Spectrum TV Essentials Review - Live TV Streaming Service

Everything You Need to Know About Spectrum TV Essentials

How to Subscribe to Spectrum TV Essentials

Spectrum TV Essentials is a live TV streaming service that includes live entertainment, lifestyle, and news channels for only $15 / month. The 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 The Weather Channel, Bloomberg TV, and some of those in the Philo Plus tier ($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!, TNT, TBS, USA Network, and major sports networks like ESPN, FS1, and NBCSN.

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.

DVR and Simultaneous Streams

Unfortunately, it does not appear that Spectrum TV Essentials includes a DVR and only offers a single simultaneous stream.

Need an Unlimited DVR?


Unfortunately, Spectrum TV Essentials doesn’t include a DVR. You can subscribe to Philo for only $16 to get access to nearly all the same channels and an Unlimited DVR.



Spectrum TV Essentials is compatible with Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, and Xbox; Android, iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch mobile devices; and computer browsers.


Live TV

Spectrum TV Essentials provides live streaming of many major entertainment and news channels.

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

You won’t get live locals, regional sports networks, or major sports networks like ESPN, FS1, or NBCSN.

On Demand

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

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.

TV Everywhere

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

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 Video

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

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).

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

Stereo Audio

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

Devices and Apps

Device Compatibility

Spectrum TV Essentials is compatible with Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, iPhone/iPad, Android Phone/Tablet, Roku, Xbox, and Web Browsers.

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


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.

“TV Essentials”
Free Trial
Bravo -
Cartoon Network -
Comedy Central
Disney Channel -
Disney Junior -
E! -
Food Network
Fox News -
Freeform -
FX -
Investigation Discovery
Paramount Network
Syfy -
Travel Channel
truTV -
USA Network -
WE tv

Local Channels

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

“TV Essentials”
Free Trial
Fox -
Telemundo -
The CW -
Univision -

Sports Channels

National Sports Channels

In order to keep monthly pricing low, Spectrum TV Essentials doesn’t include access to any sports-exclusive channels like ESPN, FS1, or NBCSN.

“TV Essentials”
Free Trial
Fox Sports 1 -
Fox Sports 2 -
NBC Sports Network -

Regional Sports Networks (RSNs)

Spectrum TV Essentials doesn’t include access to regional sports networks (RSNs) as part of their service.

“TV Essentials”
Free Trial
beIN Sports -
Eleven Sports -
Fox Soccer Plus -
Golf Channel -
Olympic Channel -
Tennis Channel -

Premium Channels

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

“TV Essentials”
Free Trial
Cinemax -
Showtime -
Starz -

The Streamable Pages