Cord Cutting Guides, News, and Reviews
CenturyLink vs Spectrum
August 26, 2020
CenturyLink and Charter Spectrum both offer simple pricing that doesn't creep up over time like other cable and DSL companies. That said, Spectrum currently offers overall faster speeds, and has unlimited data usage for Netflix junkies.
There’s a lot to consider when you’re picking an Internet and TV provider. How expensive is each service? Which provider is better for internet? How about for TV? Asking these questions is an important part of the decision-making process.
On this page, we’ll take a look at two popular providers: Centurylink and Charter.
Centurylink offers high-speed internet as well as TV coverage through both DirecTV and Prism.
Charter offers generally more affordable service and higher speeds, with great bundle deals and more comprehensive sports offerings.
Each service has its pros and cons, so we’ll be going over some of the main differences below to help you get a sense of which provider is right for you.
Centurylink, although still on a DSL network in many places, actually delivers faster speeds when compared to Charter in areas with a fiber network. That said, very few customers have access to this, so Spectrum is still faster overall for most of us.
CenturyLink offers a comprehensive TV service through DirecTV, although this requires the installation of a satellite Dish.
Charter’s main advantages are affordability and flexibility. They offer contract-free plans don't cap data, making them a popular choice for cord cutters.
When comparing internet services of two different providers, it’s helpful to take a look at their network infrastructure to try to get a sense of their capabilities to offer quick, reliable internet speeds.
Centurylink is largely still on DSL. DSL, or Digital Subscriber Line, uses existing telephone wires to deliver internet content. This speed is much faster than dial-up, and also doesn’t tie up your telephone line.
Charter, on the other hand, uses a cable network to deliver their internet. This connection uses the coaxial cable that delivers television to your home, and was previously the gold standard of internet speed before the advent of fiber optic connections.
Although Centurylink is largely made up of DSL, they do offer Fiber in certain areas which pushes their overall speed higher than Charter’s cable network.
Both Charter and Centurylink offer bundles such as double and triple play packages. Both services offer discounted pricing with these bundles, but Charter pulls far ahead in terms of value.
In some cases, you actually pay less by bundling two services than you would by paying for just internet. It’s a great deal and something that Centurylink just can’t compete with.
I really feel that Centurylink pulls ahead when it comes to TV service. With a great DVR packed with features, support for 4K programming, and a wide selection of channels, it’s clear that it’s a quality service.
Out of these two options, Centurylink comes out on top for sports. The sports pack features a ton of channels, and the Genie DVR adds some neat functionality that Charter lacks.
Charter offers DVR service for up to four different rooms for one low monthly fee, which is a nice gesture. Unfortunately, there’s nothing particularly notable about the features that the company’s DVR actually offers.
Centurylink, on the other hand, uses the TiVo Genie for their DirecTV service. TiVo has a long history of providing some of the most cutting-edge DVR systems, and the Genie is no exception. It’s jam-packed with many useful features and really sets Centurylink apart from the competition.
Centurylink has the advantage when it comes to internet, with speeds up to 1 Gbps in certain areas. The TV service is also more fully-featured, while the Genie DVR makes controlling your TV and recording your favorite shows a breeze.
While Centurylink comes out ahead in most areas, Charter does have an advantage in that the prices are generally lower and there are no obligations. Having no contract is a helpful perk for renters and students, as it allows you to easily cancel service if you have to move. It’s also a good sign that the company believes in their service enough to offer it “without strings,” so you can simply cancel if you don’t like it rather than be stuck with a multi-year contract and termination fees.
Basic equipment and installation is relatively similar in most cases, but is a little more involved if you have fiber optic internet from Centurylink. Keep in mind, too, that DirecTV service from Centurylink requires the installation of a satellite Dish.
Generally, outside of fiber service and DirecTV, you should be able to install most equipment yourself — provided your home is already hooked up to the network.
If professional installation is required, there’s usually an associated fee for both providers.
Overall, Charter Spectrum has a number of advantages that set it apart from CenturyLink. While CenturyLink offers DSL internet which is capable of good speeds, they don’t have the network infrastructure to provide maximum speeds as high as Spectrum.
Charter may be a better option if Fiber from Centurylink isn’t available in your area or your budget is a concern, but in general, is less fully-featured than other providers.
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