If you want to get all of the local channels and regional sports networks in Los Angeles, then you may be stuck getting a cable subscription. Most Angelinos, however, have other choices. Here are the best cable TV providers in Los Angeles along with streaming options you may not have considered.
Do You Really Need Cable in LA?
If you’ve been using an HDTV antenna to watch high-def broadcasts from your local TV stations, switching to cable could be disappointing. Cable companies degrade the video quality of their video streams so your favorite shows and sports events won’t look as good. On the other hand, you can’t get AMC or Food Network over an antenna.
A so-called “skinny bundle” from streaming services like Philo and Sling TV give you the best of both worlds. You can keep getting free, high-quality local stations and stream popular basic cable channels for a low price.
Philo is the lowest-cost option for people looking to get basic cable content, but you do have to accept some compromises. You won’t get expensive channels like ESPN or CNN. However, you will get lifestyle channels like HGTV and Travel.
For $20 per month, the Philo subscription plan delivers more than sixty basic cable channels. There are no activation fees, no long-term contracts and no early termination fees.
7-day free trial
Starz and Epix add-ons
3 simultaneous streams
You can also add subscriptions to premium content providers like Starz and Epix.
Learn more about Philo’s plans and pricing here.
Philo’s focus is on the most popular lifestyle, entertainment and kid-friendly channels. Nickelodeon, Comedy Central, Lifetime and Hallmark are all part of the lineup. Although you won’t find any of the expensive cable news networks, you can still keep up with national and international news through Cheddar and BBC World News.
You can learn even more about Philo’s channel lineup here.
You can download the Philo app on these devices:
- Living room devices: Amazon Fire TV, Android TV, Apple TV, Roku.
- Smart TVs and Blu-ray players: Televisions based on Fire TV, Android TV and Roku.
- Mobile devices and tablets: Android and iOS.
- Game consoles: None.
- Desktop browsers: Chrome, Edge, Firefox and Safari.
You can learn more about Philo’s device support here.
Your family can stream Philo content to as many as three devices at the same time.
Learn more about simultaneous streaming on Philo here.
With support for up to ten profiles, each member of the family can have their own watch histories, recommendations and cloud DVR libraries. However, the unlimited-capacity cloud DVR only works with the channels on Philo. It will not record your local TV content.
You’ll find more details about Philo’s cloud DVR here.
You can choose from thousands of on-demand titles provided by each channel in Philo’s lineup.
Learn more about Philo’s on-demand library here.
Free 7-day TrialTry Free
Although a little more expensive, Sling TV’s skinny bundles offer a wider range of basic cable channels including ESPN and several cable news networks.
The Orange and Blue subscription plans differ in features and channel lineup. Getting the combination plan will give you the most complete cable channel lineup to go with your local broadcast HDTV channels.
New subscriber special
1 simultaneous stream
Great Value$40.00/ month
Fox, NBC, CNN, MSNBC
New subscriber special
3 simultaneous streams
|Sling Orange + Blue|
New subscriber special
4* simultaneous streams
Learn more about Sling TV’s pricing and packages here.
Sling Orange focuses on Disney-owned content while Sling Blue carries channels from Fox and NBC. In reality, about two-thirds of each plan’s lineup overlaps which makes getting the discounted Orange+Blue plan a lot more popular.
You can tailor the channel lineups even further by subscribing to Sling TV’s add-on packages. The Lifestyle Extra, for example, will add content providers like the Cooking Channel, Hallmark and BET.
Learn more about Sling TV’s channel lineup here.
You can get the Sling TV app on these devices:
- Living room devices: Amazon Fire TV, Android TV, Apple TV, Chromecast, Facebook Portal, Roku and TiVo Stream
- Smart TVs and Blu-ray players: Models based on Android TV, Amazon Fire TV and Roku. Also, certain models from LG and Samsung.
- Mobile devices and tablets: Amazon Fire tablets, Android and iOS.
- Game consoles: Xbox One and Oculus Go.
- Desktop browsers: Chrome and Edge.
For more information about Sling TV device support, click here.
Only one device at a time will work with ESPN and other channels unique to Sling Orange. Three devices can be streaming Sling Blue’s lineup simultaneously.
Learn more about Sling TV’s simultaneous streaming here.
The standard ten-hour capacity of Sling TV’s cloud DVR can be upgraded to fifty hours with a monthly fee.
Learn more about Sling TV’s DVR here.
Each channel contributes on-demand content to Sling TV’s library.
Learn more about Sling TV’s on-demand library here.
