Provider Face-Off: Cox Cable vs DIRECTV and DISH

Cox Cable
Comparison Score: 86/100
Customer Rating: (3.7/5)
Best Price
$69.99/mo for 12 months

TV Essential Plan (60+ chnls).
12-month contract required.
For 60 channels at ~$70/mo, it breaks down to just over $1/channel. Compared to satellite, you just don't get the same level of value.

Max # channels
325+ channels

Advanced TV Ultimate ($120.53/mo)
About 25% of the channels are part-time or music-only. More value than the Essential Plan, but it comes at a price.

Whole-home DVR
Advanced TV Plus

Allows you to watch recorded shows from any networked TV in your home. Cox's Whole Home DVR has 3x the storage of their standard DVR (280 hours, <500 MB), but holds quite a bit less than DIRECTV or DISH's DVRs...

Package Extras
"Trio" Program Guide, 10k movies/shows

With the "Trio", Cox dramatically improved every facet of their on-screen guide (the program recommendations are pretty spot on as well). If you order an "Advanced" package, you'll get access to over 10,000 streamable movies and shows, a good percentage of which are free.

TV, Internet & Phone Bundle
Cox 25/25/25 Bundle: $103.97/mo

TV: 55+ channels
Internet: 3 Mbps download, 768 kbps upload (entry level speeds)
Phone: unlimited local and domestic calling (plus free voicemail; caller ID and call waiting usually extra)

TV & Internet Bundle
Advanced TV & Internet: $114.48/mo

TV: 300+ channels
Internet: 22 Mbps download, 2 Mbps kbps upload (great for power users)

Customer Service
Average

Sadly, Cox is still at the middle of the cable pack when it comes to customer satisfaction. In our experience, signup almost always goes smoothly, but there's a lot to be desired therafter. Ex: our longest time on the phone (for a relatively basic issue with a memory card) took nearly 1.5 hours. :/

DISH
Comparison Score: 89/100
Customer Rating: (4/5)
Best Price
$19.99/mo for 12 months

Smart Pack Plan (55 chnls, promo pricing).
24-month contract required.
The best price in the industry. If you're fed up with cable bills, this plan will slash your costs in half overnight.

Max # channels
290+ channels

America's Eveything Pak ($74.99/mo)
All channels are digital or HD quality, with about 65% available in HD.

Whole-home DVR
Hopper with Joey

Simultaneously record and playback on up to 3 different DVRs. Hard drive space: 2 TB. Learn more.


Package Extras
BLOCKBUSTER @Home

Similar to DIRECTV's CINEMAplus, you get a solid selection of streaming options along with regular mail DVD delivery service (like Netflix; there's an extra free after the promo period).



TV, Internet & Phone Bundle
no phone bundles

DISH's infrastructure doesn't support traditional (landline) or VoIP phone service.




TV & Internet Bundle
DISH Bundle: $75.99/mo

TV: 145+ channels
Internet: 10 Mbps download (no cap)

Customer Service
Above Average

Just about every year, it's a neck and neck race between DISH and DIRECTV for the best customer satisfaction in the industry. It's basically a toss-up, so lean on the other features to help make your decision.


DIRECTV
Comparison Score: 92/100
Customer Rating: (3.8/5)
Best Price
$19.99/mo for 12 months

SELECT Plan (130 chnls, promo pricing).
24-month contract required.
One of the most popular plans in satellite TV, it matches DISH's rock-bottom price. Consider this plan if you want more options.

Max # channels
285+ channels

Premier Plan ($89.99/mo)
All channels are digital quality, with about 70% available in HD.

Whole-home DVR
Genie DVR

Simultaneously record and playback on up to 5 different TVs (there's ONLY one box). Hard drive space: 1 TB. Learn more.


Package Extras
NFL SUNDAY TICKET & CINEMAplus

The NFL SUNDAY TICKET (free w/ Choice plan) was free in 2012 and '13, expect much of the same in 2014 and beyond. CINEMAplus is a cool streaming service of about 7k shows and programs.


TV, Internet & Phone Bundle
DIRECTV TV/Phone/Internet Bundles

DIRECTV partners with AT&T, Verizon, Windstream and others to offer high-speed Internet and home phone service (final specs/price vary per provider).


TV & Internet Bundle
DIRECTV Bundle: $44.95/mo

TV: 140+ channels
Internet: ~10 Mbps download (no cap)

Customer Service
Above Average

DIRECTV prides itself in customer satisfaction and doesn't skimp on hiring quality personnel. I don't know of a single person who's left DIRECTV due to a poor experience with their call-in staff. It's a draw here.




BUYING GUIDE

DISH versus DIRECTV
If you're leaning towards satellite TV, get a more thorough breakdown here.
Stack up the Specials
Compare the current satellite promotions and lock in the best plan available.
Channel Lineups
Find out which packages include your favorite channels in this interactive, side-by-side table.
Verizon FiOS vs Satellite
If fiber optic service is an option in your area, learn more about what Verizon FiOS has to offer.
Cable versus Satellite
Get a more general overview of how cable's features and options compare to satellite TV.
RV & Mobile
If you'll be on the move, use this guide to reliably stay connected at every turn.

More about Cox Cable

Formally called Cox Communications, they're currently the third largest cable provider on the planet. Originally launched in the 1960s, Cox rapidly expanded operations by acquiring a variety of small and successful cable companies from most of the major metropolitan areas. As programming options and population density grew, Cox intelligently leveraged their reach by signing a number of licensing and broadcasting partners...ultimately dominating strategic sections of the contiguous United States. That is, in certain parts of the nation, if you can't get satellite TV (for whatever reason), your only option is Cox. Smart business by any measure.

Big picture: Folks often like to slam cable companies for their high prices and relatively subpar service, but that's certainly not our intention here. We know plenty of happy Cox customers. As with any home service, it's all about need vs cost. If Cox turns out to be the most convenient option where you live and you're good with the price, go with them. Just make sure you weigh all your options before you sign any long-term contracts.

Their Top Bundles

If you dig into the setup costs of home services, it's no surprise why Cox heavily markets their 3-service bundles (TV, Internet and Phone). If you're already a customer of one, it's MUCH easier AND cheaper for them to activate the other two. In some cases, it's a simple switch on their end without having to send a tech over to your home. Customers tend to love 'em because they inherently see a savings. Don't be fooled by short-term promo pricing however. Make sure you find out what the FULL price is after the promo expires (usually in a few months). Here's a quick view of their current offerings:

  1. Advanced TV and Internet Preferred - 260+ channels, download speeds of up to 18 Mbps, unlimited nationwide calling: $89.99/mo promo pricing for 6 months; $114.49/mo thereafter.
  2. TV Preferred and Internet Preferred - 290+ channels, download speeds of up to 18 Mbps, unlimited nationwide calling: $88.98/mo promo pricing for 6 months; $125.98/mo thereafter.

Have something to share?

If you've dealt with Cox Cable or you'd like to suggest an important feature not covered above, please feel free to get in touch.

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