Spectrum TV Review: Perfect for Cord Cutters?

Spectrum offers basic TV service and some great channel options for people who don’t want to be locked into a contract. However, if you expect new and amazing software updates all the time, this cable TV provider might not be the right choice for you.

Spectrum TV offers a slightly higher price per channel compared to its competitors. Bypassing a contract typically means you will have to pay more. After all, the freedom of not being locked into an agreement has its price, and it’s well worth it. Sometimes, you can even negotiate a better cable package deal if you’re persistent enough.

Let’s start this Spectrum TV review by looking at the monthly packages and number of channels the provider offers:

  • TV Select: over 125 channels
  • TV Silver: over 175 channels
  • TV Gold: over 200 channels

If you’re a low-maintenance viewer and only want to watch a couple of your favorite shows, Spectrum TV will be a great fit for you. The provider offers a great variety of channels and includes premium ones such as HBO and Cinemax. In the following part of this Spectrum TV review, you’ll hear about how Spectrum’s prices and packages compare to its competitors.

Spectrum TV’s Overall Prices and Packages

Even though Spectrum offers an overall higher cost per channel, your monthly bills will still likely be lower than with other providers. Most other service providers require you to sign a one-year or two-year contract. Unfortunately, you can end up paying way more because of hidden costs and termination fees. There’s often a catch when you sign these contracts, as they typically include a price hike during the second year. More often than not, you’ll end up paying double the price for the final 12 months of your contract. In the following part of the Spectrum TV Review, you will see how it compares to it’s biggest competitors.

  • Spectrum offers the Spectrum TV Silver package, which includes HBO, Showtime, and Cinemax.
  • DIRECTV offers the PREMIER package, which includes HBO, Showtime, Cinemax, and STARZ.
  • Comcast offers the XfinityDigital Premier package, which includes HBO, Showtime, Cinemax, and STARZ channels.
  • DISH offers the America’s Top 250 package, which includes AMC, and STARZ ENCORE channels.

Keep in mind that particular offers vary according to location, and their terms and conditions are constantly changing. So always check if the packages and special orders are available in your area.

Spectrum TV Deals

DISH will charge you $20 for every month left on your contract if you decide to terminate your agreement. AT&T U-verse, however, charges cancelation fees up to $180. But if you use Spectrum, you can avoid all of the added costs and hassle. Most providers offer these premium channels only with the most expensive package.

However, this service provider allows you to get a feel of the premium experience without overpaying for it. Spectrum’s Silver package offers a great deal and allows you to watch some of the top channels, such as Cinemax, Showtime, and HBO. If you want to change your current service provider and not pay any fees, Spectrum offers a contract buyout for up to $500. In order to be eligible to receive this amazing offer, you will need to buy the Triple Play or Double Play bundles.

Charter Spectrum Channels

As you probably already know, the channel selection is based on your location. If you decide to try out their services after reading the Spectrum TV Review, you will be pleasantly surprised. By signing in from some locations, the Spectrum TV Silver package will provide you with 232 channels, even though their advertisements only mention 175+ channels.

Furthermore, Spectrum doesn’t charge extra for HD channels and offers 1,500 options — more than any provider on the market. If you love and appreciate the HD experience, this might be the perfect provider for you.

The only small drawback of Spectrum TV packages is that, while they do offer some of the most popular cable channels, they have excluded Adult Swim. Sorry Rick and Morty fans, you’ll have to watch your favorite show elsewhere.

DVR Isn’t Included in the Price

The most confusing thing about Spectrum TV’s offer is that they don’t include DVRs in their package pricing. All of their biggest competitors do, so why shouldn’t they?

Moreover, you will need to pay an additional monthly fee for a single DVR with Spectrum TV. You will also have to pay more money if you want to add a receiver. Also, their DVRs are nothing to write home about, and you’ll learn more about that in the next part of this Spectrum TV review.

Features & Equipment

If you’re really invested in the idea of having great DVR equipment, Spectrum might not be the one for you. Their basic DVR equipment offers either Cisco/Scientific or Motorola receivers. These receivers have been known to cause a lot of customer complaints and malfunction regularly. Moreover, you don’t even get to choose which one you want to use, and the company doesn’t advertise either of them. You won’t know which one you’ve got until it arrives at your home. The company’s competitors offer much better and more comprehensive DVR options, with much better features.

DVR Comparison

  • Spectrum Motorola DVR offers 21 hours of HD recording, with two recording streams.
  • DIRECTV Genie offers 200 hours of HD recording, with five recording streams
  • Xfinity X1 offers 60 hours of HD recording, with six recording streams
  • DISH Hopper 3 offers 500 hours of HD recording, with 16 recording streams
  • TiVo Bolt Plus offers 450 hours of HD recording, with six recording streams

Spectrum only gives you up to 100 hours of digital recording. Moreover, this number could be even lower, depending on which DVR model you receive. When compared to its competitors, Spectrum TV’s DVR is way below average. For example, Hopper 3 will allow you to store over 2,000 hours of standard definition content — and not 100 hours total like Spectrum.

