TV service providers in 2021
Finding the best TV provider in your area can be a painstaking process.
Where you live and which types of programs you prefer to watch are important factors to consider when deciding between TV providers.
You'll want to find a package that fits your needs with a company that won't charge you a fortune.
In our review, we've made sure reliability, cost, customer service, and channel selection were at the top of our list.
Best Satellite Provider: DIRECTV
It's no secret that some people choose their provider based on what's available in their area. With Satellite TV it's almost guaranteed that you're covered. But which satellite provider is the best?
We'd have to say DIRECTV. Here's why:
- Availability - Since AT&T bought DIRECTV they're not the largest satellite TV provider. Now you can get amazing channel packages including some of the best sports packages.
- Overall Package - Plans through DIRECTV include the equipment. Including DVR that you can use to record any games you might have to miss.
- Options - NFL Sunday ticket includes over 50 sports channels.
- Customer Service - DIRECTV has some of the best customer services in the industry.
So what's the catch? There are some cons to this provider:
- Installation - Your satellite dish will need professional installation.
- Hidden Fees - You'll pay extra when you bundle TV and internet with this provider.
Best Cable Provider: XFINITY
- Channels - Even their smallest channel package has some of the most popular channels.
- No Contract - XFINITY doesn't make you sign up for a large amount of time to become one of their customers.
- Price - They have some of the best prices online for what you get.
- Equipment - The XFINITY X1 DVR holds an amazing amount of programs and can record up to six shows at one time.
Here's what you need to know if you sign up with them though:
- Fees - You'll be charged for almost every additional service your receive through XFINITY meaning you'll pay for the X1 DVR, sports, and some broadcasting.
XFINITY TV Packages
|Xfinity Basic TV||10||$20|
|Xfinity Extra TV||125||$60|
|Xfinity Preferred TV||200||$80|
Best Cheap Provider: Dish
If you're like us you're probably always looking for the cheapest deal around. Well, we've found that Dish is the provider for you if you're hoping to save a little moo-la.
- Price - Keep the same price you had when you signed up the entire time.
- No Hidden Fees - With Dish, you don't have to worry about extra fees being added to your bill each month.
- Equipment - Dish's Hopper 3 Smart DVR is known for being the best. You can record 16 shows all at once.
Surely there's something wrong with this provider right?
- Customer Service - Dish's customer service leaves much to be desired
Dish TV Packages
Best Streaming Service: Sling
There are a lot of TV streaming services out there now that are offering you everything from lower prices (esp. compared to cable) to original programming you can only see through them. But which service is best? We believe Sling:
- Price - Sling TV will save you loads of money if you're switching from cable. But even if you're switching from another streaming service the price seems unbeatable.
- Options - Sling TV offers a few package options to help fit your needs.
- DVR - Sling gives you DVR services via the cloud so you can record up to 50 hours of content.
So what's the downside?
- Package Content - Sling's packages offer fewer channels than most of their competitors
Availability by ZIP
Not all cable TV providers offer service in your ZIP code. Where satellite dishes beam your favorite shows directly to your television, cable and fiber optic companies have to run a physical line down your neighborhood. For decades, cable TV has claimed territories across the United States where only they rule. They used to be the only television provider in town.
Thanks to government legislation, however, there has been a dramatic shift in cable TV providers located across the country. Slowly, more and more competitors are staking flags on previously conquered land.
How do you find cable TV providers near you? The first thing you should do is check in your area. There are many websites to tell you which TV providers are located in your area. Use these to navigate the map and view every available option. You can also use our convenient tool to search for cable providers by ZIP code.
Key Considerations Before Choosing a TV Provider
When I was researching cable providers in my area, I narrowed my search to reception, bundles, and contracts.
Simply put, the best cable providers should be reliable in poor weather, user-friendly when you're finding shows to watch, and hassle-free when you're doing anything else.
If you're in the market for cable TV and cable Internet, reflect on these areas when you do your own research.
- Reception - Cable and satellite have very different reception issues. No matter how good satellite TV service is, it will be affected by weather conditions and physical obstructions. If you can set up your dish somewhere that will have a clear path to the sky, then you will get the best reception.
- Cable TV and Internet Bundles - Most providers offer TV and Internet bundles. So if you're in the market for any of those services at once, I would keep that in mind.
- Contracts - The majority of cable and satellite TV providers offer customers packaged deal pricing on a contract basis. Before you lock in on one particular company, be sure to review the terms of the contract.
- Additional Services - Many cable and satellite TV providers also offer extra services. For example, they may offer television, music, and radio channels unique to their company. If you're looking for cheap cable TV, you may have to sacrifice additional packages.
- Internet Availability - Though the value of a TV package is important, a stable internet connection, complete with optimal a download speed and an upload speed, maybe just as essential. After all, fast Internet speeds are required for online video game play and video streaming.
Tips for Saving on your Monthly Cable Bill
If you are troubled by your satellite or cable bill each month, there are ways you can alleviate the burden.
Here are some methods you can use to save money on your TV bill:
- Bundle Internet, TV and Phone Services - Our homes today are a cornucopia of communication. With high-speed internet, TV and cell phones we are constantly communicating with our friends, family and the rest of the world. However, if you are paying for all of these services separately, you may be spending more than you have to. When you bundle services with one provider you may be able to spend a lot less each month.
- Select the Plan Based on the Channels You Watch - In a culture where success is often expressed in excess, we often pay for a lot more than we use. Many TV service providers offer over 100 channels but how many of them do you actually watch? Take a good look at your bill and look for the little extras that add up. If you can, choose a package with fewer channels and less expense. If you don't need HD or DVR services, cancel them to save money in a pinch.
- Negotiate the Monthly Price - It's not a new story. You open the monthly cable bill only to discover the price has gone up! According to the NPD Group, a market research organization, monthly TV bills are expected to increase by 6% every year and could top out at $200 a month by 2020.
There are a lot of quality services to consider within my list of the top cable television providers. The top concerns when looking for your new cable or satellite provider is customer care, availability, and price.
You should also explore bundling options to see if you can save by combining services. Before you opt for one of the big brands out there, make sure you explore any exclusive local options you might have in your area.
I hope that the information in this review helps you on your way to saving money. If want to get great cable on a budget, you can head over to our buyer's guide to cheap cable service.