TV watchers know all too well how expensive cable and Internet subscriptions can end up once they factor in extra equipment fees and taxes. Anyone who has maintained a subscription for more than 2 years is probably paying outrageous sums each month. Fortunately, cable subscribers can slash their monthly bills by shopping around for the best cable and Internet deals.
Cable providers are branching out with on demand and online services to deliver programming to more customers. With more options that ever before, no customer should be stuck paying top tier rates for a sub par selection. With a little patience, customers can pick up more channels for less.
The best cable and Internet deals include all of the most popular channels. Customers will receive access to local channels such as their regional Fox, ABC, and CBS affiliates as well as other favorites like TNT, Comedy Central, and SyFy.
By comparing different bundles, customers can also pick up extras like Science and IFC at no extra cost. Different providers may also offer streaming services so subscribers can watch their favorite TV shows online.
Many cable providers offer free introductory access to HBO, Showtime, Starz, and other premium channels for a few months. However, it can actually cost less to upgrade to a more expensive bundle that includes premium channels for free.
For example, HBO subscriptions typically cost about $15 a month if added to a basic programming package. However, many cable providers offer HBO and other premium networks for free on their more expensive packages, which also include expanded channel lineups.
Cable providers want customers to purchase the more expensive packages, so they will sweeten the deal with free DVRs and other extras. The best cable and Internet deals balance expanded programming, free equipment, and low cost.
Unlike cable TV, cable Internet providers offer the same service to everyone. Instead of expanded channel lineups or free extras, cable Internet packages are all about speed. With network speed a determining factor for streaming video and online video games, customers need faster speeds than ever before.
Cable Internet plans start at just 3 Mbps for downloads, which isn’t fast enough for streaming video or downloading large files. Most customers will want to upgrade to at least 20 Mbps service, which typically only costs about $20 more than 3 Mbps service.
Once customers start receiving speeds of 20 to 50 Mbps, they can stream HD video, video chat with friends and family, and play competitive games without waiting for their Internet to catch up. Depending on their Internet usage, they may even wish to upgrade to premium Internet services that range from 50 to 125 Mbps.
To receive the best possible speeds, customers should upgrade to DOCSIS 3.0 modems. They can request new modems from their Internet service providers if they’ve had the same modem for several years, or they can purchase their own to avoid paying a monthly fee.
In the past few years, many cable ISPs have placed data caps on their networks. Most caps are at least 100 GB per month, so the vast majority of users are in no danger of hitting their monthly caps. However, customers who download or stream HD movies five or more times a month may want to upgrade their Internet service to avoid hitting those monthly caps, which can throttle down their speeds for the remainder of the month.
At the end of the day, the best cable and Internet deals deliver more while costing less. Cable customers around the country are tightening their belts because of the struggling economy, and the time is ripe for customers to pick up fantastic deals. Cable providers would rather sweeten the deal than lose subscribers, so customers can find limited time offers from various providers.
The best cable and Internet deals include equipment for free. A cable provider might advertise a TV package for $50 a month, but the cable box might cost another $10. Equipment fees, surcharges, and taxes can all add up, but cable customers can find plenty of packages that loan equipment at no extra cost.
Customers should also be on the lookout for providers that offer free technical assistance and service calls. Free equipment replacements and other extras can also save money in the long run.
Ultimately, the very best cable and Internet deals include both services in one. Subscribers gain access to both top programming choices and fast Internet speeds, and these bundled deals can shave as much as 25 percent off of the cost of these services purchased separately.
Bundled deals are more likely to include free equipment and larger channel lineups than standalone packages, and they often include special pricing for the first 6 or 12 months of service. After the special pricing runs out, many customers choose to renegotiate their deals to receive the same low rates.