Call For Internet, TV & Phone Deals 1-855-349-9328

By David / Entertainment Buzz /

Basic Cable Channels Guide and Basic Cable Packages

Detailed Basic Cable Channels Guide And Packages_A0945e

These days cable services promise to give you the world. Their packages offer DVR systems that can store a year’s worth of your favorite shows as well as the provision of access to hundreds of channels. They offer Triple Play packages that include TV, phone and internet services to take care of all your needs and they also help you subscribe and pay easily from the comfort of your couch. However, the flashy deals bombarding your screens might just lead to further confusion and make you indecisive, not to forget, the price tags they carry, reflective of the luxury they entail, may prove burdensome for your pocket. There are quite a few of us with limited time on our hands who are unwilling to spend exorbitant amounts of money on packages they know they won’t get the time to usefully. And then there are those too, who just want simple things in life, like catching up on the news or killing time with a little TV entertainment. If that’s the case, you might want to subscribe to Basic Cable instead of being lured into a fully loaded triple play.

What is Basic Cable?

Basic Cable is the type of package offered by providers that is cheaper than the cheapest they advertise. This package offers local channels as well as national broadcast networks like NBC alongside a few others mandated by the Federal Communications Commission. While movie junkies and entertainment seekers may find it underwhelming, for some of us this is a dream come true.

Which Providers Offer Basic Cable?

Essentially, all providers are required by their local franchising authorities to offer Basic Cable packages at affordable rates. The prices are negotiated by each provider with the local authorities and thus vary from one area to another and also among providers themselves. It is important to note however, the basic cable package remains elusive to many while some never even hear about it.

Why the Secret?

While local franchising authorities require all providers to offer a basic package at affordable rates, cable companies are not obligated to advertise them. Given such plans are not lucrative, it is understandable why they would refrain from investing money towards marketing them. When you approach cable providers, most of them will want you to purchase their Double Play package, which includes TV and internet, or Triple Play package, which comes with a TV, phone, and internet, along with premium channels and fancy set-top boxes; after all these extra offerings are more profitable for providers. While this practice is understandable, it doesn’t help solves your dilemma. A lot of people may revel in bundle deals that will save them money, but you should know there are cheaper options available out there. To avail them, however, you will have to ask for them

Which Channels Does Limited Basic Cable Offer?

As the name suggests, Basic Cable is basic. The package includes standard broadcast channels like CBS, PBS, FOX, ABC among others. You will also be able to watch some local government channels as well as public-access ones. If you want a little more, do remember, some cable providers offer a somewhat more expensive expanded Basic Cable package too.

Expanded Basic Cable Package

Expanded Basic Cable package offers a host of extra channels as compared to the limited Basic Cable package, but to be clear, it still is pretty basic. Channels include the likes of ESPN, CNN and FOX News. The channel lineup usually varies from provider to provider and for a complete list, you might want to consult your particular cable provider.

A Comparison of Limited & Expanded Basic Cable

Limited Basic Cable Channel Lineup Expanded Basic Cable Channel Lineup
ABC ABC
CBS CBS
FOX Disney
PBS ESPN
Additional local government and public-access channels FOX
  FOX News Channel
  MTV
  PBS
  Additional local government and public-access channels

The above table lists the channels commonly offered both under the basic cable package and the expanded basic cable deals, albeit the lineup for expanded basic cable does tend to vary depending upon the provider. If they do not fulfill your needs, you might want to opt for another, more expensive package that offers you a more extensive channel lineup and a wider variety of options to view premium channels. Depending on the provider, this might not cost you a whole lot more or imply a huge jump in pricing that proves difficult to justify in your budget. Just be mindful, pricing also differs from area to area therefore in order to get an accurate quote you must consult with the cable providers active in your area. Below is a list of cable providers and the channel lineup for their basic cable packages. Scroll down to see which fits your needs the best.

Xfinity

Xfinity offers one of the cheapest basic cable packages we’ ve found. Starting at approx. $18 per month for the limited basic cable, the lineup includes:

ABC Discovery INSP
BYUtv EVINE Live Jewelry Television
CBS FOX NBC
CNBC Galavision PBS
C-SPAN History QVC
C-SPAN 2 HSN Travel Channel
CW HSN2 TV Land

Spectrum

Spectrum basic cable plan starts at around $24 a month, depending on the area, and includes a total of 15 channels. Read on to find out if you want to know which channels are included:

ABC CW MeTV
CBS EVINE MOVIES!
C-SPAN FOX NBC
C-SPAN 2 HSN PBS
C-SPAN 3 Jewelry TV QVC

The expanded basic cable from the Charter Spectrum, on the other hand, costs $64.99 per month (the regular rate applicable after 12 months of promo period - during the promo term the package costs $44.99/mo.) and includes more than 125 channels.

Cox

Cox also offers a pocket-friendly basic cable package at $35 a month but the secrecy it operates with may prove it difficult for one to find the package, to begin with. The cox basic cable package includes the following lineup of 20 channels:

ABC EVINE Live NBC
C-SPAN EWTN PBS
C-SPAN 2 FOX QVC
C-SPAN 3 HSN TBN
CBS ION Telemundo
CW Jewelry TV Univision
Daystar MeTV

The expanded basic cable package from cox brings you more than 140 channels at $69.99 a month. You can review the lineup for both and depend on your channel preferences to choose the one that better fits your needs and wants. Given the widespread coverage, the aforementioned three major cable providers are sure to cover your area. If however, you want more provider options, you might want to take a look at your local providers and the basic cable they offer. We find they usually offer a greater channel lineup for the basic package. Here’s another list we hope you find useful.

Optimum

Optimum offers 40 channels as part of its Basic Cable package, the most by any cable provider we’ve discussed here. If these channels appeal to you it could be a perfect choice, but keep in mind Optimum is primarily operative in Connecticut, New Jersey, and New York.

ABC Local Programming
Antenna TV MOVIES!
C-SPAN My9
C-SPAN 2 NBC
CBS News 12
Cozi News 12 Traffic & Weather
CW NYC Life
Educational Access Optimum Channel
Estrella TV Optimum Channel Guide
EVINE Live PBS
ExitosTV Public Access
FOX HD QVC
Government Access Telemundo
HSN Thirteen (PBS)
ION This TV
Jewelry Television Trinity Broadcasting Network
Kids Thirteen UniMás
Leased Access Univisión
Live Well WLIW World
WLNY WMBC

Cable ONE

Cable One, similar to Optimum, offers a number of channels in its basic lineup, but unlike Optimum, it covers a larger area offering services in Idaho, Mississippi and North Dakota.

24/7 News INSP
ABC Justice Network
Access One KKIC
Azteca America KKJB-BUZZR
BYU KTRV
C-SPAN Laff
C-SPAN 2 Liquidation
CBS MeTV
Customer Information Channel MOVIES!
CW NBC
Daystar PBS
Educational Access PBS Kids
Escape PBS Learn
EVINE Live PBS World
EWTN QVC
FOX SonLife
getTV TBN
Grit TV Telemundo
H&I TVTV Public Access
HSN

RCN

Another option you might want to consider is RCN. Primarily operating in Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania, and Washington DC, it offers a total of 26 channels in its Basic Cable package.

ABC Grit PBS
Antenna TV Heroes & Icons QVC
CBS HSN SonLife
Cozi HSN2 Telemundo
CW ION This TV
Escape Justice Network UniMás
FOX MeTV Univisión
FOX BUZZR MOVIES! On-demand video
getTV (WVTV) NBC