can only buy TV service bundled with internet from Mediacom. They serve 21 states and no contract is required.
Optimum: This tiny cable company serves New York, plus limited areas of New Jersey, Connecticut, and Pennsylvania. Packages range from 220 to 420 channels, with no commitment necessary.
Verizon FiOS* (fiber only): Verizon offers fiber-only TV and internet service in nine states so far. Its high quality isn't surprising, and neither are the prices. The cool thing about FiOS TV is that you can order custom packages - things like sports, international channels, or kids and pop culture.
Windstream* (fiber available in select areas of Kentucky, Nebraska, North Carolina, and Texas): Windstream combines DIRECTV service with their Kinetic gigabit internet to provide bundled services across 16 states.
*fiber available in select areas
Satellite TV Providers
With Satellite television you don't have the limitations of location. The best satellite TV providers offer service in all 50 states.
Pros and Cons of Satellite TV
- Available everywhere, including rural areas
- Competitive channel selection and equipment
- Contract required
- Higher potential for weather disruptions
- Lack of cheaper, basic service plans
Now let's look at the best satellite TV providers:
DIRECTV: This AT&T subsidiary offers packages with up to 330+ channels, plus NFL Sunday Ticket is included in the top four packages.
Dish Network: Dish gives you up to 250+ channels, plus you'll enjoy use of the Hopper 3 HD DVR, which offers a huge amount of storage space compared to DVRs from other TV providers.
If you're trying to figure out how to find cheap TV service, then cutting the cord might be right for you. As long as you keep your subscriptions under control, it's very affordable to get just the shows you want without paying for hundreds of channels you don't.
- Sling TV (owned by Dish)
- DIRECTV NOW
- PlayStation Vue
- YouTube TV
- Fubo TV
- Philo TV
- CBS All Access
TV streaming services can provide the extras you want like NFL Network and HBO. They also allow you to get HD picture quality.
If you decide on streaming as your main source of video content then you'll also want to pick the best streaming device to hook up to your television for optimal viewing.
Whether you go with cable TV service, satellite, or streaming - or you're lucky enough to have fiber TV in your area, you can locate service in your area by using our handy tool to find cable providers by zip code.
Want to measure these providers up side-by-side? Check out our TV service comparisons:
- Dish vs DIRECTV - which is better?
- DIRECTV vs AT&T U-Verse
- DIRECTV vs Comcast XFINITY
- DIRECTV vs Spectrum
- Dish vs Comcast XFINITY
MoneySavingPro also has you covered if you're wondering "How do I find internet providers in my area?" And finally, for the old-school fan, check out the best home phone service in our list of landline phone service providers.