CenturyLink provides a dependable Internet service that isn’t as fast as their cable and fiber competitors, but strives to make up for it with lock-in pricing and budget plans. (See my CenturyLink promotions page for current deals.)
As for TV, Prism TV is a television service offered to current and potential CenturyLink Fiber optic network customers – so if you aren’t interested in CenturyLink internet, then this might not be the product for you.
It’s run over the internet, which means it is more stable than satellite services, and it has a huge range of channels and goodies available for those who need their TV fix. The large range of channels and recording capabilities make it a good fit for families or multi-person households.
CenturyLink also offers TV service through a partnership with DirecTV.
Let’s take an in-depth look at CenturyLink Internet and Prism TV, so you can see whether it’ll be a good fit for your household.
Pros and Cons
- 340+ channels on offer, many in HD (at no extra cost), including fan faves like AMC, Cartoon Network, ESPN, HBO, MTV, and Showtime
- 3 users can stream different content on different devices (TVs, smartphones, tablets, games consoles) at the same time in the household
- Features Prism On Demand, where you can catch up on shows and movies in your own time
- Whole Home DVR, where multiple TV shows can be recorded and played all at once from the one device
- Prism on the Go, allows you to watch certain channels and On Demand shows away from home on your other devices, and control your DVR remotely
- Not available outside of CenturyLink’s Fiber optic network – meaning that some households can’t access the service
- Requires a fast and stable internet connection to work correctly
- Some people have experienced problems with customer service
CenturyLink Internet in a Nutshell
- Offers Service in: Arizona, Colorado, Washington, Minnesota, Florida, North Carolina, Oregon, Utah, Iowa, Nevada, New Mexico, Ohio, Missouri, Idaho, Texas, Nebraska, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Montana, Alabama, Arkansas, Indiana, Tennessee, South Dakota, Wyoming, North Dakota, New Jersey, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, South Carolina, Illinois, Georgia, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Maryland, New York and California
- Major Cities Covered: Las Vegas, NV, Phoenix, AZ, Minneapolis, MN, Denver, CO, Tucson, AZ, Seattle, WA, Saint Paul, MN, Albuquerque, NM, Portland, OR, Salt Lake City, UT, Colorado Springs, CO, Mesa, AZ, Omaha, NE, Aurora, CO, Spokane, WA, Vancouver, WA, Littleton, CO, Tacoma, WA, Naples, FL and Tallahassee, FL
- Residential Pricing: $45.00+ (See Latest Deals)
- Business Pricing: $54.97+
- Setup Service: (866) 963-6665
Prism TV Services Overview
Prism offers customers a choice of 4 different packages, Prism Essential, Prism Complete, Prism Preferred, and Prism Premium. Each is a 24 month contract and requires an existing CenturyLink internet service.
For customers without a CenturyLink service, this can be set up beforehand.
Professional installation is free for all packages, and all services offer Pay Per View and Video on Demand. Each package comes with HD channels, a whole-home DVR, and a set top box (an extra monthly charge on Essential and Complete).
If you would like an additional set top box for another TV, then this will have a monthly rental fee.
Prism Essential - $69.99/month + $9.99/month set top box fee
- Comes loaded with over 165 channels
Prism Complete - $74.99/month + $9.99/month set top box fee
- Over 215 channels, including AWE, BBC America, CBS Sports, Cooking Channel, Discovery Life, ESPN News, Fuse, and other channels not offered on the Essential package
Prism Preferred - $89.99/month
- Over 320 channels, including extras such as Crime & Investigation, Fusion TV, Military History, and Newsmax TV
- Premium channel packages, Starz/Encore and Showtime included with this package (access Flix, Indieplex, Movieplex, etc.)
Prism Premium - $124.99/month
- Over 350 channels, including Epix
- Comes with premium channel packages Starz/Encore, Showtime, Cinemax and HBO (access HBO Comedy, MovieMax, ThrillerMax, etc.)
