17 December, 2018 | Posted by: Kyle Weckerly
Category: Product Reviews, Streaming | No Comments
There’s a good chance you didn’t know this, but Spectrum (aka Charter Communications) launched their tv streaming service called Spectrum TV Stream and Spectrum TV Choice for internet only and customer who have an internet and home phone bundle.
The service was in market testing to certain customers in certain areas of the United States earlier in 2018. Now, the new streaming service is available for customers who have an existing internet connection with Spectrum. So, the service isn’t open for everyone, unfortunately.
We’ve already covered Spectrum’s internet plans in a previous post, but if you’re not familiar with them, Spectrum (previously Time Warner Cable) offers internet only plans with download speeds of up to 100 Mbps, as well as double play and triple play (internet, tv, and phone) plans.
For fans of streaming media services like Hulu Plus, YouTube TV, and DirecTV Now, Spectrum’s service will seem familiar, but there are quite a few differences.
The first thing you’ll notice if you try to do your own research is that information is very hard to come by. That’s because this is essentially a closed service that is only open to existing Spectrum customers. Think of this as Spectrum’s ‘a la carte’ plan rather than a standalone streaming service.
As for channel lineups, Spectrum has a wide array of broadcast networks for you to choose from. Popular networks like Freeform, A&E, FX, and other networks are available in their official channel lineup according to their support article over Spectrum Stream.
Popular sports and news channels like ESPN, Fox Sports 1, and NBC Sports Network are also included in their streaming package.
For diehard sports fans, you’re going to be disappointed as regional sports channels like regional Fox Sports networks, the Big Ten Network, and league-specific channels like NBA TV and the MLB Network are missing from the standard lineup. If you’re looking to have these channels, you might be better off sticking with Spectrum’s TV service.
According to the LA Times, Spectrum TV Stream starts at $25 a month (there was no official price on Spectrum’s site, you’ll have to contact them to get an official quote).
The good thing that most cord cutters will love is that there is no need for a cable box unless you want DVR functionality. In that case, you’ll have to add one for an extra $20 a month. The $25 price tag doesn’t seem so cheap if you add on premium channels and a cable box to your plan. Keep in mind, all these charges are added on to your existing Spectrum Internet plan.
The $25 price tag is also for an intro period of the first two years of service. Once the promo period is up, the price jumps up to $30 a month. The price of Spectrum’s streaming service and internet plan can quickly surpass $100 a month, especially if you value the ability to record live TV and if you love premium channels like HBO and Showtime.
When compared to other streaming services like DirecTV Now, Hulu Plus, and YouTube TV, Spectrum’s TV Stream isn’t very ideal, especially since there’s no “official” streaming package that they’re advertising.
Another big drawback of Spectrum’s streaming service is that you can only watch the streaming service from your Spectrum home wifi or internet connection. Meaning, you can’t (or couldn’t) watch this on the go or at a Starbucks. At that point, what’s the purpose in having a streaming service if you can’t take it with you?
If you’re looking for a cheap way to add on TV service and you’re okay with the limited use of it, then Spectrum’s TV Stream might be the right choice for you, especially if you get all your entertainment from Netflix or Youtube Premium. That’s essentially who Spectrum was targeting when this service was launched.
Like their internet plans, there’s no early termination fees or long-term contracts, so you can sign up and pay as you go.
If you’re looking for something that is going to replace your cable package, then this isn’t the product for you (at least not now). The channel lineup isn’t something to go crazy over and it’s limited access to sports and news channels, as well as other popular networks, make this streaming service less than ideal. Plus, you still have to get internet service from Spectrum to even qualify for the streaming service.
If you’re looking to switch to Spectrum internet to take advantage of their TV Stream deal, contact us today or search your zip code and see if spectrum offers are in your area!