Hawaiian Telcom is a solid choice for TV service for Hawaii residents—with a couple caveats. You have to be on Oahu to get TV service, and there aren’t any standout features to help it rise above competitors DISH and DIRECTV.
Hawaiian’s best content is its family-friendly channels. You’ll also get some decent sports content and news content, but its international content is what stands out most.
Hawaiian has about half the local channels you’d expect. You’ll get the big ones like ABC, CBS, The CW, FOX, NBC, and PBS, but you won’t get any Spanish-language locals.
Hawaiian Telcom offers a pretty standard sports channel selection. You get the usual ESPN, FS1, NFL Network, and other common channels, but not MotorTrend or NBA TV. That said, we think most sports fans will be able to find something to watch here.
Family and education: 4/5
If you have kiddos (or just love cartoons and educational content yourself), Hawaiian Telcom is a great provider. It has more family-friendly channels than most TV providers, including Discovery Channel, Animal Planet, both Nat Geos, Nickelodeon and Nick Jr., and Disney and Disney Junior. History and science lovers will be satiated, too. But you might miss Cartoon Network and Family Entertainment TV.
News and politics: 3/5
You’ll get most of the news coverage you want, including CNN, MSNBC, CNBC, and Fox News. But if you want Newsmax, the Weather Channel, or Spanish-language news, you’re out of luck. We also love how much international content you get, especially channels from Japan, Korea, and the Philippines.
Entertainment and lifestyle: 3.5/5
Whether you like movies, prime-time programming, reality shows, or cooking, Hawaiian has some channels for you. But you won’t get everything. You’ll get Comedy Central but not Laff, for example, and Grit but not INSP. But we think most households will be mostly happy with the lineup.
For a small local TV provider, Hawaiian Telcom offers a really great value. The channel count is quite high, with some plans offering 395+ channels. Best of all, you can bundle both TV and internet together for well under $100 per month, depending on the specific plan details. Compared to some other providers, that’s a steal—particularly regional providers, which tend to charge more than major national brands like Xfinity.
Hawaiian's equipment covers all the basics and provides a decent experience, but it doesn't offer any exceptional features.
Ability to watch: Fine
Hawaiian Telcom equipment is pretty standard. You’ll pay around $9 per month for every cable box you rent. It also offers the usual selection of TV apps (for watching content and managing your DVR on the go), TV Everywhere support (for streaming your favorite shows wherever you are), and on-demand programming.
Ability to record: Fine
The DVR is fairly average—you can watch and record up to six shows at once, and then manage your recordings online or on your smartphone with an app. Unfortunately, it can only store up to 130 hours of HD content, which is far less than the best DVRs on the market.
Ability to find: Good
Hawaiian Telcom doesn’t have a voice remote to help you find your shows, but otherwise the interface is pretty good. You can sort your recorded shows by date, by channel, or alphabetically, for example. Parental controls are easy to set up and you can block content by channel or rating.
Hawaiian Telcom customers seem pretty happy with their service. The website has a great support section with lots of troubleshooting help, and live chat and 24-hour phone help are also available. We don’t love how many equipment fees aren’t included in advertised prices, but at least they show up before you enter your payment details.
Installation itself is pretty standard, and the process is relatively straightforward. There’s a one-time activation fee of $34.99, but you may be able to waive it by activating online.