The Hidden Costs of Spectrum
We’ve gone through Spectrum’s contracts with a fine-tooth comb to find every Spectrum hidden cost and fee.
Don’t get caught off guard by surprise charges and fees on your Spectrum cable bill. We’ll walk you through all charges you can expect from your Spectrum TV and Internet service—and how much those hidden fees will cost you.
The hidden costs of Spectrum TV plans
|Broadcast TV service charge||$16.45/mo.|
|TV receiver with built-in DVR and remote||$7.99/mo.|
|DVR service fee (1 DVR)||$4.99/mo.|
|DVR service package (2–4 DVRs)||$9.99/mo.|
|Late payment fee||$8.95|
Data as of 10/30/2020. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.
Spectrum TV promotional cost: $44.99–$89.99/mo.*
Spectrum offers pretty straightforward pricing for its cable TV packages. If you go for just TV, with no bundles, you’ll pay the following prices:
- Spectrum TV Select: $44.99/mo. for first 12 mos.
- Spectrum TV Silver: $74.99/mo. for first 12 mos.
- Spectrum TV Gold: $94.99/mo. for first 12 mos.
Of course, these package prices don’t include all the little Spectrum fees (listed in the table above) that increase the total cost of your bill. Still, these will be the base prices your bill is built on, so it’s worth leading with them.
Spectrum TV price increases after promo period: up to $35/mo.
Spectrum bundle prices increase by $10 to $35 per month after the 12-month promo period ends. How much of an increase you’ll see depends on which Spectrum services you bundle—cable TV prices go up $25 per month and phone prices go up $10 per month.
However, there’s no contract, so there’s nothing stopping you from calling and selecting a new promotion.
But many of Spectrum’s promotions apply only if you haven’t been a Spectrum customer for 30 days, so you may want to check out other options in your area. If you put in your zip code below, we’ll show you the other cable providers near you:
Spectrum TV taxes and fees: vary by package and area
“Taxes and fees” is the nebulous category of additional charges you may see mentioned in the fine print of your TV package. A lot of these are regulatory fees imposed on providers by the federal government, which are then passed onto customers. These fees sometimes vary by region, but there are a few that are common across the country.
So basically all providers charge these fees—there’s really no getting around it. What catches most people off guard is that they are almost never included in the advertised price for a plan, so when you get your first bill, the number may not match your expectations.
One of the most common regulatory fees is the Broadcast TV Fee, which is $16.45 per month with Spectrum. Another common fee is the Regional Sports Fee, though Spectrum customers appear to be off the hook for this one.
Here’s a very thorough rundown from Spectrum on what each fee is and why you might see it.
Spectrum TV installation fee: $49.99 onetime charge
At $49.99, Spectrum’s installation fee is one of the more reasonable ones we’ve seen. This is the onetime fee for when a professional comes out and sets up your service for you.
Spectrum also offers a self-install kit, and unlike some other providers (looking at you, Xfinity), it doesn’t charge for it. Being a cable TV service, the self-install is pretty simple, so we’d recommend most people go that route.
Spectrum TV equipment fees: $7.99/mo. for HD-Box, up to $9.99/mo. for DVR service—or $5.00/mo. for cloud DVR
Spectrum charges $7.99 per month for each HD-Box (TV receiver). You can activate the built-in DVR in one HD-Box with a $4.99 per month fee, or pay a flat $9.99 per month for DVR service in two or more TV receivers.
While equipment fees can be a real bummer, it’s rare to see this kind of deal on DVR service. But Spectrum is going one step further—a new cloud DVR that replaces its old HD-Box and DVR.
With Spectrum’s cloud DVR, you can record up to 100 shows and keep them for up to a full year. All you have to do to watch them is pull up the Spectrum TV app on your streaming device. You can snag this DVR included for a year on some plans, but the normal price is only $5 per month. That’s a steal.
Spectrum TV premium channel fees: up to $15.00/mo. per channel
Spectrum offers a wide variety of premium channels like HBO, SHOWTIME, CINEMAX, and STARZ. These channels can be added to any package for an additional $9.99–$15.00 per channel, per month.
