What Are the Best Home Internet and TV Services?
No one matches Google Fiber, but some may be close enough.
CREDIT: Clockwise: Verizon, Comcast, Time Warner Cable, AT&T
When Google announced a supercharged fiber-optic Internet and TV service two years ago, many hoped the move would spur faster — and cheaper — Internet and TV options elsewhere in the country.
But, while some providers have upped their game, for most Americans, little has changed. Google Fiber remains the holy grail both in terms of speed, cost and options.
Google Gigabit + Fiber TV offers insanely fast Internet speeds and a souped-up TV package. It provides Internet bandwidth of 1 gigabit per second for downloads and uploads. Its DVR can record eight TV shows at once and store up to 500 hours of HDTV.[See also: 10 Most Awkward Technology Terms]
That all sounds great, but Google Gigabit + Fiber TV is limited to Kansas City, Kan., and Kansas City, Mo. In addition, Google has announced plans to equip Austin, Texas, and Provo, Utah.
What Internet and TV services can I get today?
In the real world, you can't yet match the Internet speeds and DVR options of Google Gigabit + Fiber TV, except in a few areas like Chattanooga, Tenn. But you can get some close competitors all over the country — for a price. (Details may vary a bit depending on where you live.)
Here are a few top-tier options:
AT&T: Max Turbo Internet and U-verse U450 TV
- Internet: 24 megabits per second (Mbps) downloads/3Mbps uploads
- Channels: 440, including Cinemax, HBO
- DVR: One whole-home DVR, records four channels at once, 65 hours HD
- Availability: 22 states
- Price: $127/month for 12 months
Comcast: Xfinity Extreme 105 Internet and Digital Premier TV on X1 Platform
- Internet: 105 Mbps down/20 Mbps up
- Channels: "More than 300," including AMC, ESPN, HBO and Showtime
- DVR: One, records two channels, 60 hours HD
- Availability: Select cities in 8 states and Washington, D.C., with nationwide rollout planned by end of 2013
- Price: $239/month (varies by market; includes Xfinity Voice)
- (A 305/65 Mbps service for the Northeast is available for $299/month.)
Time Warner: Signature Home package
- Internet: 50 Mbps down/5 Mbps up
- Channels: 350, premium channels cost extra
- DVR: Two, each records two channels, 150 hours HD total
- Also includes phone service
- Availability: 29 states
- Price: $199/month
Verizon FiOS 300 and Ultimate HD
- Internet: 300 Mbps down/65 Mbps up
- Channels: 385, including ESPN, NFL RedZone, Showtime
- DVR: One, records two channels, 60 hours of HD
- Availability: 12 states and Washington, D.C.
- Price: $318/month
- (Opting for 150Mbps Internet lowers total price to $165/month.)
And for comparison...
Google: Gigabit + Fiber TV
- Speed: 1,000 Mbps down/1,000 Mbps up
- Channels: 225, including HBO, Showtime and other premium channels
- DVR: One, records eight channels, 500 hours HDTV
- Availability: Kansas City, Kan., and Kansas City, Mo.(Coming soon to Provo, Utah, and Austin, Texas.)
- Price: $120/month (add $40 for all premium channels)
[This is an update of an article published Aug 3, 2012.]