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Spectrum television reviews

Charter Spectrum brand logo
Staff rating
Customer rating
Price: $19.99 - $169.97/moSpeed: 30 Mbps - 1 GbpsChannels: 140+
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Rebecca Palmer smiles for the camera
Researched by
Rebecca PalmerSenior Staff Writer
Headshot of Bri Field
Reviewed by
Bri FieldAssigning Editor
Updated 2/7/23

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No contracts and affordable prices

Spectrum TV is good if you’re bundling and on a budget, and we love the $500 contract buyouts. Better yet, Spectrum doesn’t force you into a contract, so you can give the cable TV service a try with relatively little risk. We don’t love the low channel count, and it’s a bummer that you can get 4K programming only if you also have home internet (and upgrade your DVR to an Apple TV box).

What we like

  • Simple package options
  • No contract to join
  • Up to $500 contract buyout if you switch
What we dislike

  • Second-year price hikes
  • High broadcast fee
  • No DVR with basic receiver

Our expert assessment

Good starting prices, but extras add up quickly

Spectrum TV is a good choice for basic TV viewing on a budget, especially if you bundle with home internet. You get more than 125 channels with TV SELECT and more than 140 channels on MI PLAN LATINO, but those are your only package options. It’s a decent channel-per-dollar ratio, and Spectrum says all its channels are broadcast in HD. These basic packages include your local networks plus a range of options for news, entertainment, and sports. You’ll need add-ons for international programming, premium sports, and premium education and entertainment.

We love that Spectrum TV doesn’t require contracts and even pays to buy you out of another contract, and we like its upfront pricing structure. Compared to other live TV options, it’s easier to pay only for what you actually watch. However, add-ons get pricey in a hurry and you’ll pay even more for your cable boxes and DVRs. Plus, there’s virtually no way out of a local broadcast fee, which tops out at more than $22 per month. Worst of all, that low base price will increase in the range of $20–$30 per month after your first 12 months. Competing services have much bigger second-year price jumps (we’re looking at you, DIRECTV and Astound TV), but we still wish Spectrum would end the practice.

Bare bones but nice for budget viewers, especially with bundling

Spectrum TV is pretty bare-bones when it comes to features. It uses HD receivers from a handful of companies, but none are very impressive and there’s no way to control which one you receive. The no-frills remote has controls for channels, a TV guide, and your DVR (if you pay extra for the service). It’s functional, but not nearly as good as the DVR setups you’ll get with satellite TV providers. We don’t love that you have to pay around $10 extra each month for DVR and even more for cloud DVR. Additionally, the HD receivers can handle only 1080p. You can get around that by using the included streaming service in 4K on a different device, but that feels like unnecessary hassle.

Rather than create its own high-tech DVR, Spectrum offers a payment plan for a 4K Apple TV that’s preloaded with the Spectrum TV app. You can also use your own Apple TV or buy theirs up front, but the Apple TV option requires internet access. It’s the best way to access 4K programming with Spectrum, but it ends up being a little more expensive than the competition’s top-of-the-line DVRs.

If you end service before you pay your Apple TV off, you’ll be charged the complete price for the device. It’s not a bad deal if you’re already in the Apple ecosystem and have multiple streaming services in addition to cable TV, but it’s not a huge value add for a lot of users.

Equipment and installation
Not much to praise, but it is functional

Spectrum’s equipment isn’t the best. You can’t choose which set-top receiver you get, and you have to pay extra to rent a DVR and even more for cloud storage. You can buy an Apple TV 4K from Spectrum, either in monthly installments or as a lump sum, but will pay extra for DVR services, which are available only over the cloud.

Installation isn’t top of the line, either. Spectrum doesn’t list its installation fees publicly, but many customers report a $50 charge for professional installation. We’ve also heard of a charge for self-installation. That price isn’t too high, but we don’t like the idea of paying for an installation when you do the work yourself. Waiting for a free installation promotion or calling to order over the phone is the best way to wriggle out of these fees.

