You can get your minimalist, cord-cutting groove on with Sparklight’s no-frills plans, but you’ll pay for the privilege. You’re probably better off with a simple HD antenna, a live TV streaming service, or a traditional cable TV company.
Verizon Fios TV offers an excellent value TV service. The customizable Your Fios plan is particularly attractive, but all tiers offer a lot of TV for the money. Add in outstanding internet, and it’s hard to go wrong with Verizon.
Sparklight has a decent channel lineup, and people who love watching the news or enjoying a wildlife documentary with the family will get most of what they want. Unfortunately, sports content is lacking, and so is Spanish-language content.
Sparklight does a good job of delivering local channels for most viewers, but it doesn’t provide any Spanish-language locals. So you’ll get ABC, The CW, NBC, PBS, CBS, FOX, and more, but don’t expect Telemundo, Univision, or Estrella.
Sparklight brings you a variety of sports staples like both ESPNs, Fox Sports 1, TBS, TNT, and USA. You’ll get a couple of sport-specific channels like Golf and Motor Trend, but you’ll have to do without MLB, NBA TV, and NFL Network. And since you won’t have Spanish-language channels, you’ll be missing some great international soccer coverage too.
Family and education: 3.5/5
Sparklight has something for the entire family, but there are a few odd choices in its lineup. Most providers offer at least one Nickelodeon channel, and Sparklight doesn’t. Instead, you’ll get both National Geographic channels, which is also uncommon. You’ll get most everything else you expect, like Disney, History, Discovery, Animal Planet, and Cartoon Network, but be ready to go without the Science and Smithsonian channels.
News and politics: 4/5
Sparklight has better news coverage than a lot of TV providers—at least, for English speakers. You’ll get lots of local news, CNN, Fox News, HLN, MSNBC, CNBC, C-SPAN, BBC America, and even the Weather Channel. However, you’ll miss out on Newsmax and any Spanish-language news sources.
Entertainment and lifestyle: 3/5
Sparklight has less variety than we’d like in its entertainment lineup. Your life will have fewer laughs and less music than you’re used to because it's missing Comedy Central, Laff, CMT, MTV, and VH1. You’ll have plenty of feel-good movies from all three Hallmark channels, Lifetime, OWN, and Oxygen, as well as action and westerns from FX, FXX, Grit, and INSP. And enjoy great tastes from both HGTV and the Food Network, but not the Cooking Channel.
Great prices meet high channel counts and easy ways to pay for just what you want to watch with Verizon Fios TV. If you live in a coverage area, you’ll benefit from some of the best pay TV on the market.
Verizon has you covered when it comes to channels, with all the standard options in both English and Spanish. The exact selection and channel number varies based on where you live, but there’s a good chance you can get broadcast favorites in HD quality. You also get a variety of local public access stations and less-common but still-popular options like Comet, Bounce TV, Antenna TV, and StartTV. (1)
Verizon TV’s premium package has a lot to offer for anyone who loves sports. In addition to your local channels, you can watch pro golf, baseball, football, and basketball, plus a variety of college games. The only downside is no Showtime (unless you buy an add-on).
Family and education: 4/5
When it comes to content for kids and families with Verizon Fios TV, there’s a lot to love. With The Most Fios TV package, you get Nick Toons, Disney XD, Disney Junior, and Boomerang plus Discovery, Nat Geo Wild, Science, Game Show Network, and much more. However, you’ll miss out on Family Entertainment TV (FETV), Me TV, UP, and Cartoon Network.
News and politics: 5/5
Whether you want political talk, international news and analysis, business news, or even sports and local news, Verizon Fios is a great option. It offers every single one of the top 100 channels in the US that offers news, including CNN, Fox News, Newsmax, CNBC, C-SPAN, and even the Weather Channel and Accuweather.
Entertainment and lifestyle: 4.5/5
You can watch all kinds of movies, reality TV favorites, and true crime documentaries with Verizon Fios TV’s premier package. To get HBO and Showtime, though, you’ll have to pay add-on prices. Unfortunately, you can’t get Grit, Ion Mystery, USA Network, Cartoon Network, or Laff with Verizon.
Sparklight sounds like a company for cord-cutters—people who don’t want a traditional cable TV service at traditional cable TV prices. But when it comes down to it, you probably won’t save with Sparklight. If you want the same level of entertainment as a traditional cable company, you’ll pay more for it. If you want a minimal, no-frills plan, you’d be better off with a live TV streaming service like Sling or fuboTV.
