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Let's go ahead and get this out of the way: TV service can be expensive and confusing. Unlike home internet, which has largely improved over the years with faster speeds, competitive pricing, and tempting signup bonuses, traditional TV service, or "cable," seems to have gotten more costly and complicated. 

Bundling can help simplify the process of shopping for TV service and may even save you some money, but don't count on it. A select few providers still offer a bundle discount but most, even those that have historically rewarded customers for bundling, do not. That's not to say that there aren't any cheap bundles available, but few providers offer any incentive outside of convenience when you sign up for internet and TV together.

Is it better to bundle internet and TV?

If you plan on getting internet and TV anyway, you might as well bundle them. But before you do, make sure you're getting the internet speeds you need and the channels you want without a cheaper option available elsewhere. 

Signing up for a $70 cable package just to watch AMC, ESPN and TBS, for example, could have you paying more than necessary. Live TV streaming services offer similar channels to cable and often cost less -- Sling TV, for example, has those three channels and costs just $35. Additionally, many providers sell a "basic" or "locals only" TV package that charges you for channels you can get over the air for free with a digital antenna. On the other hand, if you want regional sports networks, a cable TV package may be your best (and sometimes only) option. 

To make things just a little more complicated, many internet providers now offer an internet and streaming bundle with streaming services such as YouTube TV, Sling TV, or their own exclusive streaming service in addition to traditional TV. We've included those bundles, when cheap, in the list below. For each provider, you'll find the cheapest available bundle, streaming or otherwise, along with recommendations for the cheapest bundle to include regional sports networks.

The cheapest internet and TV bundles

DirecTV
  • Starting monthly price: $100 plus taxes and fees
  • Bundle savings: $0
  • Max internet speeds: 300Mbps down, 300Mbps up
  • Channel count: 160+
  • Tech: fiber internet, satellite TV

The cheapest AT&T internet and TV bundle comes with max download and upload speeds of 300Mbps and at least 65 or 160 live TV channels, depending on the TV service you choose. On the internet side of the bundle, AT&T Fiber 300 is one of the best internet deals available starting at just $35 per month plus $10 for equipment. As for TV, AT&T gives customers two options that are essentially the same service: DirecTV (satellite TV) or DirecTV Stream (live TV streaming), both of which are a bit pricey; neither currently include a discount for bundling with internet. 

The Entertainment package is the cheapest available with both DirecTV and DirecTV Stream, but the satellite version is $5 cheaper per month, at least for the first year. It also technically comes with around 100 more channels. That said, DirecTV Stream is going to be the better deal starting at $105 per month when paired with AT&T Fiber 300.

Standard DirecTV service (satellite) comes with higher equipment costs and fees than DirecTV Stream, not to mention a two-year contract requirement that locks you in for a significant price jump after the first year. DirecTV Stream requires no contract and, while "prices are subject to change at any time," there isn't the same price increase after 12 months like with DirecTV. Yes, there are 100 or so more channels available with the satellite service, but those are largely just filler channels, like East/West versions of the same network and lots of music channels.

Speaking of channels, if you want your regional sports networks -- the primary reason many still have a traditional TV subscription, myself included -- you'll need to upgrade to the Choice package. It's $70 per month with standard DirecTV service ($122 after 12 months) or $85 per month with DirecTV Stream. There's also a regional sports fee that will add $10 or more to your bill.

AT&T Home Internet

Cox Communications
  • Starting monthly price: $73 plus taxes and fees
  • Bundle savings: $0
  • Max internet speeds: 25Mbps down, 3Mbps up
  • Channel count: 75+
  • Tech: cable internet, cable TV

Cox once had the best bundle discounts of any major provider: up to 60% or higher in savings compared to if you purchased internet and TV separately. Those bundle discounts aren't available anymore, unfortunately, but Cox still has one of the cheapest internet and TV bundles on our list.

The Cox Internet Essentials and Contour TV Starter bundle comes with speeds up to 25Mbps and 75-plus channels starting at $73 ($20 for internet, $53 for TV). The "75-plus channels" is a bit misleading, however, as the package only includes your local networks and a bunch of home shopping channels. If local networks -- ABC, CBS, Fox, etc. -- are all you need, do yourself a favor and get a good digital antenna instead. 

The first TV package to feature a channel lineup you can't get over the air for free is Cox Contour TV Preferred, and it starts at $98 per month for a total of $118 when bundled with the cheapest Cox internet plan. You'll get at least 140 channels including your regional sports networks along with a free premium channel of your choice and HBO Max free for the first 12 months. 

Considering the channel lineup and free premium network deal, the Contour TV Preferred package is worth the upgrade. While you're at it, you also may want to consider upgrading to a faster Cox internet plan, as Internet Starter maxes out at 25Mbps -- slower than any other internet plan on our list. Cox Internet Essentials, for example, offers twice the max speed for $10 more per month while Cox Internet Preferred has six times the speed, up to 150Mbps, for an additional $30 per month.

