A cable subscription is a gold mine of entertainment these days, with hundreds of channels to choose from. Unfortunately, cable bills often feel more like land mines than gold mines, thanks to all the regulatory fees and taxes involved in bringing that entertainment to all of us.

To help clear up any confusion and avoid surprises, we’ll walk you through all the various charges and fees you might see on your Spectrum bill and explain the what and why of each.

About Spectrum, Charter, Time Warner Cable, and Brighthouse Networks

Just a quick note before we dive in: as you look at Spectrum packages, you may see mentions of Charter, Time Warner Cable, or Brighthouse Networks, depending on where you live. That’s because Spectrum is the result of a merger between these three cable companies.

Big mergers take time, and Spectrum is still working out some branding consistency issues. Just be aware that these are all the same company now, and you’ll avoid any confusion.

The Hidden Costs of Spectrum TV Plans

 

Summary of Spectrum TV Fees

FeeAmountDetails
Broadcast TV Fee$8.85 per monthDetails
Professional Installation$49.99Details
Reconnection Fee$4.99N/A
DVR Equipment Rental$11.99 per monthDetails
DVR Service Package (up to 4 DVRs) Up to $19.99 per monthDetails
DVR Service Fee (1 DVR)$12.99 per monthN/A
HBO®, STARZ®, SHOWTIME®, and Cinemax® $15.00 each per monthDetails
Late Payment Fee$8.95Details
FeeBroadcast TV Fee
Amount$8.85 per month
DetailsDetails
FeeProfessional Installation
Amount$49.99
DetailsDetails
FeeReconnection Fee
Amount$4.99
DetailsN/A
FeeDVR Equipment Rental
Amount$11.99 per month
DetailsDetails
FeeDVR Service Package (up to 4 DVRs)
Amount Up to $19.99 per month
DetailsDetails
FeeDVR Service Fee (1 DVR)
Amount$12.99 per month
DetailsN/A
FeeHBO®, STARZ®, SHOWTIME®, and Cinemax®
Amount$15.00 each per month
DetailsDetails
FeeLate Payment Fee
Amount$8.95
DetailsDetails

Spectrum TV Promotional Cost: $64.99–$104.99 per month

Spectrum offers pretty straightforward pricing for its TV packages. If you go for just TV, with no bundles, you’ll pay the following prices:

Of course, these package prices don’t include all the little taxes and fees that really balloon your bill. Still, these will be the base prices your bill is built on, so it’s worth leading with them.

Price Increase after Promo Period Ends: up to $35.00

Spectrum bundle prices increase by $10.00–$35.00 per month after the 12-month promo period ends. How much of an increase you’ll see depends on which services you bundle—TV prices go up $25.00 per month, and phone prices go up $10.00 per month.

Of course, since there’s no contract, there’s nothing stopping you from calling and selecting a new promotion.

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.

All providers charge these—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 expectations.

One of the most common regulatory fees is the Broadcast TV Fee, which is $8.85 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.

Installation Fees: $49.99 

At $49.99, Spectrum’s installation fee is one of the more reasonable ones we’ve seen. This is the one-time fee you’ll see when you have a professional come out and set 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 service, the self-install is pretty simple, so we’d recommend most people go that route.

Equipment Fees: $11.99 for DVR equipment, up to $19.99 for DVR service

Spectrum charges $11.99 per month for its DVR. At first glance, that seems pretty reasonable—until you notice the additional charge for a DVR Service Fee. That’ll run you another $12.99–$19.99 per month, depending on how many boxes you need.

Considering how basic the Spectrum DVR is, the fees around it are pretty unfortunate. They’re fairly standard practice for cable companies, though, so we’re not exactly surprised.

Premium Channel Fees: $15.00 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 $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, NFL Network, and NFL Redzone

If you know you’ll want some of these channels, it’s probably worth springing for either TV Silver or TV Gold to get them, rather than adding the channels à la carte to another package.

Late Payment Fees: $8.95

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.

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 fees for cancelling service, so you’re free to come and go as you please.

Cheapest Spectrum Package We Recommend

Our pick for the best balance of features and price from Spectrum is Spectrum TV Silver. This package gets you 175+ channels, including HBO, Cinemax, and SHOWTIME, for $84.99 per month. We feel it’s the best bang for your buck.

The Hidden Costs of Xfinity Internet Plans

 

Summary of Spectrum Internet Fees

FeeAmountDetails
Professional Installation$49.99Details
Wi-Fi Activation Fee$9.99N/A
Reconnection Fee$4.99N/A
Internet Equipment RentalIncludedDetails
Late Payment Fee$8.95Details
Data Overage FeeNoneDetails
FeeProfessional Installation
Amount$49.99
DetailsDetails
FeeWi-Fi Activation Fee
Amount$9.99
DetailsN/A
FeeReconnection Fee
Amount$4.99
DetailsN/A
FeeInternet Equipment Rental
AmountIncluded
DetailsDetails
FeeLate Payment Fee
Amount$8.95
DetailsDetails
FeeData Overage Fee
AmountNone
DetailsDetails

Spectrum Internet Promotional Cost: $44.99 per month

Spectrum internet packages are as simple as it gets: there’s one plan, with a single price of $44.99 per month for up to 100 Mbps.

The actual speed you’ll have available depends on where you’re located and what infrastructure Spectrum has available in that area—since Spectrum is a combination of what used to be three different networks, there is a pretty wide variance in speeds.

To see what speeds are available in your area, enter your zip code below:

Taxes and Fees: Varies by package

Spectrum Internet is pretty light on recurring fees. In fact, if you have an internet-only plan, the only thing you should see on your bill—other than the plan itself—are required state and federal taxes. If you add TV service, you’ll see those fees as well, including the Broadcast TV Fee and various federal regulatory fees.

Installation Fees: $49.99

Spectrum charges the same $49.99 installation fee for internet-only service and bundles as it does for TV. The main difference is that there is an additional, separate $9.99 charge for Wi-Fi activation when you have internet service set up. As with TV, you can opt for a self-install kit to avoid the fee (and the hassle of an appointment too).

Equipment Fees: Included in price

Unlike Spectrum TV, there is no additional charge for Spectrum internet equipment.

You can still use your own modem or router, but there’s no financial incentive to do so. If you do decide to go that route, you may see performance gains depending on the equipment, and it will also prevent you from incurring an unreturned equipment fee if you cancel service and forget about your old gear.

The price of unreturned equipment fees depends on what and how much equipment you’ve rented, so it will change depending on your situation.

Late Payment Fees: $8.95

If you miss paying your bill, Spectrum gives you a thirty-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.

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. Service is on a month-to-month basis, and if you decide you want to try another provider, all you need to do is cancel service and return any rented equipment.

Data Overage Fees: None

 Many providers have a data cap on internet service, after which they charge overage fees for additional use. Not Spectrum—there’s no data limit and no overage fee. Users are free to stream, download, and game to their heart’s content.

Cheapest Spectrum Internet and TV Bundle We Recommend

Our pick for the best-value Spectrum bundle is the Silver Triple Play. This package offers 175+ channels, up to 100 Mbps internet, and unlimited calling for $109.97. This plan is well worth the money, especially considering the lack of contract and unlimited internet use.

Hopefully seeing everything laid out like this helps ease any fee-related fears you may have had. It seems like a lot, but like we said, it’s just par for the course with TV providers. Knowing what to expect on your bill should give you some peace of mind so you can kick back and enjoy your new cable 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.