Furthermore, Dish’s DVR service offers 500 hours of HD recording, and Spectrum’s Motorola DVR allows for only 21 hours. If you want to upgrade your storage, you will have to set up an external hard drive. Doing so will make you spend more money and time, while alternative providers offer these features with their base packages. But if you do opt for the Motorola DVR, you should purchase additional receivers if you wish to record more than two shows at the same time.

In addition to a disappointing DVR experience, Spectrum will charge you an installation fee. While this cost is common with most cable providers, providers like DISH and DIRECTV will set your receiver up for free. All in all, Spectrum’s DVR service is disappointing from start to finish.

User Experience

One thing you will love about the Spectrum TV platform will be that it features a modern, user-friendly interface. You can sort content alphabetically or by channel number. In addition, there are plenty of useful filters, including Recently Watched, TV Shows, Movies, Sports, etc. One of the features you will enjoy the most is likely to be that you can opt out of watching specific channels. The service is very much tailored to your needs, and even if particular programs are included in your package, you can choose not to have them appear anywhere.

Navigation Tabs


When you open up your “On-Demand” tab, you will be able to see all of the channels that Spectrum has to offer. You can browse through different movies and shows and learn more about them by clicking on their icon. Once you have opened a movie you want to watch, you will be able to see its rating, cast, and basic information. There’s also a helpful “More Like This” tab that allows you to discover new shows based on what you’re already watching. However, do keep in mind that some of the content that shows up in this tab might not be available for you to view. More often than not, cable TV providers will advertise shows that you can’t watch to get you to buy a bundle or upgrade to a more expensive package.

Live TV

The “Live TV” tab offers a familiar interface. It’s straightforward and easy to use, and you can even browse through other channels while watching a show on live TV. This tab also allows you to use advanced guides to search by categories, such as Recent Channels, Locals, News, Family, etc.


The “Guide” tab allows you to browse through movies, episodes of your favorite shows, sports, and sports teams.

Watch Later

The “Watch Later” tab allows you to keep all of your favorite shows and on-demand content neatly in one place. It also offers some recommendations based on the content you have already watched.


Spectrum’s “Search” tab allows you to find your favorite content by title, person, sports type, or team. You can easily access the “Live TV” tab, as well as on-demand and recorded content. Moreover, you can access thousands of their free on-demand shows and add them to a Watch Later list.

Secure Your Account

Spectrum allows you to set a pin in order to block any device that’s trying to use your account without your consent. You can also block content based on rating or channel.

Local Channels

Another great feature that you will surely enjoy will be the support for local channels. Spectrum allows you to watch channels like ABC, FOX, and CBS. That is a great addition to every package, as you won’t have to pay extra and will be able to watch your favorite local shows. Having local channels already included helps you keep your overall costs lower. However, always check to see which networks are available in your region.

Spectrum TV Review — Customer Service

As most cable providers are known for giving you long, ambiguous installation dates and technicians that are hard to pin down — Spectrum offers an arrival guarantee. They do this in order to ensure a less stressful installation process. If you have already had a bad experience with cable providers, Spectrum will come off as a pleasant surprise.

Most cable TV providers are notorious for having poor customer service. Many companies offer a mediocre experience at best, and Spectrum is no exception. Moreover, it ranks quite low based on the American Customer Service Index, which offers unbiased and detailed customer service scores for a plethora of companies.

According to the ACSI, Spectrum TV offers its customers a lackluster customer service at best. Although it does rank higher than Comcast, AT&T’s U-verse, DIRECTV and DISH are miles ahead of it.

Most of the complaints addressed in this Spectrum TV review are about the company’s poor customer service. Although the agents are polite and helpful, some of the information they provide is vague; and you will likely have to be on hold for a while before someone picks up your call.

Final Thoughts

At the end of this Spectrum TV review, let’s talk about if the service is worth spending your money on. While the company’s packages don’t give you that “Shut up and take my money” feeling, they do have some redeeming qualities. The cable TV service provider offers you a basic service that you won’t need to sign a contract for. So if you’re not looking for a long-term commitment, Spectrum TV might be right for you.

The Best Package — Spectrum TV Silver

If you want to try out Spectrum’s services on your own, getting the Silver package is probably the ideal choice. You will be able to view 175 channels at least and get access to premium ones, such as Cinemax, HBO, and STARZ.

The Best Alternative — Sling TV

If Spectrum doesn’t seem like a good fit but you still want to be contract-free, consider SlingTV. DISH has created the TV streaming service to allow you to watch the most popular channels at a low rate. Sling functions similarly to Hulu, Netflix, and other popular streaming services, and you can binge-watch all of your favorite shows from any device.

The one thing you’ll appreciate is that this cable service provider offers premium channels with its basic packages. Most other providers view these channels as add-ons and charge an additional fee if you want to watch them.

The company definitely offers an inferior experience when compared to other satellite providers like DISH and DIRECTV. Unfortunately, if you choose to opt for this provider’s platform, you might feel underwhelmed by its features. However, if you only want to watch some of your favorite channels and don’t need all of the high-tech features, Spectrum will likely fit your needs.

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