Sports and premium channels
You'll pay extra for most popular channels and find fewer options

Sports are one of the main reasons to pay for live TV, and you can catch a lot of games in HD with Spectrum TV. Channels like ESPN and ESPN2 come included with the standard packages, and you can pay an extra $6 each month for a sports package that includes NFL RedZone, MLB Strike Zone, and Golf Channel. For around $100, you can add MLS DIRECT KICK or MLB EXTRA INNINGS.

There’s no way to watch every NFL game under the sun like you can with DIRECTV, but we like that Spectrum rolls its regional sports fee into its broadcast fee. Compared to Xfinity, you’ll pay about $10 less in broadcast and sports fees every month.

For movies and entertainment, Spectrum’s add-on prices are on par with the competition. You can choose HBO Max, SHOWTIME, STARZ, CINEMAX, THE MOVIE CHANNEL, or Epix, and everything’s in HD. There are fewer available add-ons than with Xfinity or either satellite provider, but Spectrum has the basics covered.

You won’t see promotional pricing on any of the premium channels like you will with the competition, but we aren’t mad about it. Those promotions mostly amount to hidden charges a few months into the contract, and we applaud Spectrum for being more straightforward.

Read our expert guides to learn more about how to watch MLB, how to watch the NFL and the top cheap providers we tested.

We stand by the validity of our reviews and are committed to transparency: Our team uses consumer sentiment software to source customer reviews, which are entirely unique to this website. Reviewers attest to being current customers of the providers they review and are not incentivized to speak positively or negatively about their experience. We do not alter the reviews in any way. Learn more about how we source reviews.

Spectrum customer ratings overview

5 Star
4 Star
3 Star
2 Star
1 Star
Our reviews come from real customers who weren't incentivized to leave a review. The rating distribution typically shows a range of experiences and opinions that helps you get a sense for the average customer experience, not just extremes.

Top reviews from Spectrum customers

Leslie from Hopkins, SC
Spectrum Customer for 8+ years
Reviewed on: 9/15/2022
They provide amazing service
Olivia from Columbus, OH
Spectrum Customer for 4+ years
Reviewed on: 9/14/2022
Honestly all the cable companies need to be broken up the whole system is wrong I only have cable because it's free with rent
Suzannefrom Myrtle Beach , SC
Spectrum Customer for 1+ years
Reviewed on: 9/14/2022
They have good service
Sally from Corbin , KY
Spectrum Customer for 4+ years
Reviewed on: 9/14/2022
The programming in the Wi-Fi is good. I just have other problems with spectrum.
Ainsleyfrom Kent, OH
Spectrum Customer for 1+ years
Reviewed on: 9/13/2022
It is good. I like spectrum. It works
Mikefrom Dallas, TX
Spectrum Customer for 1+ years
Reviewed on: 9/12/2022
Okay but it's a good choice for price discounts
Hannahfrom Sylacauga , Al
Spectrum Customer for 4+ years
Reviewed on: 9/11/2022
Their service is exceptional could improve their prices
Michelle from Marion , NC
Spectrum Customer for 8+ years
Reviewed on: 9/11/2022
I love spectrum but they are way too expensive
Tyrafrom Roeland Park , KS
Spectrum Customer for 1+ years
Reviewed on: 9/10/2022
They do well with internet speed and good customer service and providing offers and they should approve more on their price of each service and to make some things
Javonte from Dallas , TX
Spectrum Customer for 1+ years
Reviewed on: 9/9/2022
It's good I have a bundle pack with internet and cable
Jefffrom Hurley, WI
Spectrum Customer for 8+ years
Reviewed on: 9/7/2022
they have many different sports. they also have my teams on to watch
Lisafrom Bristol, VA
Spectrum Customer for 4+ years
Reviewed on: 9/7/2022
They provide numerous channels of sports,news, music,movies and tv shows. For the price you can get channels.
Constancefrom La Junta, CO
Spectrum Customer for 8+ years
Reviewed on: 9/7/2022
less outages and better price
Rachel from Brooksville , FL
Spectrum Customer for 4+ years
Reviewed on: 9/6/2022
I've always had a great opinion of spectrum. They have great service and wonderful customer service. I've never had a problem with any of my services with them.
Margofrom San Antonio , TX
Spectrum Customer for 4+ years
Reviewed on: 9/5/2022
Reliable cost effective
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Endnotes and sources
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