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Best TV Providers of 2018

Whether you're in the market for a great channel lineup, the latest technology, or a flexible contract, you want a TV provider you can rely on. Now, with the help from us at, you can simplify your search for the best TV provider.

Best Sports Packages

Best Channel Lineups

Best No-Contract Packages

Most-Affordable Premium Channels

By weighing customer satisfaction, popularity, and special offers, we have compiled our top five recommended TV providers. Take advantage of our years of researching and reviewing these companies to decide on the perfect provider for you.

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Best Sports Packages

DIRECTV has what sports fans want, with over thirty-five sports channels and NFL SUNDAY TICKET. There's also a lot of flexibility to add extra features, like watching live games from your phone or tablet. You can even add on specialized programming, like international sports, at an affordable price.

2. AT&T U-verse

Best Channel Lineups

With over 550 channels, AT&T U-verse gives its customers the best selection on the market at staggeringly low prices. If you're in the market for family-friendly television, you can start with the U-Family package for only $35.00 per month, and the packages just get bigger and better from there.


Best DVR

For those who want to watch their shows and movies exactly when they want, there's no better DVR to make that a reality than DISH's Hopper 3. With the ability to record sixteen shows at once and store up to 500 hours of HD television, the Hopper 3 doesn't need to set itself apart with cool feature like voice control, mobile viewing, and commercal auto-skip—but it has those anyway.

4. Frontier FiOS

Best No-Contract Packages

It's tough to be stuck in a TV contract if you're someone who moves a lot. But thanks to great no-contract packages from Frontier FiOS, you can get plenty of channels without breaking a contract or the bank.

5. Spectrum

Most-Affordable Premium Channels

If you're tired of paying extra for some of the best channels out there—like HBO®, SHOWTIME®, Cinemax®, STARZ®, and TMC®—Spectrum has a solution for you. It includes premium channels in its Silver and Gold lineups, so you don't have to budget for extra monthly fees.

What makes for a good TV provider?

Girl with remote.

Channel Selection

Whether you enjoy local sports or eclectic foreign films, you want to be sure your provider has the channels you love. If channel lineups are available for preview from your provider, make sure to give them a close look before you decide on your package rather than just going with the highest channel count. Often channel counts are padded by music channels, which are usually not what you want to pay for.

DIRECTV, AT&T U-verse, DISH, Frontier FiOS, and Spectrum all offer information about which channels are available with their TV packages. If channel selection and pricing are the most important to you, look through their channel lineups and consider which provider in your area covers all your bases at the lowest price.

Bundling Options

While cable TV is still considered something of a luxury, internet has become a major utility in our homes. You can save on both by bundling your TV and internet with the same provider. Many providers offer extra incentives for bundling, too, like free installation or included equipment.

If you want good TV and fast internet for less, see which provider can offer you the best deal in bundling. Frontier tends to have killer deals on bundles with speeds as fast as 100 Mbps upload and download.


You can’t beat satellite TV providers like DISH and DIRECTV for availability. You can enjoy satellite internet anywhere you can set up a satellite dish, and that’s just about everywhere in the US.

Spectrum uses traditional cable, which is the second-most widely available type of TV service. Most cities have well-developed cable networks, so there’s a good chance one of your local providers is cable based.

Fiber TV providers like AT&T U-verse and Frontier FiOS have more limited areas of availability, so even if you’re interested in their offerings, you may not have access to them unless you live in certain metro areas like Houston, Portland, and Los Angeles.

Check Your Availability

To see which of the best TV providers are available in your zip code, use the tool below.

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Customer Support

We’d all love to have TV that never has any issues, but even the best providers have glitches from time to time. Be sure to check reviews of potential TV providers to see how they match up to your customer support expectations.

DIRECTV, AT&T U-verse, DISH, Frontier FiOS, and Spectrum all help you skip long hold times by offering online chat support. They also have rich online libraries to answer your questions, and Frontier even lets you request to receive a call at a designated time so you don’t have to sit on hold.


No TV provider is infallible, but you don’t want to lose service in the middle of your favorite show. For the majority of the time, satellite TV providers like DISH and DIRECTV are reliable, though temporary outages occasionally occur due to extreme weather interfering with the signal.

