The world is an ever-changing place where nothing lasts forever. In fact, things usually don’t remain the same here for too long. Consequently, those who find a way to adjust — profit, and those who don’t — fall behind.
Industry has been a paramount part of civilization ever since the First Industrial Revolution in the 18th century. New technologies and machines are being developed, and production processes are taking place on a daily basis.
As for the TV industry, it has been following this same trend. Hence, you can hardly find a home without a TV anymore. News, films, and sports programs are an everyday part of people’s lives.
Bearing all of this in mind, you might be interested to see what the best TV service providers of 2019 are. Below you will find a list that will drastically reduce the amount of research required for choosing the right provider — time is money after all!
Types of TV Services Available
There are different types of services available on the market today, with providers offering a wide range of plans and numerous channels with all kinds of programs. They usually support a variety of technologies as well.
Since people have different needs and preferences, and not everyone has the same monthly budget, providers try to offer a little bit for everyone.
All in all, there are four types of TV services you can choose from:
- Digital streaming
Best Cable TV Service Providers
Xfinity is one of the most popular cable providers around and certainly one of the best. Affordable packages and loads of channels offered by this provider really speak volumes, not to mention the no-contract option!
There are three different plans Xfinity offers to its customers: Digital Starter ($49.99/mo.), Digital Preferred ($59.99/mo.), and Digital Premier ($104.99/mo.) These plans include 140+, 220+, and 260+ channels, respectively.
You can opt to bundle your package with a high-speed Internet plan of 150 Mbps for an extra $30. Furthermore, the no-contract option is invaluable to those who might want more freedom, so it is also something that should be taken into consideration.
- Affordable package prices
- In-demand channels included in the basic plan
- No-contract option
- Not the best customer service
- Extra fees
Spectrum is the second biggest TV service provider in the US. What’s more, the general consensus is that it vies with Xfinity for the title of the best cable TV service provider there is.
If you think Xfinity’s starting offer is cheap, you’ll be more than happy to hear about Spectrum’s plans. There are three basic plans to choose from: TV Select ($44.99/mo.) with 125+ channels, TV Silver ($84.99/mo.) with 175+ channels, and TV Gold ($104.99/mo.) with 200+ channels.
The TV Select package offers channels like ESPN, ABC, and Disney Channel, while the TV Silver package will get you HBO and Cinemax, which are perfect for cinephiles.
- Affordable starter package
- Good variety of premium channels
- Great Internet speeds
- Weak DVR recording service
Cox is one of the most sought-after cable options in the US, as it is estimated that around 20 million people throughout the country use the services of this provider.
There’s a good variety of packages (fully customizable) on offer with great content. Furthermore, if you choose to bundle your package with an Internet plan, you won’t be left disappointed. The Internet speed ranges from 10 Mbps to 1Gbps, which is just extraordinary.
The plans start with Contour TV, which stands at $69.99/mon. and has 140+ channels. It is highly customizable, so you can choose whatever channels you wish.
- Fully customizable packages
- Ultra-fast Internet
- Costly DVR service
Best Satellite TV Service Providers
Are you a devoted soccer fan who never wants to miss their favorite club’s Champions League match? Check. Are you an NFL fan who never wants to miss the Super Bowl? No problem. Are you in love with NBA All-Star nights? Look no further.
There is a wide range of packages to choose from with DIRECTV. The prices go between $35/mo. for 155+ channels and $110/mo. for 330+ channels. Additionally, there are packages that include Internet service, starting from $75/mo. with the most expensive one costing $150/mo.
However, you have to beware of one thing. A two-year contract, which is standard, bears an increase in price when you enter the second year of your contract. Ultimately, depending on the package, you might end up paying double of what you were paying in the first year!
- Great for watching sports
- More HD channels than with other providers
- 200h for recording
- Prices increase in the second year of the contract
DISH is the best satellite TV provider price-wise, no question. If you compare it with DIRECTV, it may seem pricier at first glance, though. However, the prices are consistent and don’t rise over time. Basically, what you pay on day one, you’ll pay until the end of your contract.
There are four plans for you to choose from: America’s Top 120 ($59.99/mo.) with 190 channels, America’s Top 120+ ($69.99/mo.) with 190+ channels, America’s Top 200 ($79.99/mo.) with 240+ channels, and America’s Top 250+ ($89.99/mo.) with 290+ channels.
With DISH also comes the best DVR service there is, with up to 500h of storage for your HD content. Guess how many shows you can record at the same time — no less than 16!
- Consistent pricing
- Lots of college sports coverage
- Second to none DVR service
- Mediocre customer support
Best Live TV Streaming Services
First of all — NO, you don’t need a PlayStation console to be able to use PlayStation Vue. As a matter of fact, other set-top boxes like Apple TV or Roku will do just fine.
For the most part, everything is costly with PlayStation — the console, the games, PS+, etc. Vue is no different in that regard. It is just a bit cheaper than cable or satellite, so opting for it instead of the traditional TV services might not be the best solution. Nevertheless, it offers a 7-day trial, so you can test it before deciding whether to stick with it or not.
The packages start with Access ($50/mo.) featuring 45+ channels, Core ($55/mo.) with 60+ channels, and then Elite ($65/mo.) with 85+ channels. Finally, the Ultra package will get you 90+ channels for $85/mo.
- Great user interface
- Excellent service
- Somewhat pricey
- Use limited to the in-home network
YouTube is everyone’s favorite, at least on this side of the Earth’s hemisphere, of course. Playing endless amounts of online content is something YouTube excels at. Still, that’s not all it offers.
