At a Glance

Frontier Logo

Type of Service

Fiber

Type of Service

Fiber

Channel Count

400+ channels

Channel Count

350+ channels

Price

$75–$98 per month

Price

$70–$125 per month

Equipment Fees

$15 per month

Equipment Fees

First box included; additional boxes $9.99 per month

Installation Fee

Starts at $75

Installation Fee

None

Contract

None

Contract

2 years

Customer Satisfaction

2.98/5

Customer Satisfaction

2.66/5

Frontier Logo

Type of Service

Fiber

Channel Count

400+ channels

Price

$75–$98 per month

Equipment Fees

$15 per month

Installation Fee

Starts at $75

Contract

None

Customer Satisfaction

2.98/5

Type of Service

Fiber

Channel Count

350+ channels

Price

$70–$125 per month

Equipment Fees

First box included; additional boxes $9.99 per month

Installation Fee

None

Contract

2 years

Customer Satisfaction

2.66/5

Data effective 11/03/2017. Pricing and speeds are subject to change. Not all offers available in all areas.

Is Frontier or CenturyLink the right TV provider for you?

 

The Verdict

Choose Frontier FiOS TV for greater channel selection and no contract.

Frontier has a lot going for it. Not only does it offer more channels than CenturyLink, but it also gets you more channels for your money in equally priced packages. Plus, there’s no contract required, which is always a huge bonus if you want the freedom to switch providers or if you anticipate moving soon. The Frontier experience is sometimes marred by reliability issues and confusing branding, but overall Frontier makes a great choice for channel surfers and those who don’t want to be tied down.

Choose CenturyLink for a better DVR experience.

Although CenturyLink has a lower advertised channel count than Frontier, we think you’ll find everything you need here along with an excellent viewing experience made possible by the Prism Whole Home DVR. Select areas also get access to Gigabit internet, which we highly recommend. The company suffers from reliability concerns and a poor customer service reputation, which seems to come with the territory. But if you put a lot of miles on your DVR, CenturyLink is certainly the way to go.

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Customer Satisfaction Ratings

To see customer satisfaction scores for every major television provider, check out our 2017 Customer Satisfaction Survey.

Frontier

Overall Customer Rating

2.98 Stars (2.98 / 5)

Advantages

  • Extensive channel selection
  • Fast fiber network
  • Valuable bundle options
  • No required contract

Disadvantages

  • Limited availability of fiber networks
  • Poor customer satisfaction scores
  • Some reliability concerns

CenturyLink 

Overall Customer Rating

2.66 Stars (2.66 / 5)

Advantages

  • Fast fiber network
  • No installation fees
  • First DVR box included in monthly price
  • Gigabit internet in select areas

Disadvantages

  • Required contract
  • Limited fiber availability
  • Poor customer satisfaction scores

What’s with all the different Frontier TV options?

You may notice when browsing Frontier packages that there are a lot of different names associated with the company. Depending on where you live, you may see FiOS, Vantage, or DISH service offered. Here’s the deal: Frontier’s fiber service is called FiOS in markets where it purchased FiOS lines from another major provider. Everywhere else it’s called Vantage. Frontier also offers DISH service bundled with DSL internet and phone service in areas where it doesn’t have fiber lines.

In this comparison, we mostly focus on FiOS, but which service you’ll have access to depends on where you live, so be sure to enter your zip code below to see what plans are available in your area.

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Installation & Setup

Frontier FiOS

3.11 Stars (3.11 / 5)

Frontier does charge an installation fee, though that fee is waived when you bundle. Frontier also runs occasional promotions on standalone services where the fee is waived. Make sure to ask about any deals when signing up (this is good advice when dealing with any cable company, by the way). Judging by the reports we’ve seen, the installation process itself should be fairly uneventful, so you can expect smooth sailing on that front.

CenturyLink Prism

2.79 Stars (2.79 / 5)

Although you’ll get your service installed at no additional cost, which is especially nice in the TV industry, CenturyLink has developed a terrible reputation for technicians not keeping their appointments. We’re hoping a recent agreement between CenturyLink and workers unions may help resolve some of the issues plaguing the company, so don’t let this low score sway your decision too much.

Frontier Installation Fee: Starts at $75

CenturyLink Prism Installation Fee: None

Channels

Frontier FiOS

3.18 Stars (3.18 / 5)

Frontier’s channel offerings can vary heavily depending on where you live and which type of Frontier service is available to you. FiOS offers the best selection with over 400 channels on tap, while Vantage trails slightly behind. If you only have DISH available, you’ll get the fewest channels, though DISH generally scores better in customer satisfaction. All three service options have your favorite premium channels available, like HBO®, Cinemax®, and Showtime®.

CenturyLink Prism

2.72 Stars (2.72 / 5)

The overall channel count is a little lower with CenturyLink (around 350), and generally you’ll get a lower channel count at any given price point than with Frontier. That said, CenturyLink has all the popular channels covered, so we don’t necessarily think you’ll be unhappy with the selection, especially because you can also add HBO and the other premium channels if you like.

Frontier FiOS Channels: 400+

CenturyLink Channels: 350+

Reliability

Frontier FiOS

3.20 Stars (3.20 / 5)

Frontier has had some major issues with reliability since it began expanding into new FiOS zones. Unfortunately, a year later, the situation has not improved much. While the underlying technology is sound, the execution of the merger and some poor decisions on Frontier’s end have left the provider with quite a bit of work to do.

