Optimum TV Review — How Does it Stack Up?

At first glance, Optimum TV is a solid choice if you want to choose from a vast number of channels at a reasonable price. Keep in mind, though, that the service comes with a lot of hidden fees. Also, one of Optimum’s advantages is that you can record up to 15 programs at once using the Multi-Room DVR. Still, the service is somewhat limited in terms of availability.

Why you might love it:

  • There is no contract
  • Allows you to DVR up to 15 programs at once
  • Provides you with exclusive New York programming
  • Won an Emmy award for “Pioneering Work in Utilization and Deployment of DVR.”

Why you might want to avoid it:

  • Excessive hidden fees
  • Restricted availability

Available Packages

What is arguably Optimum TV’s biggest advantage is that all of its packages offer a vast number of channels. Below you can find a detailed description of three of the many packages available with it.

Optimum Core TV Package

The Core Package allows you to enjoy all TV essentials at a reasonable price of $59.95 per month. If you choose this package, you will receive more than 220 channels, including favorites like Food Network, Cartoon Network, and ESPN. What makes this a good choice is that you do not need to sign a contract to get the package.

Optimum Select TV Package

This package is ideal if you want more family or movie channels, and you will like it if you are a sports fan, too. The Select Package can be purchased for $74.95 per month. With it, you get more than 340 channels, which is nearly double the Core Package channel selection. If you choose this package, you will be able to enjoy Starz Encore HD, Science Channel HD, NFL Network HD, and many more.

Optimum Premier TV Package

Should you opt for a higher-tier package, the Premier Package might be the right decision for you. While it definitely comes at a higher price compared to the other packages described above (Premier costs $104.95 each month), it offers you a vast range of channels that will keep you entertained 24/7.

As this package offers more than 420 channels, including premium channels HBO, Starz, and Showtime, it allows you to opt out of add-ons that might considerably increase your monthly expenses. With a low-tier package, add-ons amount to as much as $35.97 a month. Moreover, the Premier Package already comes with the Sports & Entertainment Pak, which would otherwise cost you $10 each month.

You should know that Optimum TV Premier Package requires a digital cable box, CableCARD, or HD digital cable box. Otherwise, you won’t be able to get the TV service. In addition, not all channels that come with the Premier Package are available in all areas.

Channel Selection

Optimum’s greatest advantage is that it has a considerable amount of available channels compared to other cable providers. What’s more, it offers comparatively lower prices than others. But that is not all – should you choose the Premier or Select Package, you will get several Premium Channels as well as their HD equivalents, all included in the monthly price.

Of course, you would not want to choose a TV package without knowing what channels it includes, right? For this purpose, Optimum offers a surprisingly convenient channel lineup guide that allows you to familiarize yourself with the channels included in each package.

You should keep in mind that Optimum offers its customers famous channels, such as FX, ESPN2, etc. even in its cheapest packages. Many cable providers do not offer such perks, which makes Optimum a rather reasonable choice.

The cable provider does not leave out music fans’ needs either, as there are dozens of music channels available. On top of that, Optimum TV provides customers with more than 3,000 free Music Choice videos available on-demand. This makes it a leading provider in this field. As a downside, though, there are only 50 stations available.

As Optimum TV is based in the surrounding area of NYC, it broadcasts various local channels that other cable providers do not. Furthermore, it offers a selection of more than 20 unique international packages. If you have relatives who speak a different language, or you are not an English speaker, you can rely on Optimum to keep you entertained. It is also a great choice if you want to be aware of what is going on around the globe.

HD Channel Selection

To get HD channels, you will need a specific cable box. With that in mind, Optimum offers an HD version of every SD channel for free. What’s more, it has HD game broadcasts of every sports team in New York, including Rangers, Yankees, Jets, etc.

It is hard to put an exact number on the available HD channels with Optimum, but that seems to be the case with many cable providers.

How Much Does It Cost?

Optimum TV comes with a very decent standardized pricing but beware of the supplementary fees. Any offered package comes with a Broadcast/Sports additional charge of $14.96, and you have to pay that every month. To top it off, you need to pay $11 for a cable box receiver. Last but not least, there is an additional $17.99 per month for Optimum’s Cloud DVR service. Overall, any package plus DVR will cost you $43.95 a month, not including the package price.

With that in mind, the service’s pricing seems much less attractive. Of course, this is not the only cable provider that tries to hide some fees. As a matter of fact, most cable providers do it. So, if that bothers you, you can always utilize the equipment you already have as a means of saving some money. In that case, however, you will suffer some limitations in terms of features provided within Optimum TV.

Overall, Optimum’s pricing, albeit far from transparent, actually conforms to the pricing of other cable providers and their hidden fees. 