Using YouTube TV is, no doubt, one of the best and most popular ways of streaming live TV content. For only $49.99 per month, you get an amazing variety of channels to choose from. Moreover, browsing the content with YouTube TV feels like standing in front of a shelf packed with sweets of all kinds. The choices are endless.
Nevertheless, the best thing about YouTube TV is probably its limitless cloud DVR. Limitless! You will never again have to miss your favorite show. How great does that sound?
- Unlimited cloud recording
- A great number of channels
- Some key channels are not featured
- Somewhat expensive
Overall, DIRECTV NOW is an interesting TV streaming service option from AT&T. Like any other, it requires a high-speed Internet connection. As of recently, there are four different packages available to choose from, with lower prices than what most satellite and cable TV service providers offer. However, fewer channels are available.
The six packages on offer are PLUS with 45+ channels ($50/mo.), MAX with 60+ channels ($70/mo.), ENTERTAINMENT with 65+ channels ($93/mo.), CHOICE with 85+ channels ($110/mo.), XTRA with 105+ channels ($124/mo.), and ULTIMATE with 125+ channels ($135/mo.)
- A good number of channels
- Seven-day free trial
- Supports many devices
- Free DVR
- Bad interface
Hulu with Live TV
Hulu is a supreme live streaming service, one of the most popular and widely used throughout the US. It features a phenomenal, probably the best, selection of channels. However, sports fans might not be so pleased with it, as it lacks some major sports channels.
Only one package is on offer. It stands at $44.99/mo. and features over 65 channels, which is just a few short of YouTube TV’s 70+. Additionally, four local channels are included — CBS, ABC, NBC, and Fox, plus some cable network channels — Discovery, Viasat History, Lifetime, etc. Unfortunately (for some), premium network channels are where Hulu with Live TV falls short.
- Great library content
- Lots of channels
- Missing some sports channels
- Mediocre interface
Sling TV is almost synonymous with cord-cutters — it’s a true master of its trade. It lets you enjoy dozens of live TV channels, including sports. You can choose either of its three packages: Sling Orange for $25/mo. with 25+ channels, Sling Blue, which comes at the same price but offers 45+ channels, and Orange + Blue for $40/mo. with 50+ channels.
It is available on many platforms, like Chromecast, Roku and Apple TV, as well as Android and iOS devices. Also, it offers you the possibility to rent movies in SD and HD for just a few dollars, depending on the quality you choose.
- Great prices
- Cloud DVR services
- Fewer channels available
Fubo TV primarily focuses on sports channels (more precisely, soccer). In fact, no other provider offers more soccer content than Fubo TV.
Other than that, it doesn’t really stand out. It doesn’t offer a huge number of channels like some others do, and it’s missing a few ‘’big’’ ones. The interface and user experience are a bit underwhelming, too. However, it does feature multi-language packages, including Spanish and Portuguese.
There are four packages to choose from: Fubo Standard costs $54.99/mo for 83 channels, while Family and Entertainment come at $59.99/mo. and $64.99/mo. respectively, both with the same number of channels as Standard. Finally, Ultra stands at $74.99/mo. with 103 channels.
- Multi-language packages
- Occasional buffering and blurry picture
Best Fiber-Optic TV Service Provider
Verizon Fios TV
When it comes to fiber-optic TV service, the pick of the bunch is Verizon Fios TV.
Some people might be unfamiliar with fiber-optic technology. This kind of connection easily beats the cable connection in terms of speed. It is also great for connecting multiple devices and bundling the TV and Internet together.
There are four packages to choose from: Custom TV with a varied channel count for $64.99 per month, Preferred with 295+ channels for $74.99 per month, Extreme with 365+ channels for $79.99 per month, and Ultimate with 425+ channels for $89.99 per month.
- Ultra-high connection speed
- No-contract option
- Great customer service
- Tons of channels
- High prices and extra fees
General Information on Satellite, Cable, and Live streaming
Satellite is usually the only TV service you can get in rural areas. It is less reliable than cable, and the installation will cost you extra. However, satellite providers offer more HD channels than those that focus on cable and live TV.
Cable TV service is more traditional than satellite and live TV. It is the most reliable service, as it can’t be affected by bad weather, for example. Furthermore, the prices are mostly a bit higher at the beginning but don’t go up later on, as they usually do with satellite.
Live streaming is the newest of the three services. In order to stream, you need to have Internet access. It also usually works on several devices, so you can choose between using your smart TV, tablet, or computer.
Contracts 101: Beware of What You’re Signing
Generally speaking, not everyone likes going through contracts thoroughly, as it’s time-consuming, and all those legal terms can be a bit vague. However, it is in clients’ utmost interest to do so.
First of all, if you sign a long-term contract, forget about canceling your subscription. It will most certainly result in a considerable fee.
Moreover, when it comes to prices, they may change over time, so you might end up paying more during the second year of your contract than the first. Seeing the bill has risen all of a sudden definitely won’t be a pleasant surprise!
Also, there might be some hidden fees. Activation, broadcasting, and installation fees are all things you should look out for and be aware of. Additionally, some providers might charge you equipment and regional sports fees. Premium channels almost always come separately as add-ons.
All things considered, it’s never easy when you have to choose between a few things, especially if you have to pay for them. Naturally, all four types of TV services and their providers discussed above have their pros and cons.
However, they are all solid options to choose from. Hopefully, you will find this list helpful when considering which one to go with. Just remember to check the prices — some of the providers may have added more channels to their lineup, so the fees may have changed a bit.