CenturyLink Prism

2.76 Stars (2.76 / 5)

If you were hoping for some good news after reading about Frontier’s issues—well, you’re going to be disappointed. CenturyLink also underwent some rapid expansion in recent years and seems to have outpaced its own ability to keep up. We’re hoping that the provider can catch up and get things under control soon, but considering the company was plagued by the same issues last year, we aren’t holding our breath.

Frontier Type of Service: Fiber

CenturyLink Type of Service: Fiber

Monthly Bill

Frontier FiOS

2.45 Stars (2.45 / 5)

Frontier’s prices are pretty reasonable. If you just want TV, you can get 315+ channels for $75.99 per month with the FiOS Video Extreme package. Bundles are also priced competitively—a Triple Play with 315+ channels, 30 Mbps internet, and unlimited nationwide calling is only $89.99 per month.

CenturyLink Prism

2.35 Stars (2.35 / 5)

CenturyLink is a bit more expensive, if you consider what you’re getting for your money. When it comes to standalone TV, $74.99 only gets you 200 channels with the Prism TV Complete package, while the $114.99 Double Play bundle nets 165 channels and 20 Mbps internet. Whether that selection will be enough for you will depend on what you watch. As long as you stick mostly to the mainstream channels, you should be fine.

Frontier Price: $75–$98 per month

CenturyLink Price: $70–$125 per month

Tech Support & Customer Service

Frontier FiOS

2.97 Stars (2.97 / 5)

Frontier’s rating here isn’t especially great, but in actual use, we didn’t have any major issues with either its support site or live chat. If you have to contact support, those two avenues are the ones we’d recommend trying first. As with any telecom company, we’d avoid calling the support line. That experience rarely seems to go well, regardless of which provider you’re dealing with. Additionally, the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI), which rates a wide variety of industries on customer service and satisfaction, gave Frontier a 60, with the industry average being 64, so that’s something to keep in mind.

CenturyLink Prism

2.66 Stars (2.66 / 5)

CenturyLink’s issues with reliability and overly rapid expansion have impacted its customer service scores as well—it got one of the lowest scores in our survey. The customer support site is actually pretty nice to use, though, with a prominent search function that managed to turn up answers to all the questions we tried. The ACSI doesn’t provide a rating for CenturyLink, but we’d say that it is mostly on par with Frontier, despite the lower ratings it received in the survey. Lastly, CenturyLink is sometimes evasive when it comes to asking deeper questions about products or pricing, so this issue might be a part of where this low score is stemming from.

Equipment

Frontier DVR

Simultaneous Recordings: 12
Storage: 75 hours of HD
Price: $15 per month
Approximate Dimensions: 12.6″ x 9.1″ x 2.6″
# of TVs per DVR: 3
Additional Features: Interactive media guide; pause and rewind live TV on any television

Check out our roundup of the best DVRs of 2017

centurylink prism whole home dvr

Simultaneous Recordings: 4
Storage: 91 hours of HD
Price: First box included; additional boxes are $9.99 per month
Approximate Dimensions: 9.8″ x  6.1″ x 1.6″
# of TVs per DVR: Each TV requires its own box
Additional Features: Watch up to four shows at once on the same television; App Center with news, info, and entertainment apps; personalized recommendations

Check out our full review of the Centurylink Prism Whole Home DVR

Mobile Apps

FrontierTV

Frontier TV App

Google Play Rating: 1.80 Stars (1.80 / 5)

Apple Store Rating1.70 Stars (1.70 / 5)

Channel Guide: Yes
Stream Live TV: Yes
Manage DVR: Yes
Remote Control Function: No
Additional Features: Set parental controls; watch on-demand videos

CenturyLink Prism TV

CenturyLink Prism TV App

Google Play Rating: 2.20 Stars (2.20 / 5)

Apple Store Rating1.30 Stars (1.30 / 5)

Channel Guide: Yes
Stream Live TV: Yes
Manage DVR: Yes
Remote Control Function: Yes
Additional Features: Easy sharing features, parental controls, search function for channel guide

Internet Service

Frontier Internet

Frontier’s internet packages offer a lot of variety. There are the fiber packages, which offer equal upload and download speeds and can get really fast—up to 1 Gbps in some areas. Then, in more rural areas that may not have access to fiber connections, Frontier offers DSL service that should get the job done, though it’ll be a lot slower than the fiber offerings. Pricing for internet-only packages is pretty competitive, starting at $19.99 for a broadband plan.

CenturyLink Internet

CenturyLink also offers both DSL and fiber internet options, and again, what’s available will depend on where you live. In general, if you can get Prism TV service, you should be able to get fiber internet, as well. Fiber packages run up to 1 Gbps download speeds, which is awesome. The gigabit plans are competitively priced, too, starting at just $85 per month for an internet-only package.

More About the Providers

Frontier

Frontier Communications is a United States–based telecommunications company. Frontier serves forty-five million people in twenty-nine states, with the largest service areas in Connecticut, West Virginia, and Oregon. Frontier is the fourth-largest DSL provider in the US.

CenturyLink

CenturyLink is the third-largest telecom in the US, serving fifty-nine million people in thirty-six states. CenturyLink provides DSL and fiber internet as well as fiber TV service.

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