Dealing with cable TV or satellite providers with poor customer service can be frustrating. When shopping for a service in Baltimore, it’s essential to find one that provides the channels you want and has excellent customer service to help with installation and outages.
Baltimore residents have three main options when it comes to TV service: cable, satellite or internet/streaming services. It’s crucial to look at the pros, cons and costs of each so you can binge-watch your favorite shows knowing you opted for the best service for you. Some of the factors to consider when shopping include:
Most cable companies and satellite TV providers in Baltimore offer different tiers of packages. The three most common channel packages are:
Some companies are now offering television services accessible through the internet. Despite the commonly used name of internet cable, these services do not require cable and are accessible through an app installed on compatible smart devices. Services such as YouTube TV, Hulu and DIRECTV’s DIRECTVNOW offer television service through an internet connection.
Many of these companies offer channel packages similar to cable companies and satellite TV providers, with tiers available at different price points. Other companies, such as Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, do not offer live programming but provide a library of on-demand television shows and movies.
In addition, paid apps for networks such as CBS and the BBC are also available for streaming online and on TV streaming devices like Roku and Amazon Fire TV.
If you know you want a traditional TV provider, your options narrow to cable or satellite. Which is better may depend on whether you value fewer outages or lower monthly bills — cable TV companies generally charge more per channel than satellite TV services, but cable is less likely to be affected by inclement weather.
Cable providers have smaller service areas, meaning those who live in rural areas outside Baltimore may not be able to receive cable service. Satellite providers provide service wirelessly, which means they can cover wide geographic areas. In Baltimore, opting for satellite TV generally gives you a larger pool of providers and more competitive rates, but installing the required dish may not be practical for everyone.
Locally, satellite providers are known for offering a better picture quality, but cable may have an advantage if you’re opting to bundle your television service with internet — satellite internet generally requires a second dish.
The cost of TV service varies by the type of service, provider, package size, add-ons and whether you’re bundling it with extra services, but the typical customer pays between $85 and $100 a month for cable or satellite TV.
In Baltimore, cable prices start at around $30 per month for basic cable packages that include 10 channels. The cost does not include installation or any extra features such as DVR.
Satellite TV ranges by provider too, but Baltimore’s major providers, DIRECTV and DISH, offer prices starting around $35 per month for a minimal package. HD packages with more channels range between $65 and $115 a month. Check the small print on the contract, however — some companies offer two-year contracts that include dramatic price increases in the second year.
The cost of satellite dish installation ranges from $60 to $250, depending on the number of TVs in your home and where the satellite must be installed. Both cable and satellite TV providers may charge additional equipment fees, which range anywhere from $10 to $18 per month per device for the duration of the time you are using their equipment.
Mediacom provides TV, internet and phone service. The company has a 90-day satisfaction guarantee, night and weekend appointments and a 30-minute appointment window. Mediacom continually invests in its infrastructure for improved service, and the company lets you access hundreds of WiFi hotspots. Baltimore residents say the company offers a good value.
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