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Spectrum TV Essentials Review

Spectrum TV Essentials is a live TV streaming service that includes live entertainment, lifestyle, and news channels for only $15/month. This service is only available to Spectrum Internet customers.

It is most similar to Philo with entertainment channels from A&E Networks, AMC Networks, Discovery, Scripps Networks, Viacom — but also includes channels like Bloomberg TV and The Weather Channel, and some of those in Philo ($20) like American Heroes, Cooking Channel, and Destination America.

The service includes top cable channels like A&E, AMC, BET, Comedy Central, Discovery, HGTV, and Nickelodeon. You can see Spectrum TV Essentials’s full channel lineup below.

It is most notably missing Bravo, Disney Channel, E!, TBS, TNT, and USA Network, and major sports networks like ESPN, Fox Sports 1, and NBC Sports Network.

If you are looking to subscribe to a more full featured service today, we suggest checking out Hulu Live TV for a full streaming service or Philo for a similarly priced entertainment-only option with an Unlimited DVR.

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No Cloud DVR

Unfortunately, Spectrum TV Essentials does not include a DVR. The company plans to launch a Cloud DVR in the coming months, but it may be an additional fee.

Single Device Only

You can only watch content on one device at a time.

TV Everywhere Apps

If you prefer to watch if your favorite channel app, you can log-in with your Spectrum TV Essentials credentials.

On Demand

If you missed watching your favorite show live, you should be able to catch up by watching it On Demand.

No Parental Controls

There are no parental controls for Spectrum TV Essentials.

Only AT&T TV NOW, Hulu Live TV, and Sling TV have parental control features.

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Compatible Devices

Spectrum TV Essentials is compatible with these devices:

Spectrum TV Essentials is not compatible with Google Chromecast, Android TV, PlayStation, Nintendo, Samsung Smart TV, VIZIO Smart TV, or LG Smart TV.

  • Amazon Fire TV
  • Apple TV
  • Roku
  • iPhone/iPad
  • Android Phone/Tablet
  • Web Browsers
  • Xbox

  • Google Chromecast
  • Android TV
  • PlayStation
  • Nintendo
  • Samsung Smart TV
  • VIZIO Smart TV
  • LG Smart TV
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Spectrum TV Essentials provides live streaming of many major entertainment and news channels.

You’l receive 60 channels including A&E, AMC, BET, Comedy Central, Discovery, Hallmark, HGTV, and Nickelodeon.

You won’t get live locals, regional sports networks, or major sports networks like ESPN, Fox Sports 1, or NBC Sports Network.

Local Channels

Spectrum TV Essentials doesn’t offer any local channels like ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC, Telemundo, The CW, or Univision. In some markets you will get your local Spectrum News network.

Top Cable Channels

Spectrum TV Essentials offers top cable channels from A&E Networks, AMC Networks, Discovery/Scripps, Hallmark, and Viacom.

You get 18 of the top 35 cable channels as part of the TV Essentials package. The top 35 cable channels are listed below.

Sports Channels

In order to keep monthly pricing low, Spectrum TV Essentials doesn’t include access to any sports-exclusive channels like ESPN, Fox Sports 1, or NBC Sports Network.

Premium Channels

Spectrum TV Essentials doesn’t currently offer the ability to add premium channels.

Tech Specs

  • Most shows will stream in 720p HD.
  • Don’t expect Dolby Digital 5.1, but should have stereo audio.
  • Will offer adaptive streaming to match network connection.

720p HD
(Up to 1080p HD)

While most streams are available in 720p HD, some shows may stream in 1080p HD.

To reduce playback interruptions, Spectrum will adapt the stream quality to match your network connection.

Stereo Sound

Stereo Sound

It is unlikely Spectrum TV Essentials will offer Dolby Digital 5.1, but all shows and movies will stream with stream with stereo audio.

Streaming Reliability

On Demand Reliability


We recommend for these services having at least a 1.5 Mbps internet connection for standard definition content (480p).

For High Definition (HD) content, they require 3 Mbps (720p HD) or 6 Mbps (1080p HD).

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