I should also mention that Cox does have a "streaming" add on available to internet customers, but it doesn't include any live channels. In fact, there is no content with the streaming bundle at all other than a free subscription to Peacock Premium (normally $5 per month). What customers do get, for another $5 per month, is the Cox Contour Stream Player. It's a pretty nifty streaming device but, again, does not include any live channels and that monthly fee means it will quickly cost more than a good streamer like the Roku Express Plus 4K.

Cox Communications

Frontier Communications
  • Starting monthly price: $95 plus taxes and fees
  • Bundle savings: $10 per month
  • Max internet speeds: 50Mbps down, 50Mbps up
  • Channel count: 85+
  • Tech: fiber internet, streaming TV

Frontier stopped offering its own TV service to new customers and instead now partners with providers like DirecTV, Dish and YouTube TV to sell internet and TV bundles. The YouTube TV bundle is the best deal as it's the only one to come with a discount -- $10 off per month for the first year. 

When it comes to home internet, Frontier didn't get our best review but that's largely due to the DSL side of the service. Frontier FiberOptic is easier to recommend, and while I'm making recommendations, go ahead and consider upgrading from the 50Mbps plan to the 500Mbps or even the gig plan. It'll cost a little more (around $10 extra per month for 500Mbps or $35 for gig service) but the speed boost is well worth it. 

As for YouTube TV, CNET's Ty Pendlebury named it "the best premium live TV streaming service." Your subscription comes with an assortment of at least 85 channels and includes your locals and channels you'll actually want to watch like AMC, ESPN, HGTV, TBS and USA. Most regional sports networks are not included, however, so you may want to consider bundling Frontier internet with the DirecTV Choice package if those are must-haves.

Frontier Communications

Mediacom
  • Starting monthly price: $30 plus taxes and fees
  • Bundle savings: N/A
  • Max internet speeds: 60Mbps down, 5Mbps up
  • Channel count: 50+
  • Tech: cable internet, cable TV

Mediacom is one of the few providers that doesn't sell stand-alone TV service. To get TV, you have sign up for internet, which means there are technically no discounts for bundling because there are no TV plans to compare the pricing. Still, Mediacom has comparatively low bundle pricing, especially when it comes to its cheapest bundle. Access Internet 60 and Local TV starts at just $30 per month.

The Access Internet 60 plan is $20 per month on its own, which means adding the Local TV package will only cost you an additional $10 per month. That's a pretty good deal, even if it is just your local channels (remember Cox charges $53 for basically the same thing). 

For a little more channel variety, consider upgrading to Essential TV, which has 125-plus channels starting at $60 per month when bundled with Access Internet 60. And if you want regional sports networks, or any sports networks at all, including ESPN, you'll need to upgrade to the Variety TV package starting at $80 per month when bundled.

Mediacom does not offer any internet and streaming TV bundles, but if you plan to do some streaming using your Mediacom internet service, be mindful of the data cap. The Access Internet 60 plan comes with a data cap of 200GB per month and a fee of $10 for each 50GB block needed to compensate for your overage. Faster Mediacom internet plans come with more data, up to 6TB with gig service, but will cost you a bit more per month, of course. 

Optimum
  • Starting monthly price: $50 plus taxes and fees
  • Bundle savings: N/A
  • Max internet speeds: 100Mbps down, 5Mbps up
  • Channel count: 50+
  • Tech: cable internet, cable TV

Like Mediacom, Optimum requires you to bundle with internet to get TV service, so there's no real "discount" available, but the bundles are still fairly priced. The cheapest internet and TV bundle, Optimum Internet 100 and Basic TV, starts at $50 ($20 for internet, $30 for TV) per month for speeds up to 100Mbps and a channel lineup that includes mostly just your local networks.

Optimum makes it tempting to upgrade your internet or TV package, perhaps more than any other major provider, with low price increases for doing so. Upgrading from Internet 100 to 300, for example, is just $10 more per month for the first year. The jump from Basic TV to Optimum's next lowest-priced TV package, Optimum Core, will cost you a little more, $35 extra per month to be exact, but is well worth it. The package comes with more than 100 additional channels and includes regional sports channels like MSG and Yes Network.

Optimum Internet

Getty Images
  • Starting monthly price: $70 plus taxes and fees
  • Bundle savings: $0 or $5 depending on TV package
  • Max internet speeds: 200Mbps down, 10Mbps up
  • Channel count: 60+
  • Tech: cable internet, streaming TV

Spectrum likes to keep it simple and we like that, which is partly why the provider earned our top spot among best cable internet providers. In most service areas, Spectrum offers three internet plans and three cable TV plans, and customers are free to build a bundle with any combination of them. Bundling Spectrum internet with a cable TV plan will also get you a $5 discount, but your cheapest bundle option is actually with Spectrum's streaming service.

