The Best Guide to Cable Packages and Alternatives

Charter Cable TV Packages

When purhcasing Charter Cable TV packages one can save a great deal bundling, but their customer service record might dissuade you.

Charter offers both standard and HD TV, the cheapest being the Charter Basic and Expanded Basic TV services which includes popular channels like ESPN, CNN, and USA Network. The cheapest of the Charter Cable TV packages available is listed for $49.99 a month and offers around a hundred digital channels. Premium packages such as HBO, Starz, Cinemax, and Showtime can be purchased individually, or together, saving more with larger packages. Channel line ups for your area will depend on a number of factors such as availability, demand, channel ratings, and price. One can call the website with channel requests for Charter to consider when putting together the channel lineup. To view the lineup for your area, see the Charter website: Parental controls allow one to block channels and access them with a simple pin number.

The minimum requirements for HD are an HDTV, a Charter HD receiver or HD DVR, and HD programming which is available with Charter TV. (Those wishing to upgrade to HD must have a contract with Charter, or a level of Expanded basic TV service.) Conveniently, Charter allows customers to rent equipment, such as a TiVO box, specifically advantages if it all ends up not working.


For an extra 15 dollars a month, Charter Digital Video Recorder (DVR) allows users to record and watch shows simultaneously, store many hours of recorded live TV, and play it back at their convenience with the Interactive Program Guide. DVR stores many hours of programming that are standard or high definition using hard-drive built into your receiver, though if you want DVR specifically for HD, be sure to specify when you are ordering. (This will allow you to record all HD channels, including Premium channels.) Being “dual-tuner,” as is generally the case with DVR options, allows one to view two shows at once while recording a third, or record two shows at once while watching a third. Consider that customers can always buy their own DVR equipment and set it up with one of their existing Charter Cable TV packages. Though in many cases this has proved a successful and cheaper option, understandably Charter will not provide customer or field tech service to those having difficulties with ‘third party’ DVR equipment, so just be sure you know what you are doing.

Charter to the dogs?

It is important to know that though Charter is the third largest cable provider in the United States, in recent years they have suffered for a number of reasons. One is due to their reputation of having recording breaking poor customer service (go figure. In a recent study done by American Customer Satisfaction Index they tied with Comcast for the worst customer service of any major cable provider). This is partially because Charter is spread out over such a wide area, rendering it difficult for it to continuously upgrade their systems and maintain what is currently available. Charter is also at odds with many satellite companies who have more subscribers and more “purchasing power,” who can give better deals since they have more customers. With fewer customers, Charter cannot price as competitively.

Heads up sports fans

Sports fanatic? Charter may not be your best option. Unlike some other providers, Charter does not offer the NFL network, nor do they provide copious premium sports channels for you to purchase. Subscribe to Charter and you will miss out on the NBA leage pass, the NFL Sunday Ticket and the NASCAR Hotpass (the latter two are direct TV exclusives). With the option of buying Charter Cable TV packages, one has the option of purchasing the MLB Extra Innings package and the NHL Center Ice deal. Otherwise, you’re better off with Satellite.


The upside of buying Charter Cable TV Packages? Their triple play bundle is less than a hundred dollars a month for the first year. That’s TV, Internet, and Cable for a fantastic deal, despite whatever extra costs are going to creep into the bill. The downside? Bad, bad, bad, customer service and poor sports selections. But as it turns out, this wide spread provider may be one of the only ones in your area.

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