If you are a television junkie and want to stay on top of your favorite sporting events, news shows, sitcoms, and dramas while also retaining access to high-speed Internet, you should consider bundling your service.

By choosing from an array of options offered by reputable companies within the field, you should be able to settle on one that will work well for the entire family. You will, of course, want to consult with family members so that the TV package offers up everyone’s favorite channels.

Here are some things to think about when moving to a new TV/Internet package.

Consider Your Must-Have Channels

Choosing a cable TV package will usually revolve around core channels that are considered “must-haves” by various members of the household. Sports junkies, for example, might revolt if they do not have access to the following:

  1. ESPN
  2. ESPN2
  3. Fox Sports
  4. MLB Network
  5. NFL Network
  6. NHL Network

Many companies offer broader sports packages that can be tacked on for a certain amount of extra dollars each month. Though baseball fans who are living outside of their favorite team’s home area, for example, might want a package that will give them access to out-of-market games, this will cost a bit more.

You might also have certain channels that you watch much more than others and that you can’t do without. Spike TV, HGTV, and TruTV, for examples, are channels that are geared toward specialized audiences. Look over potential packages carefully so you know exactly which channels you will be getting.

How Bundling Works

Bundling is most viable for families that need and want both a standard cable package and a standard Internet package. Although standalone plans are available, most families that have even a moderate interest in technology and entertainment will want both TV and Internet, especially if they are in the habit of entertaining friends and relatives on a regular basis. A good deal could save you more than a $1,000 every year in technology costs, which is money that can be spent in other areas of the household.

Cable, DSL, and Fiber Optic

Broadband Internet service, which is available nearly everywhere these days, is available as DSL (digital subscriber line), cable, and fiber optic. Cable offers high-speed Internet that is much faster than any DSL service. With download speeds of between 100 and 300 Mbps, cable Internet generally offers data speeds that are well above what most households need. Cable is much more reliable than DSL and more widely available than fiber optic, which makes it a viable middle option and perfect for bundling with most television packages.

Exploring Packages

There are a wide variety of companies offering cable TV and Internet packages. These include the following:

  1. Xfinity
  2. Time Warner Cable
  3. Charter
  4. Cox

A quick Google search will tell you which providers are available in your area. All the major traditional companies offer a variety of different packages, some of which can be personalized for your family. You might also visit the most recent American Customer Satisfaction Index for more information on how each company has performed in the customer service department.

High customer satisfaction is measured in several different ways, but the following are likely to be most important to you and your family:

  1. Help with billing details or discrepancies
  2. Limits on hidden fees
  3. Assistance with tech troubleshooting

Companies that offer an easy way to resolve problems with billing are likely to make the experience that much more pleasant.

Contract Terms

Be aware of possible contract terms as you are deciding which package to get. In some cases, cable companies will offer you a very large discount during the first year, but this will be offset by a contract that requires you to stick with the deal for a certain number of years. Go over the fine print in detail before you make a final decision. This is a good way to spot any add-on fees. If you have committed to a triple bundle that includes phone service, you may be paying a certain flat rate each month for the phone, even if you don’t plan on using it much.

Number of Cable Boxes/Devices

Before choosing a package, you should also be aware of which rooms are going to have cable hook-ups. In most cases, separate cable boxes will be needed for each TV, and cable may need to be run to rooms that were not previously equipped for televisions. A high-speed Internet router will likely be set up in a central location and equipped with a password, which is usually spelled out on the bottom of the box. Technicians will explain how the boxes work and can help connect them to your new HDTV if needed.

Ultimately, choosing a cable TV and Internet package does not have to break the bank. With a general idea of your TV-viewing and Internet-surfing habits, you can select a package that will work well for you and your family going forward.