Formerly known as Time Warner, Spectrum isn't a newbie in the cable game. This cable TV provider delivers reliability and affordability, offering more HD channels than most major providers. We were impressed by their well-organized TV App, the Apple 4K voice-activated remote option (a boon for older ears and eyes), and excellent money-saving plans for internet bundlers. But perhaps most importantly, we appreciate that Spectrum doesn't require contracts, and there are no termination fees. While not the highest rated in customer service, they're well within the industry average.1 And as long as you are aware that promotional prices increase after 12 months and watch out for extra fees with add ons, this may be the cable option that will stop you from cutting the cord on cable.2
Before we dive into the plans offered, plug in your address on Spectrum's homepage to check for availability in your area and generate any special offers that might apply. Spectrum is available in 41 states (and has 30 million customers). If you prefer to verify your service area with a real person, the number to call is 1-855-640-0893. Spectrum customer support hours are Monday through Sunday, 8 AM – 12 AM EST.
All Standard Plans come with:
|Package||Select||Silver||Gold||Mi Plan Latino||MPL Silver||MPL Gold|
|Promotional Price*||$44.99 per month||$74.99/month||$94.99 per month||$34.99 per month||$64.99 per month||$84.99 per month|
|Channels||125+ channels||175+ channels; Includes HBO Max, Showtime, NFL Network, & access to HBO Max App||200+ channels; Includes HBO Max, Showtime, Starz, TMC, Starz Encore & NFL Network, & access to HBO Max App||140+ channels||200+ channels; Includes HBO Max, Showtime, NFL Network, & access to HBO Max App||250+ channels; Includes HBO Max, Showtime, Starz, TMC, Starz Encore, NFL Network, & Access to HBO Max App|
*Prices increase after one year of service
Each standard Spectrum plan becomes more robust as the price increases. Spectrum's website details complete lists of available channels within each package, but here are a few of our guidelines based on content preferences.
Whether you love family movie nights or watching your favorite films with your spouse after date night, Spectrum's Silver and Gold packages are our top picks for movie lovers. Both include popular movie channels like HBO Max, Showtime, and Hallmark. If you're the ultimate movie buff, we'd recommend the Gold package, as it includes even more channels like Starz, MoviePlex, and IndiePlex.
When game night rolls around, you want to be properly plugged in, whether in person with your family or virtually with old college buddies. Take a look at Spectrum Select and Silver, as both feature ESPN/ESPN2, NBC Sports, SEC, and MSG, among others. Silver also adds College Extra, NHL, and more. But whichever plan you choose, we think your best bet is to add a Spectrum Sports Pack, available for $5 per month, which adds up to 12 sports channels to your lineup.
If part of your schedule involves bonding time with your grandchildren, a good selection of kid-friendly channels is useful to have in the mix, particularly while getting a meal on the table. Select, Silver, and Gold packages all give you access to kids and family channels, with options that include PBS Kids, Nickelodeon, and Disney Channel. For older kids and teenagers, look to Silver and Gold levels for a wider selection, from Discovery Family to Universal Kids and TeenNick.
If you're keen to hone your culinary skills, breathe new life into your home decor, or you're all about planning your next adventure, you'll find food, home, and travel channels with Select and Silver packages. All plans include HGTV, Food Network, and The Travel Channel, while Silver kicks it up a notch with Cooking Channel and Discovery Life.
For all you newshounds and lifelong learners, you can satiate your interests with both Select and Silver. Choices from Bloomberg to Fox Business and Discovery Channel to National Geographic come standard with these packages. Silver (and Gold) go a bit further with BBC World News, Science Channel, Smithsonian Channel, and more.
Pro Tip: It's worth a call to Spectrum to customize your plan. For example, if you're a fan of AMC and Turner Classic Movies, but you're not interested in HBO and Showtime, you'll want the Silver package, but you can ask for those two Premium channels to be removed; the upgrade will cost you $12 instead of $30.
After choosing a plan on Spectrum's website, you may be asked whether you want to use an HD-Box or the Apple TV 4K. Here's the lowdown.
HD-Boxes cost $7.99 per month each and allow you to view in HD (even if your television is an older, non-HD TV!) The box enables you to access the channels directly, and, for a fee, professional Spectrum installation and support are available. It also includes a universal remote, and you can pay an additional monthly fee for DVR storage.
