Spectrum Enters the Broadcast Arena
There’s a good chance you didn’t know this, but Spectrum (aka Charter Communications) has launched its exclusive Spectrum TV Stream and Spectrum TV Choice online streaming service with customers with plenty of internet and home access.
The service was testing the market for specific customers in certain areas of the United States in early 2018. Now, a new streaming service is available for customers with an existing Internet connection with Spectrum. Therefore, the app is not open to everyone, unfortunately.
We’ve already covered Spectrum’s online plans in a previous post, but if you’re not familiar with them, Spectrum (formerly Time Warner Cable) offers Internet-only strategies with download speeds of up to 1000 Mbps, as well as dual triple play (internet, tv, and phone) plans.
For fans of media streaming services such as Hulu Plus, YouTube TV, and DirecTV Now, Spectrum’s service will look normal, but there is a slight difference.
Update: Since this article was originally written for Spectrum they finally launched their Spectrum streaming program. This app gives you access to a whole list of content from your phone including 50,000 TV shows and movies. The coolest part about this app is that it connects to other devices in your home including Roku, Xbox One and Samsung Smart TV among others.
What Makes the Spectrum TV Stream Unique?
The first thing you will notice when trying to do your research is that it is very difficult to find information. That’s because this is a closed service that is only open to existing Spectrum customers. Think of it as a Spectrum program ‘a la carte’ instead of a standalone streaming service.
As far as channel programming is concerned, Spectrum has a wide range of streaming networks to choose from. Popular networks such as Freeform, A&E, FX, and other networks are available in their official channel layout according to their support article over at Spectrum Stream. Popular sports and news channels like ESPN, Fox Sports 1, and NBC Sports Network have also been included in their broadcast package.
Dead sports fans, you will be disappointed as regional sports channels like Fox Sports regional stadiums, the Big Ten Network, and league-specific channels like NBA TV and MLB Network are lost in the mainstream. If you want to have these channels, you may want to stick with the Spectrum TV service.
Update: Looks like Comcast Xfinity, CenturyLink and AT&T have their offerings. Looks like they aren’t in any of the major cable companies that offer standalone streaming service and all their offerings are only valid if you have a tv in your home. AT&T only offers a streaming app, formerly known as DirecTV Now but has been renamed as ATTNOW.
Spectrum Stream’s Pricing & Setup
As LA Times reported, the Spectrum TV Stream starts at $ 25 a month (there was no official price on the Spectrum site, you would have to contact them to get the official rate).
The good thing is that most cable cutters will love that there is no need for a cable box unless you want DVR functionality. If so, you’ll have to add one for $ 20 a month. The $ 25 price tag seems cheap when you add in premium channels and cable boxes to your plans. Remember, all these cases are added to your Internet Spectrum program.
The $ 25 price tag is also an intro for the first two years of operation. When the promo period is over, the price jumps to $ 30 a month. The price of a Spectrum streaming service and online plan can quickly exceed $ 100 a month, especially if you appreciate the power of live TV recording and if you like premium channels as HBO and Showtime gives.
Compared to other streaming services like DirecTV Now, Hulu Plus, and YouTube TV, Spectrum TV is far from ideal, especially since there is no “official” streaming package they are advertising.
Another recap of the Spectrum streaming service is that you can only view streaming service from your local Spectrum wifi or internet connection. That is, you won’t (or can’t) watch this on the go or at Starbucks. At that point, what is the purpose of having a streaming service if you can’t take it with you? Since the article was written some of this has changed. You can now access certain content from everywhere but your options are very limited when you are not on your Spectrum wifi network.
If you’re looking for a cheaper way to add to the TV service and you’re good at its limited use, then Spectrum’s TV Stream might be the right choice, especially if you get all your entertainment with Netflix or YouTube premium. Exactly where Spectrum was headed when the service was started. As with their online plans, there are no financing or long-term contracts, so you can sign up and pay as you go.
If you are looking for something that will replace your cable package, then this is not your product (at least not now). Channel tuning is not a big deal with limited access to sports channels and news, and other popular networks, making this streaming service less relevant. Also, you still need to get Internet service from Spectrum to benefit from the streaming service.
Everything about the Spectrum service will attract nomads. The Spectrum service is not only free from contracts, but the company will also help you leave your current provider contract. And if you are unhappy with its service, you can cancel within 30 days for your refund. Although its television packages come with a hefty price tag, there are some ways it meets the all-inclusive services. Warning: Spectrum customer service ratings are round, even though consumers in the Western region have expressed high satisfaction. No matter, we recommend that you investigate all the TV providers working for your address, and compare them with what you value most. According to research in 2020, the spectrum is rated 4 stars and is reviewed by many people.