Review Summary
RCN is a small cable provider found near Boston, New York City, Boston, Philadelphia, Chicago, and Lehigh Valley. It's recommended for cord cutters as they don't have data caps. They are known for local, friendly customer support.
Woman's hands typing on laptop.
RCN is a little-known cable company that’s friendly to cord-cutters. Image via Matthew Henry/Burst

RCN is a great choice for those of us looking for a budget option with a decent selection of channels. The limited geographic availability of RCN limits the potential customer base, but it has managed to carve out a niche for itself in multiple hubs.

Those looking for a premium experience (with an accompanying premium price) should look into more recognizable options like Verizon and Comcast. These companies are a lot bigger and offer more comprehensive plans for customers willing to drop some dough.

  • Offers Service in: New York, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Illinois, District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia
  • Major Cities Covered: Chicago, IL, New York, NY, Washington, DC, Allentown, PA, Astoria, NY, Bethlehem, PA, Elmhurst, NY, Easton, PA, Woodside, NY, Corona, NY, Somerville, MA, Silver Spring, MD, Framingham, MA, Skokie, IL, Waltham, MA, Boston, MA, Brookline, MA, Flushing, NY, Arlington, MA and Upper Darby, PA
  • Residential Pricing: $24.99+ (See Latest Deals)
  • Setup Service: (800) 746-4726

Pros

  • TiVo equipment provides easy TV control and consolidation of channels and streaming services
  • Online access to shows and other services via RCN2GO
  • Hundreds of channels included with TV package
  • Affordable Price

Cons

  • Customer reviews are mixed, citing problems ranging from equipment issues to billing practices
  • Less channel options than more premium services
  • TiVo DVR fees can get expensive if you opt for equipment with more capabilities, adding onto your bill.

While a lot of the appeal of RCN is the reasonable prices, those who have limited funds may benefit from looking into a quality combination of antenna and streaming services. You may be surprised by the large amount of stations you can get with an antenna, and the combination of free broadcast content and a subscription to Netflix is the ultimate in value. Satellite TV is also an option that can be cheaper in some cases, but honestly not by much.

With that said, RCN Digital TV provides a service that is a solid middle ground between premium and budget television.

RCN Services Overview

RCN offers television, internet, and phone to its customers, but this overview largely focuses on the provider’s digital TV service.

The signature TV package includes over 285 channels including fan-favorites like ESPN, Food Network, and the Disney Channel. Available for around $59.99, it’s a pretty fleshed-out option for those looking for access to their favorite shows at an affordable price.

There are also premium options available for those looking for more channels in their favorite categories. Choose from services like HBO, Showtime, Cinemax, or Starz. Also available are packages tailored to specific interests, like Sports, Family and Children, Movies and Entertainment, and News and Information bundles.

In our opinion, unless you’re a heavy watcher of sports you’re going to be best served by going for signature TV. Premium services nowadays often offer standalone services, so you can add a subscription to HBO separate from your television bundle and save some money.

RCN Digital TV vs RCN Internet: are Bundles Worth Buying?

Piggy bank with tip written on it.
Since RCN does not use data caps, you can stream to your hearts content.

RCN offers multiple bundle options, aptly named Double Play and Triple Play. At first glance, these bundles seem like a great deal because they’re actually cheaper than just buying cable. When you look closer, however, you’ll see that the cheaper price means way less channels for your TV.

Going for a double play with 50 Mbps and TV will only get you 57 channels. Ouch!

In our opinion, you should skip the bundle unless most of the channels you’ll be watching are included in that collection of 57. For what exactly these channels are, check out the section below.

Channel Offerings

The following list is a brief selection of some popular channels that RCN Digital TV offers in its lineup.

  • Disney Channel
  • ESPN
  • MTV
  • Food Network
  • TBS
  • Bravo
  • VH1
  • HGTV
  • CNN
  • MSNBC
  • FOX
  • Comedy Central

Keep in mind that the majority of these channels are not available with the super basic 57 channel lineup. If you go with the double or triple play bundle, you’ll mainly just have access to basic network television.

Additionally, as mentioned above, there are multiple packages that offer more expansive offerings for an additional charge.

For a full lineup, check out the comprehensive RCN channel list .

RCN TV Sports Options

National Football League play on their starting position.

Image via Chris Brooks/Flickr

For sports fans, RCN does offer a decent selection of sports channels through add-on packages that feature some of the top channels in the industry.

For an upcharge to the basic signature TV, enjoy watching the following sports:

  • Soccer
  • Football
  • Hockey
  • Golf
  • Tennis
  • Baseball
  • Basketball

Many of these sports are watchable with the general sports package add-on for an additional 11 bucks a month or so, with channels like the NBA, NFL, MLB, and NHL networks.

For those looking for a premium experience, RCN offers one-time payments for access to services like NFL Red Zone and MLB Extra Innings. These will run you about $59.99 and $119.99 respectively.

DVR and Equipment Options

There are multiple options for RCN Digital TV equipment, and this section will serve as a basic overview of some of the most popular DVRs and set-top boxes available with your service.

TiVo 6 Tuner DVR

  • Available for around $15 a month
  • Record up to 6 shows simultaneously
  • 1 terabyte of storage
  • Stream shows to your smartphone or tablet.

TiVo 4 Tuner DVR

  • Available for around $15 a month
  • Record up to 4 shows simultaneously
  • 500 GB of Storage

TiVo 2 Tuner DVR

  • Available for around $10 a month
  • Record 2 shows simultaneously
  • Storage for up to 45 hours of HD video

Every Room Powered By TiVo

  • Available for around $5 a month per box
  • Access content from your DVR on other TVs using cheap add-on devices.

For those looking for a more economical buy without DVR capabilities, RCN also offers standard set-top boxes capable of transmitting HD content ranging from $5-8 a month.

RCN Availability

As a company largely focused on some of the biggest cities in the US, RCN offers digital television service to Boston, New York City, Boston, Philadelphia, Chicago, and Lehigh Valley. If you’re located in these cities or the immediate surroundings, RCN offers TV packages at a wide range of price points.

RCN Coverage

Where RCN Cable TV Shines: TiVo Equipment and Budget Prices

One of the best features of RCN’s service is the TiVo DVR equipment. TiVo has a long history of producing quality DVRs, and over the years the advances in technology have only served to make them even better. The devices are available with a variety of options, and many also consolidate your streaming services and cable TV together for a comprehensive media experience.

Another benefit of RCN is the affordability of their service. While the base price is somewhat similar to offerings from big players like Verizon and Comcast, you’re able to add more channels as add-ons at a cheaper price.

Problems with RCN TV: Poor Customer Service

Although this isn’t a problem isolated to RCN, there are many customer complaints online about lack of accessibility to customer service and some shady billing practices. Customers have reported mystery charges on bills and a long wait to get service.

While RCN Digital TV is generally a quality product, if you have issues they may be somewhat difficult to resolve.

The Big Picture: RCN Digital TV Leverages TiVo’s Tech To Deliver a Great Service At a Great Price

Overall, RCN Digital TV is a quality service and their Internet speeds are decent. Despite some negative customer reviews, their double play Internet/TV packages offer a variety of channels with a low monthly fee and provide easy and affordable access to customizable add-ons. Combine those aspects with the added features of a TiVo DVR, and you’ve got a pretty complete TV experience.

While the geographic reach of RCN is limited, customers who have it as an option will find it a refreshing alternative to the larger “corporate” providers.

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