Made up of brands Wave, RCN, Grande, and enTouch, Astound offers internet-based entertainment that uses TiVo, Sling TV, and the Google Play store. Fabulous first-year pricing includes internet, but if you want premium perks or a provider you can grow old with, swipe left on this one.
Although Astound doesn’t have the massive channel counts that some providers have, the channels it does have will scratch just about any itch. However, if you want Spanish-language channels or comprehensive sports coverage, it might not be the provider for you.
Astound has most of the channels you need to stay up-to-date on local events, including ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX, PBS, Comet, and The CW. But you won’t find Cozi or any Spanish-language local channels.
Unlike many competitors, Astound’s lowest-tier plan (Basic) includes Fox Sports. Its mid-level plan (Signature) is pretty standard and includes sports like ESPN 1 and 2, Fox Sports, TNT, TBS, and USA. You’ll also get NBA TV and Motor Trend, which are less common. But you’ll miss out on the Golf Channel, and because Astound doesn’t provide Spanish-language channels, its international soccer coverage isn’t ideal.
Family and education: 3.5/5
Astound has solid family-friendly channels, especially ones with educational content like Animal Planet, History Channel, Discovery, and National Geographic. But you won’t get Nat Geo Wild, the Science Channel, or the Smithsonian Channel. You’ll get some decent cartoons with Disney, Nickelodeon, and Cartoon Network, but your littlest ones will miss out on Nick Jr. and Disney Junior.
News and politics: 3/5
Astound provides plenty of coverage for most people. You’ll get lots of local news of course, along with national channels like CNN, Fox News, CNBC, MSNBC, HLN, and C-SPAN. You’ll even get a bit of international perspective with BBC America. But you won’t get Newsmax, The Weather Channel, or any Spanish-language news.
Entertainment and lifestyle: 3.5/5
Astound has a wide variety of entertainment channels. Exercise your funny bone with both Comedy Central and Laff, or watch a serious cowboy movie on INSP. Learn some home improvement skills with HGTV and TLC, or leave home behind while watching the Travel Channel. Create culinary masterpieces with the Food Network and Cooking channels, or fill up on celebrity gossip with E!. You’ll also get all three Hallmark channels, Bravo, Paramount, and IFC.
Astound’s base plans are pretty standard compared to competitors, and initial costs are low. However, if you start adding custom channels, costs quickly add up. Plus, after a year-long honeymoon with great introductory rates, Astound turns up the heat and quickly drains your bank account. Although Astound leans on Sling TV to deliver its live TV channels, it offers a better experience and more channels than just Sling alone.
Astound sells its TV and internet plans together. First, you’ll pick your internet plan, then you can add a TV plan. Whichever TV plan you choose, you’ll stream all your shows over your Astound internet connection, so getting the right internet plan is critical. If you’re a small household that doesn’t stream a ton of HD content, a 110 Mbps internet plan could be plenty. But if you want to take full advantage of Astound’s 4k streaming capabilities, we recommend at least the 400 Mbps plan.
Astound has put together a great list of equipment and features that allow you to easily find and watch or record your shows with relative ease. That said, we'd love to see more DVR storage included in Astound plans.
Ability to watch: Great
Getting your first TV set up with a Stream 4k box is free, and additional boxes cost just a few dollars per month. You'll also need an Astound Wi-Fi router, but you'll need that for your Astound internet service anyway. Astound uses the Sling app to deliver your streaming experience. The interface can be confusing at first, but once you get used to it, it's a decent experience.
Ability to record: Good
If you ever want to leave your couch (like, say, to run out and get more popcorn), you can use the Astound TV+ app to watch shows in line at the quickie mart, tap into a respectable 125 included hours of Cloud DVR storage, or schedule a future recording. Register up to 12 devices, and watch on up to five at a time.
Ability to find: Great
Astound leans on TiVo’s Stream 4k device to combine the capabilities of a DVR, live TV (via Sling), and streaming services (via Android apps). If that sounds like a lot of stuff to try to sort through while your popcorn gets cold, you can use the voice button on the remote to tell your TiVo what you’re looking for—or ask it to give you a few curated options.
Most customers report an overall positive experience, but Astound’s large price hikes are understandably unpopular. The good news is, you won’t have to sign a contract, so if increasing prices are getting you down, you can jump ship anytime.
Astound has a free self-setup option and often runs promotions for free professional installation (otherwise around $80). If your house already has working coax outlets, you’ll probably get off scot-free with no installation costs.