Select premium channels are also included in higher-tier Spectrum packages:
- Spectrum TV Silver: Includes HBO, CINEMAX, SHOWTIME, and NFL Network
- Spectrum TV Gold: Includes HBO, CINEMAX, SHOWTIME, TMC, STARZ, STARZ ENCORE, and NFL Network
If you know you’ll want some of these channels, it’s probably worth springing for either Spectrum TV Silver or Spectrum TV Gold to get them, rather than adding the channels à la carte to another package.
Spectrum TV late payment fee: $8.95 per missed payment
Most cable companies charge a late payment fee, and Spectrum is no exception. It does offer an unusually long grace period, though—you get thirty days after your due date to pay your bill. After that period, you’ll be assessed a late fee of $8.95.
Spectrum TV cancellation and early termination fees: none
Spectrum is a contract free provider, meaning none of its packages require service agreements or commitments. That also means you won’t find any Spectrum fees for cancelling service, so you’re free to come and go as you please.
Our recommended Spectrum TV package
Our pick for the best balance of features and price from Spectrum is Spectrum TV Silver. This package gets you 175+ channels—including HBO and SHOWTIME—for $69.99 per month. We feel it’s the best bang for your buck.
The hidden costs of Spectrum Internet plans
|Modem equipment rental||Included|
|Home WiFi equipment (modem/WiFi router)||$5.00/mo.|
|Late payment fee||$8.95|
|Data overage fee||None|
Data as of 04/29/2020. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.
What is Spectrum’s Internet-only price?
Like its cable packages, Spectrum has three internet packages, which are available at the following prices:
- Spectrum Internet®: 100 Mbps for $49.99/mo. for the first 12 mos.
- Spectrum Internet® Ultra: 400 Mbps for $69.99/mo. for the first 12 mos.
- Spectrum Internet® GIG: 1,000 Mbps for $109.99/mo. for the first 12 mos.
Be aware that Spectrum’s prices go up after the two-year promotional period, after which your bill will increase. We recommend you set a reminder on your digital calendar for 12 months out to call and ask for a discount before your prices go up.
Also, Spectrum’s highest Internet speeds may not be available in all areas, because some of its Internet lines might be a little dated. To see what Internet service providers (ISPs) are available in your area—and what their Internet speeds are—enter your zip code below:
Spectrum Internet taxes and fees: varies by package and area
Spectrum Internet is pretty light on recurring fees. If you have an Internet-only plan, you’ll see the plan itself and a router rental if you opt for Spectrum’s home WiFi service (or you could just buy your own router). If you add TV service, you’ll see those fees as well, including the Broadcast TV Fee and various federal regulatory fees.
Spectrum Internet installation fees: $49.99 for professional installation, $9.99 for self-installation
Spectrum charges the same $49.99 installation fee for Internet-only service and bundles as it does for TV. But if you’re just getting Spectrum Internet, you can save cash with the $9.99 self-installation kit.
Spectrum Internet equipment fee: cable modem included, $5/mo. for WiFi router
Spectrum doesn’t charge for its essential cable modem device. But if you want WiFi (who doesn’t?) you can rent a Spectrum router for $5 per month—unless you’re on the Spectrum Internet GIG plan, which includes a WiFi router for no extra cost.
And those aren’t the only ways to get home WiFi. You can buy your own WiFi router for around a hundred bucks, which is a great way to save cash in the long run.
Spectrum Internet late payment fee: $8.95 per missed payment
If you miss paying your internet bill, Spectrum gives you a 30-day grace period to pay before incurring a late fee. The fee is $8.95—not too bad. And the grace period gives you plenty of time to correct the issue.
Spectrum Internet cancellation and early termination fees: none
Since Spectrum is a contract-free provider, there are no cancellation fees or early termination fees (ETFs) to worry about. Internet service is on a month-to-month basis, and if you decide you want to try another internet service provider, all you need to do is cancel Spectrum Internet and return any rented equipment.