Cable TV providers like Spectrum aren’t as susceptible to inclement weather, but occasionally construction accidents or similar issues may disrupt a cable network. If this happens, it can take some time to repair the cables and get your TV up and running again.

If you’re looking for the latest in TV service technology, go with fiber providers like AT&T U-verse or Frontier FiOS. So far, this service type has proven to be the most reliable on the market.


Cable TV pricing can be confusing. Not only do you have to consider package prices, but you also have to be on the lookout for additional monthly expenses, including broadcasting fees and regional sports fees—and don’t forget equipment charges!

Good TV providers are transparent about pricing and offer included perks, like equipment or premium channels. Both DIRECTV and AT&T U-verse offer equipment at no extra cost with every TV package. Spectrum includes HBO®, CINEMAX®, and SHOWTIME® with its Silver package and adds STARZ®, ENCORE®, and EPIX® to its Gold package lineup. Frontier currently offers a year of Amazon Prime membership with certain bundled packages to sweeten the deal.

Customer Satisfaction

Every year we at survey TV customers across the nation to uncover their true feelings about their TV providers. The TV providers we’ve selected for our top five all have a history of consistently high standing in these surveys. Check out our 2018 survey for more details.

What should you consider when choosing a provider?

Choosing a provider.

Service Type

The three service types for TV providers are cable, fiber, and satellite. While each can provide a clear, strong TV signal, they vary in availability and reliability.

  • Cable TV providers send their TV signals through underground copper cables. Most homes have access to the traditional coaxial cables that are used for cable TV. However, if the coaxial cable providing a signal to your home is accidently cut during local construction, you won’t be able to watch TV until it’s fixed.
  • Satellite TV is even more accessible, and anyone with access to a south-facing roof can set up a dish that receives TV signals from a satellite in geosynchronous orbit over the earth. These signals might not come through as clearly in bad weather, but these outages are short-lived, and major outages, like a satellite malfunction, are extremely rare.
  • Fiber TV uses thin strands of glass or plastic to send a TV signal in the form of light through underground cables. While this method is fast and efficient, it’s mostly found in large cities and metro areas, and some networks like AT&T U-verse use a fiber and cable hybrid system to reach more homes without having to connect every home with expensive fiber-optic cables. Fiber is susceptible to the same accidental construction outages as cable TV, but these issues are uncommon.

Installation Fees

Many TV providers charge a fee for installing the equipment that allows you to access their services. Some also charge an activation fee to start broadcasting the signals to your home. These charges run up to $100.00, but most are lower than that. Keep in mind that it’s common to have these fees waived if you bundle your internet and TV.


If you want to have a DVR with a lot of storage or extra features, be sure to check out our Best DVRs Buyers Guide. It has information on the best DVR price ranges and capabilities, which vary greatly from provider to provider.

If you’re looking to save money, go with a provider, like AT&T U-verse or DIRECTV, that includes equipment in its package pricing. Or you might decide you can live without all the fanciest DVR features and choose a traditional cable box instead.


In most cases, TV-provider contracts last about a year, although satellite providers typically contract for two years. Make sure you’re comfortable with how long the contract lasts as well as the length of your promotional pricing period. Having a shorter promotional pricing period than your contract length means your monthly bills will go up midway through your contract.

Consider going with a no-contract provider like Frontier FiOS or Spectrum if you’re not sure you’ll be living in the same place for at least a year. That will make your TV provider one less thing to worry about when you move.

Friends on couch.

Mobile Viewing

You don’t need to be in front of a television to enjoy your favorite TV shows and movies. Most providers offer mobile viewing apps or websites, so you can watch live TV from your phone, tablet, or laptop.

Usually you can watch more channels through apps when using your home Wi-Fi than when you’re on the go. When you’re considering a new TV provider, check the information and reviews on its app to see how many channels you’ll have mobile-viewing access to and where you’ll need to be to watch them.

Find Your Next Provider

There’s plenty to think about when signing up with a new TV provider, but now you’re equipped to make an educated choice. To see more information on all the TV providers available in your area, enter your zip code below.


Check Your Availability

To see which of the best TV providers are available in your zip code, use the tool below.

Please enter a valid zip code.

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