Sparklight has just two plan levels. Economy Cable is barebones, giving you just 20 channels, while Standard Cable gives you 100—around what most competitors’ low-tier plans deliver. Unfortunately, you’ll pay mid-tier prices for low-tier service with Sparklight. While Sparklight has a decent (albeit short) channel lineup, many of the top-tier sports channels, like NFL Network and NFL Red Zone, are add-ons—at an additional cost.
Verizon isn't the cheapest option for traditional TV—you can get TV service for less elsewhere. It’s also not the best in terms of channels per dollar—although it holds its own. However, the ability to personalize the Your Fios plan means you can get more of the channels you actually want without having to pony up for a more expensive plan. It's a fantastic feature, and relatively uncommon in the cable TV space.
Of course, if you do want all the channels, you can get that, too: the top-tier Most Fios plan comes with well over 400, which is one of the highest channel counts in the business.
Sparklight won’t be winning any awards for equipment and features anytime soon, but you should be able to watch, record, and find your shows just fine.
Ability to watch: Fine
To get started with Sparklight, you’ll need at least $10 for a modem. You’ll also need at least one streaming device like a phone or tablet, smart TV, Apple TV, or Amazon Firestick. Unlike other TV providers, Sparklight leans on its TV Everywhere app to let you stream your shows on the internet instead of over cable or satellite.
Ability to record: Fine
Unfortunately, Sparklight doesn’t come with DVR service either—unless you add TV Plus to your Economy or Standard plan for around $12 per month. If you do cough up the extra cash for this service (which is typically free with other providers), you’ll get a decent 200 hours of cloud storage and the TiVo app.
Ability to find: Good
While Sparklight's TV everywhere app lets you search live, recorded, and on-demand content all at the same time, how you’ll find your shows depends heavily on the streaming device you’re using. You’ll use the remote that comes with that device, so factor that into your choice when buying gear. We recommend using a device with a voice remote for the best experience.
In short, Sparklight doesn’t provide much of an experience, but you can choose your own adventure depending on the devices you use. While it does offer parental controls, you can block content only by rating, not by channel or individual show.
The day-to-day experience with Verizon Fios TV is better than with most cable TV competitors, but the company puts less focus on its DVR setup than its competitors in the satellite TV arena.
Ability to watch: Great
Verizon TV comes with your fist set-top box included, and it’s not bad. The signal is delivered over very fast internet, so picture quality is good and reliable. Almost all channels are available in HD. The service also offers a free mobile app for paying customers, so you only really need the one box. If you want more, however, you can lease them for $12 each per month.
Ability to record: Good
Verizon Fios TV comes with all the features you’d expect from a fiber company. On higher packages, it offers multi-room DVR with 100 hours of storage at the base price, and you can record 6 shows at once. For an additional $10 per month, you can double the storage and record up to 12 shows at once. You can record via the remote, the smartphone app, or using a streaming device you already own (like an Apple TV or Fios TV). If you opt for the lowest tier, you’ll have to pay $12 per month for DVR capability and will be limited to just 50 hours of recording space. However, you could also just skip DVR altogether and won’t incur charges.
Ability to find: Excellent
Verizon offers voice remote functionality, easy ways to get to your favorites, and simple parental controls. It also has a mobile app that enables on-the-go streaming of your favorite channels—and it is surprisingly well-rated. (2, 3)
Getting started with Sparklight is a bit pricey. Professional installation is $90. You can opt for self-setup, but that’ll cost you $30 (free with most providers). But professional installation might be the better choice. If you end up wanting a refund later, a technician will have to come out and attempt a professional installation or troubleshooting anyway. If the problem isn’t Sparklight’s fault (or your home isn’t wired properly), you’ll be out $90 for the visit and you won’t get your refund.
Sparklight relies on a cable-fiber hybrid infrastructure that makes it more reliable than satellite TV providers. However, Reddit is peppered with customers complaining about outages. Sparklight’s TV service uses Wi-Fi internet, which can sometimes slow your binge-watching due to interference from other devices, competing networks, and well, walls. That said, Sparklight promises great Wi-Fi (and a money-back guarantee).
The Verizon Fios TV professional installation fee is $99, and there’s no self-install option. However, online ordering and promotions often waive this fee, so you can save some money on your first TV bill. Apart from that, the other major setup costs are the router and the DVR. You'll need the $18-per-month router if you don't already have Verizon Fios internet, and the company recommends against using your own equipment.
Once installation is handled, most customers are happy with the service. Some wish they could pay less, but complaints about the mobile app and channel lineup are relatively rare.