Searching for your local cable TV providers by ZIP code just makes sense. Finding out which companies operate in your exact location may seem simple enough, but consider this: there are nine major cable companies serving roughly 100 million customers nationwide, according to Statista.
Add to that the fact that there are also hundreds of smaller cable television providers operating around the country and you can see why it's helpful to have a way to sort it all out quickly.
Many people also assume that because their friend or relative right across town has a certain cable television provider, they will be able to order the same service. It's not quite that simple, due to the way cable companies unofficially divide up geographical territories.
In addition to our handy ZIP code checker tool, which will tell you which of the big guys serve your area plus information about their best packages, you'll also find plenty of other useful tidbits in this guide.
I'll tell you about the kinds of services you can get from your local cable providers, as well as give you a few tips for getting the best cable deals.
Table of Contents
Providers by ZIP
You may be thinking "Why should I search for cable providers in my area by ZIP code?" While you could start by calling around to providers with whose names you're familiar, that takes time that most of us just don't have in our busy schedules.
Of course, you could also visit each provider's website individually and enter your location information, however, that's working backward, as opposed to simply punching your ZIP code into our convenient tool and getting an automatic list of service providers in your area.
Many people also assume that because their friend or relative right across town has a certain cable provider, they will be able to order the same service. It's not quite that simple, due to the way cable companies unofficially divide up geographical territories.
As the Center for Public Integrity illustrates, one company's coverage may bob and weave in and out between the service areas of another. This fact alone makes searching for local cable companies using your ZIP code one of the fastest and most efficient ways to find service.
Related: How to Get the Best Cable Deals
Cable TV Providers
Judging by recent numbers published by Forbes, cable is still king. This pay TV method accounts for about 60% of all American households that subscribe to a cable TV service. When you search for cable providers by ZIP code you're likely to find one of the following companies in your results:
- Comcast XFINITY TV - As the largest cable company in the United States, Comcast XFINITY's TV service operates in 41 states. Its digital cable TV package prices range from $20 to $110 per month with promotional pricing. This type of cable offer, however, usually lasts one year.
- AT&T U-Verse TV - AT&T operates in 21 states, plus more due to acquiring satellite TV provider DIRECTV in 2015 (more on DIRECTV below). Pricing for higher tiers runs between $50 and $125 for the first year. AT&T U-Verse does provide limited cable under the name U-Basic, although you'll have to call for pricing.
- Charter Spectrum TV - Charter currently operates in 28 states and recently acquired Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks in 2016. Prices for Charter Spectrum Cable TV packages start at about $30 per month when bundled with cable internet services.
- Time Warner Cable TV - One of the most known cable company providers, Time Warner Cable packages can be acquired 29 states, although the name is expected to change soon as part of the Charter Communications acquisition.
- Cox Cable TV - Cox Communications operates in 19 states and offers cable TV plans ranging from $27 for local channels to $152 for the top tier. These are one-year promotional rates, so check with Cox Cable to see how much your bill will increase after that first year.
- Optimum TV - Optimum TV only operates in four states and offers cable TV packages beginning at $65. The TV internet packages will certainly help you save, however.
It's worth noting that with Charter's purchase of Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks, the company is now the second-largest cable provider in the U.S. At the time of this writing, both of the acquired companies are being operated under their previous names and websites. Charter has, however, unified all of the cable and internet connection offerings under its Spectrum brand, and is expected to give the companies its name as well. Charter's total coverage as a result of the merger is 41 states.
Without any of the above providers (and more), you cannot access digital broadcast TV networks such as Antenna TV. Antenna TV, a digital cable TV channel that debuted in 2011, airs classic television shows that ran between the 1950s to the 2000s.
It's also important to note that the above providers also serve as cable internet service providers. A cable internet service provider issues several various plans to suit your needs, which can often be tied into an internet and cable bundle to save you more.
Satellite TV Providers
When you search for cable TV providers by ZIP code you'll likely see satellite TV providers, like these here, available in your area, too. Satellite cable is one of the best rural internet options because it's available almost everywhere, as it relies on a satellite dish. You can get a vast TV listing with satellite, just as you would get with cable providers. There are two major satellite cable companies serving the U.S.:
- Dish TV: Dish Network services all 50 states and boasts enough customers to total just over 14% of the pay-TV market. Dish offers some nifty gear when you purchase its plans, like the Hopper device, which allows you to record up to 16 shows at once. The company is also one of the first pay-TV providers to offer a custom option, which is called the Flex Pack. This plan gives you a choice of differently-themed TV listing packs, rather than have you pay a large bill for hundreds of channels you don't watch. Dish Network does require a two-year contract, but you get a price guarantee during that time as well.
- DIRECTV: AT&T bought DIRECTV in 2015, putting the communications behemoth slightly ahead of Comcast in the overall number of pay-TV subscribers, according to Forbes. AT&T offers DIRECTV services through its website under the DIRECTV name. While Dish TV offers lower prices, DIRECTV has the advantage of offering NFL Sunday Ticket, one of the most popular sports packages in the nation, alongside its packages.
Satellite cable provides a great pay-TV choice to those who might not find cable or fiber optic options when searching cable providers by ZIP code. It's affordable and gives you all of your favorite channels as well as DVR functionality.
