You’ve been waiting months to experience the latest blockbuster on your home theater. The popcorn is popped and you’re ensconced in your blanket, recliner locked and loaded. Five minutes into a massive explosion that shows off the latest CGI tricks, your signal sputters. And there it is- an error message that has you throwing your remote in frustration. Buffering strikes again.

Movie lovers have learned that if they’re serious about having a cinema experience in their own living rooms, cable is still king. Many households in America don’t enjoy internet speeds fast enough to support streaming in HD. Additionally, if you’re obsessed with viewing the newest releases fresh out of theaters, cable’s On Demand services get titles before they are pushed out to streaming services like Netflix. So which cable providers offer the best packages for movies? Before we explore the options, let’s chat a bit about premium channels.

HBO and Cinemax are affiliated networks and enjoy the same studio partners. New releases that make their way to these premium channels come from Warner Brothers, New Line, Castle Rock Entertainment, 20th Century Fox, Dreamworks and Touchstone. Starz and Encore are also sister channels and get their new releases from Disney, Pixar, Columbia and Sony. What you need depends on your viewing priorities. Want more action, blockbuster and sci-fi titles? HBO and Cinemax have you covered. Got a family that devours the latest animated releases? Lock in Starz to keep the kids happy.

You should also give some consideration to the affordability of movie packages versus adding on individual channels. While not all providers have packages specifically for movie lovers, you can usually add on several premium channels a la carte. Typically, packages will be a more cost effective way to get access to the most movie channels. If, however, your primary concern is viewing certain kinds of releases, adding a few premium channels may provide a better value for your needs.

Let’s take look at each provider along with a breakdown of the movie packages, total channels available, and premium channels offered.  We’ll also provide some context to help you decide which provider can bring you the awesome home theater experience you’ve been craving. To search for a cable television provider in your area, use our zip code tool here.



Provider Number of channels available Premium Channels Available Movie Packages Comments
 

AT&T U-verse/DirecTV

 

315

(Premier)

HBO, Starz, Showtime, Cinemax, The Movie Channel, Encore, Indie, Retroplex (62 channels)  

Movie Lover’s Package

Dynamic, full menu of options for movies
 

CenturyLink Prism TV

 

330

(Prism Premium)

HBO, Starz, Showtime, Cinemax, The Movie Channel, Encore  

NO

Standard premium channel offerings.
 

Charter

 

200+ (Gold)

HBO, Starz, Showtime, Cinemax, The Movie Channel, Encore, Epix  

NO

Add premium channels to any package.
 

Cox Contour TV

 

380 (Ultimate)

HBO, Starz, Showtime, Cinemax, The Movie Channel, Encore, IFC, Flix, Sundance, Epix  

Movie Pak

Cox offers affordable packages and add-ons for movies.
 

DISH/Frontier

 

330 (Everything Pak)

 

HBO, Starz, Showtime, Cinemax, The Movie Channel, Encore, IFC, Flix, Sundance, Epix

 

Movie Pack

Robust package with affordable options to add on. Frontier offers DISH where Verizon FiOS is not available
 

Frontier/Verizon FiOS

 

385 (Ultimate)

 

HBO, Starz, Showtime, Cinemax, The Movie Channel, Encore, IFC, Flix, Sundance, Epix

 

 

NO

Verizon offers more HD channels (90) than other providers. Some On Demand titles are free.
 

Mediacom

 

200+

(PerformancePak)

HBO, Starz, Showtime, Cinemax, Encore  

NO

6,000 hours of On Demand free, 75 HD channels
 

 

Optimum

 

415 (Gold)

 

HBO, Starz, Showtime, Cinemax, The Movie Channel, Encore,

 

 

NO

Many of the premium channels need to be added a la carte even if you get the top tier package.
 

RCN

 

285 (Signature)

HBO, Starz, Showtime, Cinemax, The Movie Channel, Encore Premier Movies & Entertainment Many of the premium channels are add-ons.
 

Time Warner Cable

 

200+ (Preferred)

 

HBO, Starz, Showtime, Cinemax, The Movie Channel, Epix

 

NO

Premium channels are not included even in top tier package.
 

Verizon FiOS TV

 

420 (Ultimate)

 

HBO, Starz, Showtime, Cinemax, Epix

 

NO

Verizon offers lots of channels and the most HD, but premium movie channels are pricey add-ons.
 

XFINITY by Comcast

 

220 (Preferred)

HBO, Starz, Showtime, Cinemax, The Movie Channel, Encore, IFC, Flix, Sundance, Epix  

NO

Premium channels need to be added to the preferred package.

 

While Verizon and Optimum may offer more channels in their top package, they aren’t including premium movie offerings like HBO or Starz. If HD is a priority, there’s little argument that you’ll get the most channels from Verizon FiOS. However, Verizon’s limited availability in most areas may be an issue. Check our provider tool to see who services your area. If Verizon isn’t an option, you may want to consider Mediacom’s Performance Pak, which offers 75 HD channels.

For the best value, consider a provider like Cox, Frontier/DISH, or AT&T DirecTV who either include premium channels in their top tier packages or offer add on movie packages that give you more cinema bang for your buck. Once you’ve bought your ticket to the premier movie offerings that cable can provide, you’ll never need to leave your couch to enjoy a cinema experience again.