CenturyLink is the fourth largest telco provider in the United States today, but they will soon jump up a spot to third as they are in the process of taking over Qwest Communications based out of Denver. CenturyLink Prism TV is a new product that the company is currently offering in just five different markets. Similar to AT&T U-verse, Prism TV offers you cable television service without the need for a satellite dish. In this article, we will review what CenturyLink offers with their cable television product.
Prism TV uses IPTV technology, which is the same as U-verse. This means a combination of fiber optic lines and traditional copper telephone lines are used in combination to deliver the product to the customer. Generally, upgrades are made at a centralized location in each neighborhood where Prism TV is available, and then the copper line then takes the signal the rest of the way to the customer. From there, customers can enjoy cable TV, high speed internet, and voice service all through the same line that normally brings you phone service.
As mentioned, Prism TV from Century Link is only available in five markets right now. They are Las Vegas, NV, Jefferson City and Columbia MO, La Crosse WI, and Fort Myers, FL. With both AT&T and Verizon spending billions to offer triple play packages including cable TV, it will be interesting to see how CenturyLink approaches the residential market once their takeover of Qwest is completed. The deal is expected to close in the first half of 2010, and will give CenturyLink access to many larger markets like Denver, Seattle, Phoenix and Minneapolis/St Paul. It would cost billions to upgrade into these markets, otherwise CenturyLink will have to depend on their DIRECTV partnership to offer customers video services.
So if you are in an area that offers the Prism TV product, what can you expect to pay for service? Since Las Vegas is the largest market whery CenturyLink Prism is available, lets review a few of the packages and deals available there. The basic Prism TV digital package is offered at $32.99 a month for six month, and includes around 120 channels. This is $20 off per month compared to the regular price before taxes and fees.
Better Prism TV deals are found if you are willing to bundle the digital cable service along with CenturyLink internet service. The entry level triple play offers you the regular TV package along with 3.0 Mbps high speed internet and unlimited calling for $87.95 a month. If you are interested in more CenturyLink TV channels then you can upgrade to the “Complete Package” which includes anothe 50 channels for $100.95 per month. The all inclusive offer is the Prism Premium triple play which offers more than 200 channels with 30 premiums like HBO and Cinemax. It also includes much faster internet access with the Prism 10.0 Mbps package all for $151.95 a month.
Another factor to consider is the DVR, which most people love once they get a handle on how it works. Century Link offer a whole home DVR solution similar to those offered by DIRECTV and AT&T U-verse. The Prism TV DVR will run you $11.99 a month, with the first three months free with current promotions. If you go with either of the high end packages, the DVR service fee is included, so there is another factor to consider if you want the higher end Prism TV bundle.
Finally, high definition channels are also part of the packages offered by CenturyLink. Unfortunately, there is a service charge on all packages of $11.99 for HD channel content. This is a negative compared to most other cable companies as they generally include HD channels as long as you go with a digital cable package. Satellite TVproviders Dish Network and DIRECTV are now waiving their $10 monthly HD charge if you meet certain conditions, so it is a good idea to closely compare Prism vs satellite TV before making a long term commitment.
If Prism TV is not yet available to you but you are in a CenturyLink area, your current alternative for bundling is DIRECTV. The company recently announced they would partner with DIRECTV as they continue the merger process with Qwest communications.