Extra Fees

As mentioned, a lot of cable providers tend to use hidden fees to get the most out of the customer. With this in mind, it’s important to consider Optimum’s extra fees.

  • Installment fee
  • Cable box receiver fee
  • Additional fees for your favorite programs

You pay the installment fee only once, yet it costs you as high as $49. As for the cable box receiver fee, it amounts to $11 for each cable box receiver you put in your home. Keep in mind that every TV in your home needs a cable box if you want to receive service on it.

Last but not least, this cable provider charges you between $9.99 and $14.99 to provide you with access to TV channels like SHOWTIME®, HBO®, or Cinemax®. If you are a sports fan too, you might want to consider the Sports & Entertainment Pak. It gives you access to channels like ESPNU, NFL RedZone, etc. at $10 per month.

Necessary Equipment

As mentioned, you need a cable box receiver for any TV you want to receive service on. The cable box device comes at a price of $11 per month. To save some money, you might want to choose CableCARD, which allows you to watch some basic channels. However, the CableCARD limits services you are paying for, so it is a rather inconvenient choice.

Digital Video Recording (DVR)

Optimum is an Emmy Award winner for high-level multi-room recording, guaranteeing you that its DVR equipment is as good as it gets. The multi-room recording feature allows you to watch a recording in one room and continue it in another. Optimum’s DVR equipment also lets you pause or rewind live programming. On top of that, it even allows you to record complete seasons of TV shows.

At the time of writing, the cable provider features only Cloud DVR. Undoubtedly, this makes your options rather limited.

On the bright side, you can freely record up to 15 programs simultaneously using Optimum’s DVR. There is a limitation on the number of hours you can record, though. With this cable provider, you can only record 300 hours of SD programming and as little as 75 hours of HD programming. Ultimately, this creates the necessity to maintain and even delete content from your recording library on a regular basis.

An additional bonus of Optimum’s DVR is that it does not restrict the number of TVs that can be connected to it. To compare, with most cable providers, you will usually have a limit of about ten devices.

Characteristics and Features

Optimum relies on a coaxial cable technology to provide its services, which makes it far more reliable than providers using fiber-optic cable technology to broadcast. Additionally, it comes with a lot of extra perks to cater to all of your needs.

To begin with, it has a “Power On” feature. With it, you can set your TV to start on a particular channel every time you turn it on. Second, Optimum boasts an “Optimum Photo” feature that allows you to transform your TV into a digital picture display.

Last but not least, there is an “Enhanced TV” feature that provides you with news, sports, and even weather updates. On top of that, this feature also has perks like shopping, bill pay, etc.

While most of you might find all these perks rather unnecessary, it is nice to know that the cable provider has decided to go the extra mile to satisfy your needs. There’s even a feature called Optimum TV to GO, available on-demand.

Supported Devices

Optimum allows you to watch your favorite TV shows using the so-called Optimum App. You can use it not only to watch live TV but also control your TV and even schedule programming. What’s more, with Optimum App, you can watch on-demand channels and manage your DVR equipment. As a downside, though, the app does not allow you to download TV shows.

The app is available for Android, Amazon, and iOS devices. When it comes to app design, sadly, it is rather outdated but easy to use nevertheless. In general, Android users tend to get the most outdated design.

Customer Support

Overall, Optimum has excellent customer support. Many users tend to praise the cable provider’s personal attitude. Furthermore, Optimum boasts in-person interactions with customers, which is good news, and it resolves customer problems quickly.

As for the company website, it is easy to use and has an incredibly convenient design. Getting all the information you need from Optimum’s website is as easy as pie.

Finally, it’s good to know that Optimum got a 62/100 score from the ASCI in 2018. Additionally, according to a survey by CableTV.com, Optimum is a nearly perfect cable provider. The result is more than impressive — Optimum received almost four out of five stars.

The Verdict

Having dissected Optimum TV thoroughly, it seems that it provides outstanding services. As there are many hidden fees, however, the cable provider might not be the ideal solution for every customer.

Should you decide to have two TVs with unlimited access, Optimum is quite a bargain. Still, hidden fees stack up for each new connected device. And if you want to add more channels or extra movie packages, be prepared to pay quite a sum.

To make matters worse, Optimum has rather restricted availability. The service focuses on New York, Connecticut, and New Jersey. In general, Long Island, Western Connecticut, and Northern New Jersey get by far the best coverage. Other areas, however, might receive poor or no coverage at all.

With this in mind, Optimum is a good choice if you live somewhere in the tri-state area of New York. But if you need to relocate, prepare to find a new cable provider.

In conclusion, you should always consult a sales agent before purchasing Optimum TV. A sales agent can help you clarify all the fees you will need to pay. What’s more, they can provide more information on Optimum’s coverage in your area.

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