Spectrum Internet data overage fees: none
Many providers have a data cap on internet service, after which they charge overage fees for additional use. Not Spectrum Internet—there’s no data limit and no overage fee. Customers are free to stream, download, and game to their heart’s content.
Our final take
Hopefully seeing everything laid out like this helps ease any fee-related fears you may have had. The fees seem like a lot, but the reality is it’s just par for the course with TV providers. And knowing what to expect on your bill should give you some peace of mind so you can kick back and enjoy your Spectrum service stress-free.
Enter your zip code to see available Spectrum packages near you.
*All prices and offers are current as of publication and subject to change.
Spectrum hidden costs FAQ
What is the best low-cost Spectrum Internet and TV bundle?
Our pick for the best-value Spectrum bundle is the Select Double Play. This package offers 125+ channels and up to 200 Mbps (wireless speeds may vary) Internet download speeds for $89.98 per month. This plan is well worth the money, especially considering the unlimited Internet use and lack of a contract.
How can I get a Spectrum discount?
Spectrum offers discounts for people in qualifying assistance programs. Recipients of the National School Lunch Program (NSLP), Community Eligibility Provision (CEP), and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) can apply for a 30 Mbps internet plan that costs $14.99 per month.
Do I have to pay more to watch Spectrum shows on the go?
How much is HBO on Spectrum?
HBO Max™ costs an additional $15 per month with Spectrum TV Select. However, HBO Max™ comes included with Spectrum TV Silver and Spectrum TV Gold. Yay, free stuff!
Does Spectrum have contracts?
Spectrum doesn’t have annual contracts—you can leave your Spectrum service whenever you need to.
How much does Spectrum price increase after 12 months?
After the first 12 months, Spectrum TV increases by $29 per month, Internet by $25 per month, and phone by $10 per month.
How much is Spectrum Internet after 12 months?
After 12 months, your Spectrum Internet bill increases to the normal prevailing rate. Right now, the normal prevailing rate is $25 more per month. That raises Spectrum Internet from $49.99 to $74.99 a month, Spectrum Internet Ultra from $69.99 to $94.99 a month, and Spectrum Internet Gig from $109.99 to $134.99 a month.
Does Spectrum charge for a modem?
Spectrum’s modem comes included with your internet plan, but if you want Spectrum to provide WiFi service, you’ll need to pay $5 more a month. Or you can buy a WiFi router instead.
Spectrum TV® Silver: Limited time offer; subject to change; valid to qualified residential customers who have not subscribed to any services within the previous 30 days and who have no outstanding obligation to Charter. Spectrum TV® Silver promotion price is $74.99/mo; standard rates apply after yr 1. Taxes, fees and surcharges (broadcast surcharge up to $16.45/mo) extra and subject to change during and after the promotional period; installation/network activation, equipment and additional services are extra. General Terms: TV: TV equipment required; charges may apply. Channel and HD programming availability based on level of service. Account credentials may be required to stream some TV content online. Services subject to all applicable service terms and conditions, subject to change. Services not available in all areas. Restrictions apply. Enter your address to determine availability.
Spectrum TV® Gold: Limited time offer; subject to change; valid to qualified residential customers who have not subscribed to any services within the previous 30 days and who have no outstanding obligation to Charter. Spectrum TV® Gold promotion price is $94.99/mo; standard rates apply after yr 1. Taxes, fees and surcharges (broadcast surcharge up to $16.45/mo) extra and subject to change during and after the promotional period; installation/network activation, equipment and additional services are extra. General Terms: TV: TV equipment required; charges may apply. Channel and HD programming availability based on level of service. Account credentials may be required to stream some TV content online. Services subject to all applicable service terms and conditions, subject to change. Services not available in all areas. Restrictions apply. Enter your address to determine availability.
°Speed based on wired connection. Available Internet speeds may vary by address. Gig capable modem required for Gig speed. For a list of Gig capable modems, visit Spectrum.net/modem.