TV Essentials is available for an additional $20 per month to all Spectrum internet customers who do not sign up for a cable TV package. The streaming service comes with more than 60 live channels including AMC, Comedy Central, Discovery, Paramount Network, Nickelodeon, Viceland and more. Your locals aren't included, however, and neither are your regional sports networks. While local channels and regional sports would be nice, $20 per month for 60-plus major networks is still a good deal.

Spectrum's lowest-priced cable TV package, TV Select, does include your local channels and regional sports networks starting at just $45 per month. It's one of the lowest prices for a package that includes regional sports networks from any major provider and, again, comes with a $5 discount when bundled with internet. The Spectrum Internet and TV Select bundle starts at $90 ($50 for internet, $45 for TV, $5 discount) per month. Considering the speeds and channel selection, this internet and TV bundle is arguably the best bang for your buck of any featured in our list.

Getty Images
  • Starting monthly price: $75 plus taxes and fees
  • Bundle savings: $70
  • Max internet speeds: 200Mbps down, 200Mbps up
  • Channel count: 30+
  • Tech: fiber internet, streaming TV

Verizon Fios has its own TV service, but its cheapest internet and TV bundle is with Sling TV. Starting at $75 ($40 for internet, $35 for Sling) per month, the bundle comes with symmetrical download and upload speeds of up to 200Mbps along with your choice of Sling Blue or Sling Orange. The bundle includes the only discount you'll get when bundling Verizon internet with TV -- free Sling TV service for two months, a $70 value.

With only around 30 channels available in the Blue and Orange packages, Sling's channel lineup may feel a little light. The good news is that you'll get extra entertainment with Verizon Fios internet because all plans currently come with free one-year AMC Plus and Disney Plus subscriptions. Both Sling packages already include AMC, but Orange also has the Disney Channel whereas Blue does not. Since you're already getting Disney Plus with Verizon Fios internet, choosing the Blue package may make more sense, but look at the full channel lineup of both packages before going with one or the other.

As for sports, Sling TV Orange comes with ESPN and ESPN2 but not Fox Sports 1. Blue has Fox Sports 1 but not ESPN. Neither come with your regional sports networks. To get those with a Verizon Fios internet and TV bundle, you'll need to sign up for the More Fios TV package which starts at a bundled price of $125 per month when paired with Verizon Fios 200.

Verizon Fios

Ry Crist/CNET
  • Starting monthly price: $40 plus taxes and fees
  • Bundle savings: $20 per month
  • Max internet speeds: 50Mbps down, 4Mbps up
  • Channel count: 10+
  • Tech: cable internet, cable TV

Finally, a decent discount for bundling internet and TV. Xfinity rewards customers for bundling with $10 off per added service, which means you can save $20 per month when getting Xfinity internet and TV together.

The bundle discount is available regardless of the internet plan or TV package you choose, including the cheapest combination: Xfinity Connect and Basic TV. Starting at $40 ($30 for internet, $30 for TV, $20 discount) per month, this Xfinity bundle offers speeds up to 50Mbps and a cable package that includes mostly just your local channels.

For $40 more per month, you can upgrade to the Xfinity Popular TV package, which comes with 100 or so more channels including regional sports networks. Upgrading your internet plan may be also worth the added cost as well -- Xfinity has five faster speed tiers, up to gig service with max speeds of 1,200Mbps in select locations -- but if 50Mbps and local channels are all you need, you can't go wrong with Xfinity Connect and Basic TV.

Xfinity Internet

Internet and TV bundle FAQs

Is bundling internet and TV cheaper?

Bundling internet and TV together may come with a monthly discount depending on the provider. Spectrum and Xfinity both offer a bundle discount, but others including AT&T, Cox and Verizon Fios currently do not. Even if there is no discount available, bundling services may still save you money by cutting or combining installation and equipment costs.

Can I bundle internet and TV with different providers?

Many DSL and fiber providers, such as CenturyLink and Frontier, do not offer stand-alone TV service and instead partner with national providers, like DirecTV and Dish, or streaming services to offer bundles. In these cases, you'll be bundling internet and TV with different providers, and possibly get a discount for doing so.

If you just want internet from a fiber provider and TV from your local cable provider, however, a bundled package, especially one with a discount, is doubtful. There are no bundles, for example, available that combine internet from AT&T Fiber and TV from Xfinity. 

Is it cheaper to stream TV?

That depends on your entertainment demands. While on-demand streaming platforms like Disney Plus, Hulu and Netflix often come at a lower monthly price than most cable packages, they do not offer live channels. Streaming services that do have live TV -- like Hulu Live TV, Sling TV and YouTube TV -- may come at a monthly cost that approaches the price of a cable package. Equipment costs are typically lower and there may be more exclusive content available with a streaming service versus traditional cable, however. 

The bottom line is, like with home internet, choosing the cheapest TV option (streaming or otherwise), may not suit your needs. Before signing up for an internet and TV bundle, make sure the package includes the internet speeds you need and the channels you want.

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