Extra add-on packages
- Paquete Latino
- Sports Plus
CenturyLink’s Prism TV is available in select locations across the country. The requirements for the service mean that you must be within the CenturyLink fiber network.
Prism TV vs Satellite TV: What’s the Difference?
Prism TV is different from Satellite TV in the way that the service is broadcast to your home. Prism TV is received over CenturyLink’s Fiber optic internet connection, meaning smooth, uninterrupted services, as long as you have a relatively fast internet connection.
Satellite TV is broadcast via satellite, from the sky to the Dish on your roof or in your yard. Because there isn’t a physical connection, the signal can be interrupted or patchy, especially in the case of bad weather.
This makes Prism TV (and other services over internet connections aka Internet Protocol TV or IPTV) a more reliable TV service than satellite.
Cable TV is similar to Prism TV in that it is a wired service, however there are some distinctions that make it different – such as a different connection required for your cable service and for your internet service, the two never share a connection.
Latest and Greatest Channels:
Note: Not all channels are available on all packages.
Prism TV Sports Options
- Fox Sports
- Golf Channel
- NBC SN
- NFL Network
- NHL Network
- Premier League Extra Time
- FS Prime Ticket
- BeIN Sports
- CBS Sports
- Fox College Sports
- PAC 12
- SEC Network
Sports super fans may opt for the Sports Plus add-on package to access channels such as Eleven Sports, ESPN Bases Loaded, Fight Network, FNTSY, Fox Soccer Plus and more. The Sports Plus add-on is currently available for $8.99/month.
DVR and Equipment Options
CenturyLink Internet service will come with a router and modem, or in some cases a router/modem combo unit called a “gateway.” Either way, the purpose of these devices is to plug into your phone or cable jack (probably phone with CenturyLink) and transmit Wi-Fi to the various devices around your house.
In most cases, I reccomend simply paying the monthly rental fee with CenturyLink (usually around $9) to include this equipment with your service. In some cases it may be possible to use your own router, but I’d suggest only doing this if you consider yourself a “techie” as it doesn’t include any maintenance or support from CenturyLink if you run into technical problems.
The Prism TV equipment setup includes:
- Wireless set top box, which can be moved anywhere in the home easily. Set top box hire is $9.99/month for Essential and Complete customers, and free for Preferred and Premium customers. One set top box is needed per TV. Other devices such as smartphones and tablets do not require an extra set top box.
- Whole home DVR, which can be used to record and play different content by different people in the household at the same time.
If you’re looking for a replacement internet service as well as a replacement cable service (or DirecTV replacement) then Prism TV may be a good fit for your household. With access to CenturyLink’s super-fast fiber optic network (which also runs your TV service) you can expect great speeds for internet as well as instant, always on and always clear TV.
Many customers have found that switching from their internet provider + other TV service to CenturyLink + Prism TV has saved them money overall, as well as given them a greater choice of channels. While CenturyLink does offer the option to bundle with DirecTV, if you are able to access Prism TV in your area, this is the preferred option for value for money service.
If you are sick of your current internet service provider and/or sick of paying too much for your TV on top of your internet bills, then this bundle could be right for you.
Problems with Prism TV: Is it Worth it in the Age of Netflix?
If you mainly use your current TV service for watching specific shows and movies, then you’re probably better off with Netflix et al. However, if you like watching live sports, live news, and discovering more about different topics just by having a surf around the channels, then Prism TV is for you.
The Big Picture: A Reasonable TV Package
Prism TV is just one of the live TV options available for customers across the country. It can make a good choice of service for those looking for bundled internet and TV, and offers a fair sports package for sports fans, especially with the Sports Plus add-on. It’s a good choice for a larger household, especially one where people are watching on other devices like smartphones and tablets. The Prism on the Go feature is handy when you’d like to watch content away from home.
As with these sort of packages, it’s best to look at all your options before making an informed decision.