How to Choose the Best Cable Provider
Did you recently move to a new home?
If yes, you might need to look for a new cable provider. Even if you didn’t, it might be the right time to upgrade! Who doesn’t want to watch the next big boxing match or HBO show in high-quality 4K resolution?
That said, there are so many providers out there. How do you know which is the best cable provider? Which one gives the channels you love and for a reasonable price?
Don’t worry, we’ll help you figure this out. Read our guide below to discover how you can find the best providers in town:
Perhaps the first thing you should consider is availability. After all, what’s the point of hiring for installation if your area can’t avail of their services?
Can the cable provider even reach your area? If they do, how good is the reception? If you live pretty far, how much do you have to pay for the installation, extra cable lines, and will there be a drop in quality?
Availability can make or break your decision to stick with a certain provider. If they can’t access your area, you’ll need to look for providers that can. It mostly boils down to whether or not they have cable boxes nearby since that’s where they connect your home to the main lines.
Is there a cable provider you like but their service isn’t that amazing in your area? Don’t lose all hope yet. You can use an antenna preamplifier to strengthen the signal and get better reception.
2. Channels You Want
Listed down all the cable providers that can access your place? Great! The next step is to go through all the channels you want and check if they offer these channels in their cable plans.
Do you need HBO, ESPN, the Disney Channel, National Geographic, the History Channel and CBS? Some cable providers lock those behind more expensive plans since those are all high-demand channels. The cheaper plans might only offer channels you normally don’t watch or know about.
This can complicate the process.
Look for the cheapest plan that offers all the channels you want. You also need to decide if you’re satisfied with the regular quality or if you need cable channels presented in full 1080p or 4K resolution.
Don’t forget to look at Pay-Per-View options either. You might want to check if the cable provider allows for PPV and if they add extra fees on top of the price for the show.
3. Bundle Options
Do you have an internet connection already? If you do, then you can skip this section and go straight into the next few tips. If you don’t have access to the Internet at home, then you might want to ask your potential TV provider if they offer a bundle.
Some cable providers also include Internet access. This system uses the same cable line that provides channels to your TV to connect you to the Internet. Cable and Internet access run on the same line but on different frequencies, which is why it’s fine to use both at the same time.
Keep in mind that cable Internet is only about as fast as a DSL connection, which uses a phone line. This means you can get anywhere from 20 Mbps to 100 Mbps.
Some factors can slow it down.
The most important thing to look out for is the data cap. You might go over the monthly limit without realizing it and this slows your Internet speed to a snail’s pace. Increasing the monthly cap significantly increases how much you’ll pay so always keep that in mind.
4. Conduct a Local Poll
Don’t hire the first cable provider you see. Make it a point to get reviews. We’ll tackle online reviews in a bit but first, you’ll want to go around on foot and get the opinions of your neighbors.
It’s important to ask your immediate neighbors. Which cable providers do they use and how much do they pay? What kind of channels and service do they get for that amount and is the reception decent enough to watch high-quality shows?
Conduct a poll if you can. Simply list down all the cable providers you have in mind and then let people in your neighborhood check off which ones they use. It’s also a good idea to let participants write down which channels they prioritized in their plans, why they chose that provider, and how much they pay.
This can help you quickly determine which cable provider is the most reliable and most popular in the area. You’ll also be able to check which cable providers can’t reach your house or if you’ll need to pay extra for long cable connections.
Now let’s dive into online reviews. Remember: these reviews come from people outside your neighborhood so their experience could differ from yours. The point of reading online reviews is to gauge how well their service is and to look for instances of hidden fees or other dubious practices.
Let’s start with hidden fees. Some providers might state they only bill $24 a month for the lowest plan but when you get your bill it reads $35 or more. Upon checking, you might see things nobody explained about like miscellaneous fees, installation fees, and service charges.
If they’re going to charge you all these fees, make sure they say it before you ever sign up for their service. Reading reviews can help you discover if a cable provider practices bad habits like this.
Reading reviews can also give insight into the company’s payment methods and options. Can you pay with cash, post-dated checks, online methods, or mobile payments? Reviews can reveal details like these.
Some reviews can also unveil the behavior of the employees. You might discover cable providers with sexually offensive cable installers or maintenance repairmen.
6. Gauge Their Customer Service
Found a cable provider that checks all your needs and demands? Do they have positive reviews and do your neighbors subscribe to them too?
That’s all good but don’t sign up yet!
The next step is to gauge their customer service. There are two phases to this: you’ll want to know how the company’s representatives are on the phone and then their actual service in terms of repairs and maintenance.
Call the provider’s customer service.
Gauge how friendly and approachable the representative is. Also, make sure to check if the representative knows the details of their service.
Check if they’re polite and if they can provide as much help as possible without dumping too much workload on your end. One of the worst customer service scenarios is when they force you to do all the work or to call a different number.
7. Look for Deals
Don’t settle for the full price yet! If you can, look for promo deals. You might be able to get free installation or a limited discount on certain monthly plans if you sign up at the right time.
Other cable providers provide deals if you avail of certain bundles. Say for example you want to sign up for a $24 cable plan. They might also offer an Internet plan for $65 but they could slash these prices down to a total of $75 if you avail of both.
You might want to look online for verified discount vouchers too. These coupons could grant you a discount for your first year of cable or the installation fees.
Some cable providers also offer discounts if you avail of their service thanks to a personal reference. This is another reason to ask your neighbors about the cable providers they use. You might find a discount waiting for you!
Of course, at the end of the day, you have to consider your budget.
Always consider how much the cable provider charges and check if it fits your spending limit per month. This can narrow down your list of providers. You’ll have to slash out all the companies that are outside your monthly budget.
Make sure you look at cable plans at their full, regular price. Don’t sign up for a cable plan simply because it’s currently discounted. The discounted price might fit your budget now but when that promo ends, you’ll suddenly have to pay the full price each month.
Find the Best Cable Provider Today!
Looking for the best cable provider isn’t too difficult. You simply have to put in the time to conduct some research and ask around. Double-checking their services, fees, and reviews can help guarantee you get the channels you want for the price you can afford.
Paying the right cable provider for the best plan is only the start, however. We did mention Internet bundles above too. Why not read our other guides here and discover how you can find the best bundles and what details you should look out for?