Fiber optic television is gradually spreading across the country, increasing its competition with local cable companies. The slim glass or plastic threads that carry the TV signal deliver a picture that's even more crystal clear than high-definition cable television. True 100% fiber TV isn't widely available yet, however it is gradually making its way across the country as communications companies expand their networks. There are two main players so far in the fiber TV market:
- Verizon FiOS TV: Verizon has brought its fiber TV services to nearly 20 states, most throughout the mid-Atlantic region, plus California, Oregon, and Florida. Verizon FiOS TV packages range in price from $65 to $90 per month, including a customizable plan similar to Dish Network's Flex Pack. The top tier package, Ultimate HD, gives you an astounding 425+ channels.
- Google Fiber: This service provider is slowly rolling out its fiber cable TV service and is currently available in eight markets nationwide. If you're lucky enough to find Google on the list when you search cable providers by ZIP code, you'll pay $130 a month for both high-speed internet and TV.
AT&T does use fiber in much of its infrastructure, however, it is not a 100% fiber network. AT&T uses what's known as FTTN - or fiber to the node. This means that the connection from the street to your house is typically made up of coaxial cable. Verizon and Google use FTTP, or fiber to the premises, which brings the fiber cabling all the way up to your residence. You are, however, much more likely to find AT&T in your list of available providers when you search for local cable services by ZIP code.
Best Cable Deals
Once you've used our easy tool to find cable providers by ZIP code in your area, you'll want to know how to get the best possible rate on your service.
There are several things you can do to tip the odds in your favor as far as getting affordable cable TV:
- Research all of the packages you find in your cable providers by ZIP code results.
- Call your local cable companies to see if you can get a better deal than what's available online. Get a quote through live chat as well, as sometimes you can get a different representative to offer you bonuses like free HBO for a limited time.
- If you need high-speed internet as well, take advantage of TV and phone service bundles to bring your total cost down.
Customer service and customer satisfaction are typically major concerns of cable customers as well. Take the time to read online reviews and talk to friends and neighbors about their customer satisfaction experience with local cable providers so you can get an idea of what to expect.
Factor in Internet Services
Every major cable service provider sports internet packages of some type. Some TV service providers, such as Verizon FiOS, offer a fiber-optic network. Others do not offer a fiber-optic network but instead satellite internet access. DISH Network is one such example that offers satellite internet access, but don't expect a high speed internet connection. Here are the types of internet services that you can look into:
Dial-Up Internet: Dial-up internet is the slowest internet access type available, but it serves as one of the few options - alongside satellite internet and DSL internet - available in select rural areas. Maximum transfer speeds of dial-up are only 56kbps.
DSL Internet: Many cable companies, such as Time Warner Cable and Verizon, offer DSL internet service. DSL internet speeds typically range between 128kbps and 3Mbps in download speed. DSL can also be configured as wireless internet.
Satellite Internet: Satellite internet is accessible from just about anywhere, as it relies on a satellite dish, making it perfect for customers in rural areas. Satellite internet providers such as DISH only offer speeds of up 10Mbps, but others, such as Exede Internet, issues speed packages of up to 25Mbps.
Cable Internet: Cable internet access relies on a cable modem to transfer data. Cable modems are also considerably faster than other types of internet, falling right behind fiber optic internet.
Fiber Optic Internet: Fiber Optic cable is the fastest internet speed type currently available. One advantage fiber optic internet has, beyond having faster download speeds, is that upload speeds are parallel with download speeds. There are few providers that now offer speeds of over 1Gbps, so if you want the fastest internet packages, you should check with the internet provider to see if it offers fiber optic internet.
Fortunately, if you want a separate internet provider, then you can also find an internet provider by ZIP code. We have an internet provider by ZIP code locator tool that will help you find the right internet provider for you.
Note that if you obtain a cable modem through a cable internet provider, you will most likely have to pay a rental fee. However, many cable internet providers will also let you purchase your own cable modem, as long as it is compatible with the service. You may choose a modem with integrated wireless internet, which means you don't need a separate router.
Consider a Telephone Service
You can, of course, inject telephone service into your cable TV package. In fact, sometimes telephone service is included as part of an internet and cable offer. However, if you want only telephone service, then you should search for landline phone service providers by ZIP code. With a "landline phone service providers by ZIP code" search tool, you'll be able to weed out any unavailable providers.
Don't Forget to Renegotiate
The pricing you'll see when you search for cable providers by ZIP code is often introductory pricing, which may only last 12-24 months. Call your provider before your promotional period expires so that you can ask for a new deal. Pay-television service is one industry in which the squeaky wheel really does often get the grease. To increase your chances of hanging onto that affordable rate:
- Be nice. You're much more likely to get a rep to agree to your request if you ask politely.
- Know what other local cable providers are offering. If you know what offers other people are getting, you've got more leverage to negotiate a good price. You can also take into account high speed internet live streaming services such as Sling TV, DirecTV NOW, and PlayStation Vue. While Sling TV doesn't have the grandest offerings, it is more affordable compared to other live streaming services.
- Know your history with the company. If you've paid your bill on time during your time as a customer, you may have the upper hand.
- Get everything in writing. Some customers have been offered one price, only to be told by another rep that they can't honor it. Ask for email or paper confirmation of all offers.
As more content becomes available via online streaming, local cable companies are feeling the pressure to hang onto pay-TV customers. You can use this to your advantage in terms of getting affordable cable TV.
The pay TV landscape is constantly evolving. Know exactly what you want, how much you're willing to pay, and how to get that price. Whether you're shopping for service for your new home or just want to change providers in order to get the best cable TV service price, you'll need to find out all of your options. If you're asking yourself "How do I find cable service in my ZIP code?" we can help. Simply use our convenient cable provider ZIP code checker tool and you'll be on your way to getting the best rates on a variety of great entertainment.