Stream Live TV at the Best PriceTry Sling
Top Cable Providers in Los Angeles
Although cable companies have been losing customers for several years, they are still the only way to get all local broadcast channels and regional sports channels. But getting that content means putting up with high prices, long-term contracts and hidden fees. These are the cable companies serving the Los Angeles area in 2020.
Charter Spectrum is the only cable provider most Angelinos can get. Its service area stretches from Ojai down to Orange County and from Venice to San Bernardino.
Charter Spectrum Contract Terms
Although Spectrum lists its cable TV plans separately, the pricing is based on twelve-month contracts bundled with internet and phone services. Of course, the pricing Spectrum quotes isn’t what you’ll actually pay. Activation fees, broadcast surcharges, equipment rental fees, taxes and early termination fees are charged separately.
Charter Spectrum Plans and Pricing
Of all the cable providers, Spectrum’s plans are the most straightforward. You get more when you pay more. Once the twelve-month contract expires, monthly pricing will rise to whatever the prevailing rate may be at the time.
Spectrum Select: This plan costs $45 per month and delivers as many as 220 channels in the LA region.
Spectrum Silver: For $70 per month, you expand the lineup to 285 channels including ESPN, regional sports networks like Spectrum SportsNet and the premium content providers HBO and Showtime.
Spectrum Gold: The $90 monthly fee for this 340-channel subscription also gets you various Starz channels.
AT&T’s fiber optic internet service is available in neighborhoods all over the Greater Los Angeles region. If it’s available in your neighborhood, then you can bundle your internet service with AT&T TV. This shouldn’t be confused with the AT&T TV Now streaming service. Instead, AT&T TV reproduces the entire cable experience with large lineups, broad support for local and regional channels and complicated contract terms.
AT&T TV Contract Terms
AT&T’s best pricing is based on two-year contracts, paperless billing and bundles with AT&T’s internet service. You have to use AT&T’s dedicated streaming box. With good credit, AT&T will include the first device for free. Otherwise, you have to pay $120 upfront. If you want additional devices for up to two other TVs in the house, you’ll have to pay $120 for each device.
The quoted pricing does not include local broadcast fees, regional sports fees, other fees or taxes.
AT&T TV Plans and Pricing
The quoted prices you’ll see on AT&T’s website are the most confusing. When you bundle AT&T TV with internet service, you’ll be paying a slightly higher price for up to three months. Then you’ll pay the quoted price for twelve months. Then you’ll pay whatever the “official” rate is for the rest of the contract. If you don’t do the bundle, then you’ll pay the initial rate for twelve months and the official rate for the remainder of the contract.
Entertainment: This plan comes with ~65 of the most popular lifestyle, entertainment, news and sports channels. You also get LA’s local broadcast and public access channels. The promoted rate is $50 per month, but the initial rate is $60 per month. Right now the official monthly rate is $93, but it may be higher when that change kicks in.
Choice: This plan comes with ~90 channels and access to HBO Max. The lineup includes regional sports networks, the MLB Network and NBA TV as well as popular channels like Travel and The Weather Channel. The promoted rate is $55 per month, the initial rate is $65 and the official rate is $110.
Xtra: You get ~120 channels and access to HBO Max. In addition to the channels in the Choice plan, you get more than two dozen lifestyle and sports channels like Great American Country, Oxygen and Fox Sports 2. The promoted rate is $65, the initial rate is $75 and the official rate is $124.
Ultimate: The ~130 channels in this plan include HBO Max. It adds the various Starz genre channels as well as TUDN’s Spanish-language content. The promoted rate is $70 per month, the initial rate is $80 and the official rate is $135.
Premier: With ~140 channels, including HBO Max, this is the most complete offer from AT&T TV. However, all you’re really getting are the East Coast versions of HBO, Starz and Showtime plus Hallmark Movies. The promoted rate is $120 per month, the initial rate is $130 and the official rate is $183.
All four plans include access to a five-hundred-hour cloud DVR and a three-device limit on simultaneous streaming.
Cox’s presence in California is strongest in Orange County and the San Diego area, but it does serve a small portion of Greater Los Angeles. People living in southern San Pedro and a corner of Palos Verdes Hills will find Cox is their only cable option.
Cox Contract Terms
Cox’s quoted prices are based on twelve-month contracts. Activation fees, equipment rental fees, taxes, broadcast surcharges and regional sports surcharges are charged separately.
The Cox TV Starter plan does not require Cox’s Contour TV cable box and the associated rental fees. However, that will limit you to local digital or broadcast channels.
Cox Plans and Pricing
Cox only offers two stand-alone TV plans. When you bundle TV with other services like internet and phone, you can get more channels for higher prices.
