Charter Spectrum is a telecom company with very wide availability across the U.S., currently an option for customers across 41 states. Outside of their internet and phone services they also provide TV, boasting several packages with a large variety of HD content as well as convenient contract and bundling options. While these benefits make their TV service appealing, there are some drawbacks that make Charter Spectrum a mixed bag as a television provider.
Pricing and Packages
Spectrum’s options on channels and packages hold up well, especially when it comes to the promotions they offer and your options for bundling several of their services together, like TV along with phone and internet in their Triply Play Select plan. Their TV packages begin with a good amount of channel options including premium movie networks, although package availability may vary based on location.
Spectrum offers a very affordable basic option in their TV Choice package, but the available channels and DVR usage with that are very limited. Their packages increase incrementally from there, with their Select, Silver and Gold options increasing the channels available to over 125, over 175 and over 200, respectively.
The higher tier packages include some great premium movie channels, although you can get those channels separately as well as with the Premium Pack (most cost between $5.99 and $15.00 per month for each channel). However channel availability is dependent upon your location, so your own content options may decrease or even increase from the numbers listed above based on your address.
There isn’t a lot of Information available on Spectrum’s DVR. The TV Choice plan gives you a very limited cloud DVR solution, and other packages include a unit either from Motorola or Cisco/Scientific Atlantic. The available ~21 hours of HD content that can be recorded (with only 2 simultaneous recordings) pale in comparison to other TV providers such as DISH, whose Hopper 3 lets you record around 500 hours of HD programming with up to 16 shows at once.
The DVR will cost you $12.99 per month, and the receiver needed for every TV will cost $6.99 each. Again, the cost and value compared to rival TV providers does not hold up in Spectrum’s favor here.
Features and Benefits
The Spectrum TV app is a nice feature of the service included at no extra charge. You can choose from 170 live channels at home or 60 on-the-go to browse, watch and schedule recording on just about any device or tablet.
But the flexibility of some of Spectrum TV’s terms are some of its biggest benefits. As mentioned previously, the service does not require a contract, so if you need to switch out from Spectrum, you won’t have to worry about fees or penalties. If you’re unhappy with the service or just have a fluid living situation, this can make Spectrum a favored choice.
Not only that, but you can cancel within 30 days of signing up, so if you’re unsatisfied with their service you can get your money back. And lastly, if you want to switch to Spectrum but are locked into a contract with another provider, Spectrum will cover termination fees and a contract buyout from your current servicer for up to $500 (however you do need to qualify for the Double Play or Triple Play packages to receive this benefit).
Charter Spectrum has several options for customers to reach them:
- The Ask Spectrum virtual assistant helps with simple issues. After providing your ZIP code you can write in your questions. However if the chatbot doesn’t resolve your problem, the issue will be escalated to a customer support agent.
- Users can call customer support directly: (833) 267-6094.
- Support is also available at Spectrum’s in-store location.
- Spectrum actively posts product and service updates on social media, so following them on Twitter (@Ask_Spectrum) would be good if you’re a customer.
These resources are very helpful, although the feedback on their customer service is rated to be mixed overall. User ratings of their customer service, reliability and installation process are lower than average across most of their markets. Users along the West coast tend to rate the customer service higher however, but markets in the East, North and South markets see much lower customer satisfaction ratings.
Ways to Save on Charter Spectrum TV
You can’t necessarily avoid overpaying for service if you want to sign up with Charter Spectrum, but it’s at least helpful to know what kind of fees to expect, because they do add up.
Beyond the $12.99 per month you’ll be paying for the DVR, you’ll also need a cable box for every TV you hook up (which runs $6.99/month each). So you’ll be paying a minimum of $20 a month just for those items, not to mention the general package costs you’ll be paying too. Also if you’re subscribing to other Spectrum services like their internet, then you’ll be paying monthly for their router equipment fees too, along with the cost of an internet plan.
Make sure you know what you’ll be getting into when signing up for Charter Spectrum. Even when utilizing some of their helpful promotions or bundles, the up-front fees add up and hard some of the value of their services. It is worth noting, however, that premium movie channels are available in lower-tier packages with Spectrum than they are with most competitors, which is a definite advantage.
The ultimate value of a Charter Spectrum TV package will come down to the service available for your specific location and how important flexibility is to you. If your address has more channels available to it through Spectrum and the no-contract, 30-day money-back freedom are important factors for you, you wouldn’t risk much in giving Charter Spectrum a try.
But the value of some of their packages don’t hold up to competitors like DISH, DirecTV or Xfinity. Also their customer service is also roundly more criticized than those other providers, and the DVR hardware offered by Charter Spectrum is mediocre at best. So it’s worth considering depending on your individual situation, but don’t be surprised if another TV provider serves you better in the long run.