When it comes to the telecommunications industry, it’s difficult to please everyone all the time — or even some of the time. There is no such thing as a consumer anymore. You are now a prosumer, a result of technology and the many social media platforms – you are aware of what you want, when you want it and how you want it. You no longer contact a call center and discuss your problem with the person on the other side of the phone, nor do you write a discreet letter or email to the company in question to let them know you’re unhappy with their product or their service, or in some cases both.
Nowadays, you log onto Twitter or Facebook and you name and shame the company and you want a response back as quickly as you’ve finished typing your 140 characters. Instead of stories breaking days or weeks after happening, you get your news in real time.
Why are you being told this? The provider that was going to be number 1 on this list has just been served with the biggest cable fine to date, which means the number 2 position has moved up and a new number 3 needs to be found.
Cable vs. Satellite
Not to state the obvious, but it is worth explaining the difference between cable TV services and satellite TV. Cable TV providers deliver content using cable strung along power lines or cables that are buried underground, and satellite TV is beamed to a satellite dish, which then sends content to the TV. What you choose is dependent on your proximity to the cables or the satellite signal.
What you want in terms of programs and where you live are important factors to consider when you are deciding between the two. With more cable TV providers competing for your subscription, you can afford to be picky and make sure the company you go with offers a good cable plan, is well priced, has enough features to justify the subscription, and has efficient and effective customer service.
It is difficult to choose one particular cable provider or even three, because all have strengths and flaws, advantages and disadvantages. Various reviews have been read, forums have been followed and the number of subscribers a cable TV service provider has along with levels of service they offer have been checked in order to give you the most objective and unbiased recommendations we can.
Finding the right cable service provider will depend largely on the area you live in. Most service providers offer the same features or similar so your decision will probably be based on costs and customer service. Other important things to look out for include:
Service providers contract with different networks, and you should try and get a package that covers the basic or standard channels you enjoy watching. Most will also offer on-demand and movie exclusives, at an additional cost. Be sure to check which channels the local cable TV providers have on offer.
Cable TV can be affected by the weather and also how many people are using a feed. Dead air and slow connections will make your viewing experience less pleasurable.
Cable TV providers will offer different packages and services. It’s up to you and your budget when deciding but be sure to have a look at service bundles, locked in pricing options and pricing tiers.
Most offer an annual subscription or month to month. Check and check again that you don’t get locked into a contract you didn’t know about.
As part of the subscription fee, or sometimes at an additional cost, cable providers offer other services, like music channels, foreign language channels, and live recordings to watch later.
Look out for these. Most cable TV providers will offer bundles, and you could probably save some money subscribing to internet and TV with the same company.
Top 3 Cable TV Providers
Cox Cable was founded in 1962 and has a subscriber base of about 6.2 million. They are the first cable provider to offer viewers business focused products as well as business paid TV phone and internet services.
- Homelife: Cox offers a service called Homelife, which lets you remotely control your home – set the thermostat, switch lights on and off and even lock or unlock doors.
- Costs: They offer TV, telephone and internet bundles at relatively low prices.
- Support: Customer service is available 24/7.
- Customized bundles: Like other cable TV providers, Cox lets you choose your channels, so you’re not paying for content you don’t watch.
- Best for: Businesses who provide entertainment instore, households working on a budget or for staff and customers with particular interests.
Optimum was founded in 1973 under the name Cablevision Systems Corporations and serves millions of subscribers in the New York area. They offer television, Internet and cable services.
- Business and residential: Optimum offers telephone, Internet and TV services for residential and commercial properties.
- Better channel options: There are more than 600 HD channels on Optimum, which means their subscribers can enjoy a wide selection of programs.
- Unlimited options: Subscribers have access to unlimited mobile, data and texts on the Optimum package.
- Internet TV: The service provider offers a paid TV service.
- Free offerings: If you sign up for their broadband service, you receive a 50-channel package free of charge.
- Best for: Families who enjoy watching a wide range of programs, instore, most households as well as companies with TV for their staff.
Verizon Fios is only in 13 states, but it still beats the other fiber optic options in availability. It also has the highest customer satisfaction score in the industry. Verizon has four TV packages with up to 435 channels to choose from. They are one of the few companies that don’t have a contract offer, which is great news for those afraid of commitment, but it does mean a slightly more expensive service.
- Excellent Storage: Holding 200 hours in HD the Premium Fios Quantum TV DVR offers excellent storage options and you can record up to 12 shows at the same time.
- No contracts: Verizon Fios is one of the cable service providers who don’t expect customers to sign contracts. The downside of this is it costs slightly more than others.
- Fiber Optic Network: Excellent quality, clean and crisp picture, no weather interference
- Custom TV packages: Verizon offers its customers the option of customizing their channel bundles, which means paying only for what you watch
It would seem, and this is only an observation, cable TV providers are all on par, with some performing well in customer service and customized bundles for example, while others offer additional services like internet and TV bundles and unlimited plans on your cell phone, data and text services. It is difficult to give you the top 3 cable TV providers as they are area based and there is a possibility the one we recommend isn’t in your proximity.
Our recommendation is that you do additional research, look at the prices and compare the packages available, confirm if what the service provider offers adds value to you and your family and read reviews. This way you are in a position to make a well-informed decision and be happy with the cable TV provider you decide on.