Good To Know: Keep in mind, your rates may increase after the first year if you don't sign up for a two-year package. There may also be surcharges and taxes, along with extra fees for equipment, installation, and additional services.
If you opt for the Apple TV 4K, it includes a voice-activated remote, which is an excellent option if you hate tiny buttons. You'll have access to all your channels via the Spectrum TV App. Users can also upgrade to include DVR storage, which allows you to save up to 100 hours of your favorite shows and movies. Note that you'll be on your own for installation, so reach out to a more tech-savvy family member if that's not your strength. You can either purchase the device for $180 upfront or spread out the payment at $7.99 per month for 23 months.
With the Spectrum TV App, you have access to your full channel lineup and up to 50,000 On Demand shows and movies on your mobile and connected devices, including smartphones, tablets, Xbox One, and Samsung Smart TV. The app allows you to create watch lists, watch live TV, stream On Demand choices, set (grand-) parental controls, and even program your DVR whether you're at home or on the go.
Depending on what you're looking for, various Double or Triple Play deals (combining TV, internet, or voice) may be available in your area. We recommend a close look at these, as not only can you save money, but the services themselves are notable.
Spectrum internet and TV bundles start at $89.89 per month with speeds up to 940 Mbps and no data cap (so you won't be getting overage charges for any gamer grandkids in your midst). Below is a look at a few of our favorite bundles for seniors.
If you're ok with a streamlined selection of TV channels, one option is the Spectrum TV Essentials bundle, which is only available to internet subscribers. It's the cheapest bundle option by far, adding just $19.99 per month to your internet bill, with no hidden fees. The drawback is it only has 60 live TV channels, but it offers a good lifestyle, entertainment, and news lineup, from Discovery to Food Network, AMC to BBC, and Nickelodeon channels for kids. Sports enthusiasts, however, are out of luck with this option, and local channels are not included. Note that you can only view TV Essentials through the Spectrum TV App on your devices.
FYI: It might be worth adding a home landline to your Spectrum bundle, which costs $9.99 per month or about 30 cents a day. It's not a bad deal given the fact that it's a safety measure in case your mobile phone is lost, damaged, or can't be recharged—and if there's an emergency, 911 dispatch knows precisely where you are (a problem in large apartment complexes).
An even more streamlined service, again for internet subscribers only, is the Spectrum TV Choice bundle at $24.99 per month, which offers 10 channels of your choosing (out of 100+) and your local stations. This is the ultimate bundle for people who get annoyed or just plain confused scrolling through tons of channels they never watch.
Another internet and cable provider worth taking a look at is Xfinity, a part of Comcast cable, with similar bundled TV, internet, and voice options. Unlike Spectrum, you'll need to sign a contract to get their best deals, and they have data caps. Xfinity excels in speed and value, however. Also worth a look, for similar packages and even better pricing, is CenturyLink. But, unless CenturyLink Fiber is available in your area, you'll be dealing with slower (DSL) speeds and data caps. Similarly, AT&T has highly competitive rates for bundles, and with their addition of DIRECTV, it offers many more TV bundle options than Spectrum. But to beat Spectrum for internet speed, you'll need to be within reach of AT&T's fiber lines.
Spectrum TV offers flexibility for its packages, bundle perks, and cost options, making it a top choice for seniors. While it's important to remember that equipment or service add-ons can increase your bill, eliminating contracts is a significant improvement in this industry and encourages better customer relations. Overall, the service feels like it hits a sweet spot for seniors looking for fair pricing and a robust channel offering, particularly if they want to throw in an internet plan.
Spectrum may charge $49.99 for installation, depending on your area.
You can opt for a self-installation kit for $9.99, which we understand is fairly simple, so this is a great way to save money.
When the promotional period ends, you can expect your TV bill to go up by approximately $29 per month.
Yes, Spectrum Guide Narration is available to customers with a Spectrum Receiver. It recites on-screen text and provides audible guidance for easy access to TV menus, DVR, On Demand shows and movies, and more. There are also additional features for visually impaired customers.
AARP. (2017). Time to Cut the Cable TV Cord?