Cox TV Starter: The $25 monthly fee lets you watch more than 75 channels. Almost all of these are local broadcast stations, public access digital cable channels and home shopping channels.
Cox Contour TV: For $70 per month, you get more than 140 channels. ESPN and LA-area regional sports channels are part of the plan. So are the popular basic cable channels people are used to with cable. Once the contract expires, prices revert to the standard rate which is now $91 per month.
Cox Contour TV Ultimate: Only available bundled with Cox Internet, this plan has more than 250 channels. You get sports-specific channels like MLB Network and NFL Network. You also get premium channels like HBO Max, Showtime, Epix and Starz.
Satellite TV in Los Angeles
If you don’t get your internet service from the cable companies, then you may want to consider one of the satellite TV providers. Frontier Communications, for example, promotes Dish Networks to its fiber optics internet subscribers.
The original satellite TV company, Dish Network continues to deliver high-def content from space. Its range of Hopper set top boxes offer DVR recording, app compatibility and other features.
Dish Network Contract Terms
All of Dish Network’s subscriptions are based on two-year contracts, but the price is guaranteed for the life of the contract. The quoted prices do not include hardware and other fees. There’s also a gotcha that you need to watch out for. The subscriptions include three-month trials of Showtime, Starz and the Dish Movie Pack. If you don’t cancel the trial within ninety days, another $30 charge will appear on your monthly bill.
Dish Networks Plans and Pricing
In addition to the live TV channels, all of these plans include access to on-demand content and 70 Sirius XM music channels. Installation is free and may be available the day after you order.
America’s Top 120: For $60 per month, you get 190 channels and 28,000 on-demand movies. The lineup includes local broadcast and public access panels plus a broad selection of entertainment, lifestyle, news and kids channels. ESPN, Disney Channel and USA are part of the lineup.
America’s Top 120 Plus: For $75 per month, Dish supplements the Top 120 lineup with regional sports networks.
America’s Top 200: For $85 per month, you get 240 channels and 35,000 on-demand movies. You’ll get big-league sports networks from MLB, NFL, NBA and NHL. Bravo, A&E and Sundance are among the additional entertainment and lifestyle channels you get with this plan.
America’s Top 250: For $95 per month, you get 290 channels and 36,000 on-demand titles. The additional channels are heavily weighted towards movie content from providers like TCM and TMC.
A long-standing partnership with the NFL makes DirecTV attractive to football fans. NFL Sunday Ticket lets you watch every out-of-market football game during the regular season.
DirecTV Contract Terms
DirecTV requires a twelve-month contract. Once the contract ends, you will be billed at the prevailing rate which may be higher than today’s. All pricing assumes that you use paperless billing. Regional sports fees, broadcast surcharges, equipment rentals and other fees are not included in DirecTV’s quoted prices.
Like Dish Network, DirecTV includes trial subscriptions to premium content providers like HBO Max, Cinemax and Showtime. If you do not cancel these within three months, up to $57 in charges will appear on your monthly bill.
If you cancel your contract, DirecTV will charge a $20 early termination fee for each month remaining on the contract.
DirecTV Plans and Pricing
The pricing DirecTV quotes includes one HD DVR device. You can add more devices and subscribe to add-on packages during the sign-up process.
Select: You get more than 155 channels for $60 per month. Today’s prevailing rate is now $85. Regional sports networks are not part of the Select plan.
Entertainment: You get more than 160 channels for $65 per month. Today’s prevailing rate is $97. ESPN and the Fox and NBC sports networks appear in the listing at this tier.
Choice: You get more than 185 channels for $70 per month. Today’s prevailing rate is $115. The listing includes every ESPN channel, second-tier lifestyle channels and channels from the NFL and NBA. NFL Sunday Ticket and a free year of HBO Max are part of this plan.
Xtra: You get more than 235 channels for $80 per month. Today’s prevailing rate is $131. Most of these are additional lifestyle channels and entertainment channels like FXM.
Ultimate: You get more than 250 channels for $85 per month. Today’s prevailing rate is $142. Starz Encore channels are part of the lineup. NFL Sunday Ticket and a free year of HBO Max are part of this plan.
Premier: You get more than 330 channels for $135 per month. Today’s prevailing rate is $197. This is the only plan that includes access to regional sports networks without an add-on plan. Cinemax, HBO, Showtime and Starz are included with the subscription.
Chris Casper is a former tech industry product manager who escaped from California for New Mexico. Now he writes about science and tech while searching for the perfect green chile sauce.