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Find the Best Cable Companies and Satellite TV Providers in San Diego, CA

When shopping for cable or satellite TV service, price is usually the first consideration. Other factors include service availability and reliability in your area, how much equipment is required and channel lineup. We researched the best cable companies and satellite TV providers in San Diego to help find an in-home entertainment provider with the shows you watch.

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Choosing a cable company or satellite TV provider in San Diego

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Picking cable and satellite TV service in San Diego can be overwhelming. Companies have subtle differences, so it’s crucial to research your decision before committing. Some factors you should look at include:

  • Channel availability: If you watch certain shows or sports, make sure the provider you’re considering carries them.
  • Contracts: Many TV providers in San Diego require service contracts, so make sure to ask about cancellation policies. If you sign a contract, ask if the rate is locked in and be aware of any possible price increases.
  • Reliability: Satellite and cable TV service in San Diego is highly reliable. Areas that freeze in winter, such as communities in the mountains, might experience rare satellite outages because of snow and ice accumulation on home equipment. If you have neighbors with satellite or cable TV service, ask which company they use and how reliable the service is.
  • Service bundling: Most cable companies in San Diego offer bundle deals for TV, internet and phone service. New customers typically get the best package deals.

Types of cable and satellite TV

Satellite and cable companies in San Diego offer a variety of channel packages to appeal to different interests and price points. When shopping for a provider, take into account the price and your viewing habits — if you mainly watch shows on major networks, you may not need a 175-channel package.

  • Basic cable is the least expensive package. It includes local channel and affiliates of national networks like NBC and CBS. Some companies may add some extra pay channels.
  • Extended basic packages have an expanded offering of some of the most popular pay channels. Customers can also pay a la carte to add sports packages or movie channels to the lineup.
  • Premium channel packages are the most expensive option and have the widest variety of channels, including specialty networks like Food Network and Syfy. These packages usually include a variety of movies and sports channels.
  • Video-on-demand libraries let you watch a selection of movies and shows at any time. Many satellite and cable TV companies offer these along with live programming. Many movies are free, though some are available on a pay-per-view basis.

Cable vs. satellite TV

Satellite and cable TV providers offer similar services — for San Diego residents, the main difference is how the companies transmit the signal to your home. Cable companies use a physical connection that requires you to live within a company’s service area, while satellite TV services transmit a wireless signal customers receive using a dish and is available nearly anywhere in the U.S.

Those who live in the backcountry and mountains in the eastern part of the county benefit from satellite’s wider availability, but those who live in apartments in San Diego may not have a convenient location to install the required south-facing dish. Satellite TV service generally has a lower cost per channel, more HD options and better picture quality.

Cable TV installation is typically straightforward and only requires you or a technician connect a cable box to your television and an external cable. Cable companies also tend to offer shorter contracts or month-to-month subscriptions.

Check for providers who serve your area with the California Cable and Telecommunications Association’s website.

Alternatives to cable and satellite TV

Internet-based television services are becoming increasingly popular with many San Diego residents. These providers offer live programming options and video-on-demand subscription services through an app or internet browser.

  • Live programming options, like DIRECTVNOW, Sling TV and YouTube TV, provide service similar to traditional cable and satellite TV providers and let you watch live TV online. These companies usually offer service in tiers, which allows you to receive additional channels at a higher cost.
  • Video-on-demand services, such as Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, allow you to choose specific shows and movies to watch on your schedule. These options generally cost between $5 and $15 a month, and many San Diego residents subscribe to them to complement traditional TV service.

These services do not require any physical equipment from the provider, but you must have internet access and a compatible smart TV, tablet, smartphone or other device. Most internet-based TV packages offer month-to-month subscriptions and do not require a long-term commitment.

How much does cable and satellite TV cost in San Diego?

Satellite and cable TV subscribers pay an average of $85 to $100 a month for TV service, but prices in San Diego vary depending on the channel package, additional features and the number of connected televisions. Basic cable costs between $20 and $30 a month, but more extensive packages may cost up to $150 or more.

Packages from satellite provider DISH Network start at $59.99 a month for 120 channels with a locked-in rate with a two-year contract. DIRECTV begins at $35 a month for 155+ channels with a two-year contract, but the price is only guaranteed for the first year and may increase dramatically in the second.

Installation fees run between $50 and $200, but companies often waive these charges for new customers. Satellite dish and cable box equipment rental is typically included in the package price, but additional costs of between $5 and $15 per device each month might apply for DVR equipment rental.

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Mediacom Cable

Mediacom is a cable television provider that uses fiber optic cables to deliver TV and internet service. The company’s Xtream platform integrates cable and internet into one platform for a seamless experience. San Diego customers are impressed by the company’s competitive prices, and many people comment on the friendly employees and helpful customer service.

Mediacom Cable Learn More (800) 479-2082