Cable plans come in all shapes and sizes. But it’s not just the plans and channel offerings that vary from company to company. The equipment that each company offers — and how and when it’s offered — can differ drastically. Some companies allow subscribers to pick the receiver they want, while others require use of predetermined set-top boxes. Some services will provide device upgrades for an increased monthly cost, and others allow subscribers to use independently purchased equipment. It’s great to have a wide range of choices, but the differences between various plans and companies can be quite confusing.
This guide outlines the basic equipment that comes with a few major cable companies.
XFINITY includes set-top box rental fees with cable TV plans, though individual equipment costs will vary based on region. XFINITY provides these boxes — including a standard universal remote — for most new subscription packages, or they can be ordered by contacting XFINITY directly.
Customers also have the option to upgrade to the X1 Entertainment Operating System®, a more feature-rich ecosystem. The set-top box monthly rental fees don’t increase with the upgrade, and certain X1 DVR™ packages may include one of XFINITY’s new voice remotes.
Internet subscribers can rent cable modems directly from XFINITY for costs of up to $10 in rental fees per month. Alternately, the company has released a list of compatible cable modems, allowing users to purchase their own modem if they’d rather not rent.
- Time Warner Cable®
Time Warner Cable offers plenty of receiver options for a variety of customer needs. While each plan offers different standard equipment packages, TWC also has premium equipment that scales in price and capability.
Several plans come bundled with a basic HD receiver or Roku, while others require the customer to select from the company’s set receiver options. All devices require a monthly fee that can cost anywhere from $3 to $25 per month. Customers can refer to their specific plans to see if TV equipment is included. Each set-top box also comes with its own remote, and extra remotes can be purchased online.
TWC charges a $10 per month fee for cable Internet modem leases, though subscribers are also welcome to purchase their own service-compatible modem instead.
Cox provides customers with a choice between four different set-top boxes, including basic HD boxes and DVR receivers. Each system comes with its own remote.
All Cox receivers are offered at $8.50 per month, plus additional fees for DVR services on applicable models. Consumers who want to use their own receiver can lease a CableCARD™ from the company at $2 per month.
For Cox cable Internet subscribers, modems are available for rental. The two offered devices cost $7 to $10 per month to lease, or they can be purchased outright for $130 to $150.
- Charter Spectrum
Charter Spectrum offers a wide variety of set-top boxes and remotes for all cable subscriptions. The rental cost is around $7 per month for a standard box, though the company also allows users to lease CableCARDs at $2 per month.
Charter does provide modems at no additional charge for subscribers who opt for qualifying service tiers. The company has also posted a list of compatible modems that users can purchase independently
Consumers should keep in mind that not all bundles or equipment deals are offered in all locations. Those interested in finding the right cable TV or Internet plan should reach out to local providers, or use an online tool to learn more about plans in their area.
*Pricing and speeds are current as of writing. Pricing and speeds are subject to change. Not all offers available in all areas.