The Cheapest Traditional TV Plans You Can Get

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Written by: Rochelle Burnside | Best Company Editorial Team

Last Updated: May 27th, 2020

So, you’re looking to save on a TV package. Whether you’re sick of juggling multiple streaming services or overpaying for cable TV, there’s incentive to buying on a budget. 

We’re going to show you the cheapest TV plans available by provider and describe what you’ll get for each plan. Are they worth it? That’ll be up to you to decide.

DIRECTV

DIRECTV recently hiked their package pricing. The cheapest plan, the SELECT package, was formerly $39.99. But for a 24-month agreement, the first 12 months of its plan are now $49.99.

SELECT $49.99 per month for the first twelve months

Notice how I say it’s for the first 12 months, but this is a 2-year agreement. Expect a price hike after the first year — jumping to $115 a month. 

If you were hoping to drop your contract after a year, not so fast: DIRECTV has a cancellation fee, charging $20 for each month left on your contract. Be sure to read your contract and speak with representatives to review your price changes, fees, and term length.

Also keep in mind that this price tag is listed for those who select autopay and paperless billing. If you have other circumstances, you’ll pay more.

The SELECT plan includes 155 channels, such as AMC, bravo, CNN, Entertainment, Fox, FX, and HGTV. For the budget plan, it has an impressive lineup.

DISH

DISH TV’s cheapest plan isn’t a one-to-one comparison to DIRECTV’s because DISH has more channels.

America's Top 120 $59.99 per month

Though it’s called America’s Top 120, the plan has 190 channels. You can expect many of your family favorites, like Animal Planet, Cartoon Network, CNN, ESPN, and HGTV.

We have some good news: America’s Top 120 has a 2-year price guarantee through its contract. You’ll be paying less than you would through DIRECTV for the duration of the contract.

DISH still has a cancellation fee: $20 per month for each remaining month of your contract. And the price above is for customers who agree to eAutoPay. 

There is one other drawback to DISH: its TV and internet bundles aren’t great. DIRECTV is owned by AT&T, and most other TV providers are large telecomms companies offering a range of services. So if you want to save by bundling, DISH might not be the best choice.

Comcast Xfinity TV

If you want to bundle TV and internet, Xfinity is one of your best options. But for a standalone TV package, here’s the cheapest choice:

Extra $49.99 per month

However, Xfinity TV may have some promotional deals that are even cheaper; it’ll depend on your zip code.

The good news is Comcast Xfinity TV has 1-year contracts or no-term agreements. You’ll pay $70 per month for no-term Extra, but at least the option is there.

The Extra package includes over 140 channels, including options like FX, TLC, HGTV, Bravo. Overall, not a bad deal. Xfinity offers flexible month-to-month options and a low price.

Cox Cable

The price tag on Cox’s cheapest TV plan is looking pretty good:

Starter $25 per month

This cost won’t include the one-time activation fee and monthly fees like equipment.

For this price, you’ll get over 75 channels; this is significantly less than the other plans we’ve touted, but take a look at the channel lineup and see if it makes a difference to you.

How can I get the cheapest TV package?

You have more leverage than ever in negotiating a cheap package. With streaming TV services sweeping the competition, traditional TV providers are in a position to negotiate for their customers. 

These rates above may not even be the lowest these providers can go. Here are some tips for finding the lowest price:

  • Check that you’re getting all the discounts that apply: autopay, paperless billing, and leasing or buying only the necessary equipment.
  • If you need an internet or phone plan, go through the same provider and see what sort of bundling deals they have. Bundling with your current provider will likely be cheaper than paying for standalone TV.
  • Check the perks. Some providers add gift cards or premium channels as sign-on bonuses.
  • Compare these plans with your streaming options. Pluto TV is completely free if you have devices that are capable of streaming services, and Sling TV has a basic package of $28 per month. Do you really need traditional TV?

Read also: Do You Save by Bundling TV and Internet?

The Top Satellite TV Companies

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#1 DIRECTV chevron_right
9.3 Overall Score
2.7
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(1,102)
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#2 Cox Cable chevron_right
8.7 Overall Score
3.7
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(86)
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#3 DISH chevron_right
8.7 Overall Score
3.1
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(660)

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