For those who have chosen not to pay hundreds a year for cable networks, but still subscribe to Spectrum for internet, Spectrum has a deal for you. It wants to bring you cable, packaged as a streaming service that costs $14.99 a month, as a bid to keep cable relevant when there are more alternatives to cable now than ever.
The “streaming service” of sorts is called Spectrum TV Essentials and it includes popular cable networks like the Weather Channel, Food Network, Nickelodeon, and MTV. Unlike other streaming services that offer individual movies and shows, TV Essentials basically takes a few dozen of Spectrum’s channels and offers them to its internet subscribers. These are the channels the cable company offers already in its standard packages, albeit for much higher price tags. In fact, it’s so familiar that it sounds like the a la carte plan that Spectrum’s sales representatives offered quietly to customers in 2018 to lure them back to cable.
“We believe a high quality, lower priced option for internet-only subscribers is very important,” Viacom President and CEO Bob Bakish said in a press release.
Notably, TV Essentials leaves out HBO, which has traditionally been an add-on purchase to cable packages and now has its own streaming service, HBO Now, with shows like Game of Thrones and Insecure.
While TV Essentials doesn’t have the premium original content of an HBO Now or a Netflix subscription, it tries to make up for that by being compatible with most platforms. You can access TV Essentials through the Spectrum TV app on iOS and Android. It’s also available on Roku, Apple TV, Xbox One, and Samsung Smart TV, and on desktop. Unlike Netflix and HBO’s apps, it doesn’t sound like you can download shows from TV Essentials to watch later offline, but the app is supposed to let you surf by category or channel and also set parental controls.
From the press release, it sounds as if TV Essentials will be exclusive to Spectrum internet users “in Charter’s footprint.” Charter clarified that Spectrum internet users would be able to access the subscription service on phones and tablets outside of the home as well, even when not connected to Spectrum Wi-Fi.
Here’s the full list of the 63 channels Spectrum plans to offer on its streaming service near the end of March:
A&E, AMC, American Heroes Channel, Animal Planet, AXS TV, BBC America, BBC World News, BET, BET Her, BET Jams, BET Soul, Bloomberg, Cheddar, CLEO TV, CMT, CMT Music, Comedy Central, Cooking Channel, Destination America, Discovery, Discovery Family, Discovery Life, DIY, Food Network, FYI, Game Show Network, Hallmark Channel, Hallmark Drama, Hallmark Movies & Mysteries, HDNet Movies, HGTV, HISTORY, IFC, Investigation Discovery, Lifetime, Lifetime Movie Network, Logo, MotorTrend Network, MTV, MTV2, MTV Classic, MTV Live, MTVU, NewsmaxTV, Newsy, Nickelodeon, Nick Jr., Nick Music, NickToons, Outdoor Channel, OWN, Paramount Network, Science Channel, Sundance TV, Teen Nick, TLC, Travel Channel, TV Land, VH1, Viceland, The Weather Channel, and WEtv.