Charter Communications is tacking on a $6.05 broadcast TV surcharge and taxes to the $19.95 advertised rate for Spectrum Stream, the virtual pay-TV over managed network service the cable company currently has in beta tests.
The news comes from DSLReports users who have test-driven the service. Charter reps have yet to respond to FierceCable's inquiries for confirmation and comment.
“After the $6.05 broadcast fee and $3.43 in local taxes, my total for the service came to $29.43,” said one DSL Reports poster, who said the Charter rep he spoke to tried to upsell him into traditional pay-TV service.
Such pricing tactics are pretty common in the cable industry for traditional video services—although both Comcast and Charter have been sued in recent years for adding program licensing fee surcharges to advertised pricing.
However, with Spectrum Stream competing with economy-minded OTT-based vMVPD services including Sling TV in Charter’s footprint, it’s questionable if the “$20 actually means $30” pricing strategy is going to fly.
For what it’s worth, the DSLReports poster had generally positive things to say about Spectrum Stream’s performance. After downloading the app to his Xbox One, he said he was “expecting some type of account not found error message. Instead, the app started up and started streaming A&E. The picture took about six seconds to scale up to HD.
“Changing channels doesn’t take too long, about three seconds for the picture to start and then another six or so for the picture to get to HD,” the poster added. “As far as the HD quality goes, it is standard cable HD. In my opinion, the picture is soft and grainy with some motion blur to be expected. For comparison sake, if Netflix picture quality were a 10, Spectrum Stream would be about a 7.”