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There’s nothing like being quarantined at home for more than a year to remind you how comforting TV is. What’s less comforting is figuring out how much cable is per month. Have fun wading through bundles, packages, promotions and various levels of service.
But we’ll give you the short answer for now. As of this writing, the monthly base cost for cable (without internet) typically ranges from about $45 to $130 for new customers. The cost depends mostly on the provider and number of channels.
This price range is from Cox, Spectrum and Xfinity. The provider you work with often depends on your location and whether the company offers service in that area.
What about packages and bundles?
The $45-to-$130 range reflects prices for cable rather than streaming services (like Netflix) or satellite (like DirecTV). For an additional cost, some providers also offer a set of extra channels on top of their base price. For example, Cox’s mid-tier TV plan of local channels and basic cable is $90 per month. You could tack on a pack of over 20 sports channels for an extra monthly charge of $10.
Many providers also offer “bundles,” meaning they pair cable with internet service or a home phone line, typically for one promotional price. With Spectrum, for instance, bundling TV and internet knocks off $5 per month for the first year.
» MORE: How much is internet per month?
How to avoid overpaying for cable
As with any contract, scrutinize the agreement terms. For example, if you’re getting a deal, learn exactly how long you'll pay the lower price and what you’ll pay when the promotional period ends. Also note extra fees, like those for installation.
Websites such as Allconnect.com and DecisionData.org may help you better understand the terms and how they compare across packages and providers.
After doing some research, consider calling the customer service line of your cable provider (or the one you’re scoping out). Ask questions about anything you don’t understand. You may even negotiate a better deal.