Updated: February 19, 2014
AT&T U-Verse® claims a place on the top cable TV providers list thanks to its high-quality picture and nice bundle deals, including the option to Build Your Own U-Verse® Bundle. Through AT&T U-Verse® On Demand, you can view free movies, premium programs, and HD programs, along with pay-per-view content. With so many available plans at some pretty reasonable prices, you shouldn't have a problem finding a U-Verse® package that fits your needs and budget. If you're interested in Internet or phone service as well, this could be a great way to save, and because AT&T U-Verse® is a fiber optic cable TV provider, you can be assured of getting a nice, clear picture all the time. However, AT&T U-Verse® is currently only available in 22 states (AL, AR, CA, CT, FL, GA, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MI, MS, MO, NV, NC, OH, OK, SC, TN, TX, WI). If you don't live in one of these service areas, the TV providers listed below are worth looking into.
Comcast XFINITY ranks as one of the best cable TV providers primarily due to its variety packages and channels, though it is also a major strength that their service is available in 40 states across the nation. Comcast offers five different TV packages, ranging from a basic 10-channel plan all the way up to a premier level plan with over 200 channels. The best value plans are the mid-level options, though every plan comes with a special introductory rate. Comcast also boasts an impressive On Demand library, mobile and Internet viewing features, and a respectable selection of DVRs to make TV viewing more flexible for viewing at and away from home. Comcast's prices are lower for the first year of a contract, and then rise after 12 months, but the convenience of additional features is sure to make long term costs worthwhile.
Verizon FiOS earns a spot on the list of the best cable TV providers by offering a huge channel selection and an impressive On Demand library, all delivered through a fiber optic network. With more than 30,000 titles, FiOS boasts one of the largest On Demand libraries, a great feature that movie lovers and TV fans are sure to appreciate. The cable TV industry has a reputation for underperforming in terms of reliability and customer service, and although FiOS TV still has room for improvement, it is worth pointing out that they consistently perform better than the majority of competitors in major customer service surveys. The primary drawback to FiOS TV is its limited availability, as service is currently offered in select cities in thirteen states. In addition, entry-level packages are pricier than the competition, though mid-level, and high-end packages are priced are more competitive. If you live in one Verizon's service areas, the reliability of a fiber optic network makes FiOS TV a leading cable TV option.
Time Warner Cable
Time Warner secures a ranking on the list of top cable providers as they offer some of the most reasonably priced TV packages at every subscription level. Low-end plans providing only basic cable, mid-level plans, and high-end plans with comprehensive channels and features are all offered with some of the most competitive pricing in the industry. Monthly DVR rentals can add cost, but Time Warner offers some unique DVR features. Start Over® and Look Back® features, only offered with Time Warner, let you restart a show in progress or watch a previously aired program up to 72 hours after original airing. The Time Warner mobile app is also well performing, and supports live streaming and movie viewing. Time Warner cable is a more budget-friendly cable option that packs in all of the features, and is available in many markets.
Cablevision / Optimum
Cablevision is a smaller but growing cable TV provider that still positions among the best for their many family friendly features. Along with respectable channel offerings, Cablevision also provides a decent selection of DVR equipment, including one that allows you to record up to four programs at once. Most cable providers only offer DVRs that record two shows simultaneously, so the option to record four at a time with Cablevision can be particularly beneficial to households with parents, teens, and kids with all different entertainment tastes. Cablevision does not offer the best priced basic plans, but their mid- and high-level plans are good values, especially considering what other cable providers charge for similar plans. An additional plus for those considering Cablevision is that credit checks are not required for new customers, which may be useful for those with below average or no credit.