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Provider Face-Off: Cox Cable vs DIRECTV and DISH

Cox Cable
Comparison Score: 89/100
Customer Rating:
Comparison Score: 92/100
Customer Rating:
Comparison Score: 90/100
Customer Rating:
Best Price
$25/mo for 12 months

Cox TV Starter (75+ chnls).
24-month contract required.
For over 75 channels at $25/mo, it breaks down to just over $0.33/channel. Solid value but a fair number of high-demand channels are missing

Best Price
$29/mo for 24 months

Flex Pack (>50 chnls, regular 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.

Best Price
$59.99/mo for 24 months

SELECT Plan (155 chnls, promo pricing).
24-month contract required.
One of the most popular plans in satellite TV, it's the closest to DISH's rock-bottom price. Consider this plan if you want more options.

Max # channels
250+ channels

Contour TV Ultimate ($148.99/mo)
Though it has less overall channels than DISH or DIRECTV, nearly all are high-value with very little (music) fluff.

Max # channels
330+ channels

America's Everything Pak ($149.99/mo)
All channels are digital or HD quality, with about 85% available in HD.

Max # channels
340+ channels

Premier Plan ($139.99/mo)
All channels are digital quality, with at least 90% available in HD.

Whole-home DVR
Contour Record 6

Allows you to watch recorded shows from up to 6 networked TVs. Cox's Contour 6 HD-DVR has 4x the storage (1,000 hours of SD, 2 TB) of their standard Record 2 DVR.

Whole-home DVR
Hopper with Joey

Simultaneously record and playback on up to 7 different DVRs. Hard drive space: 2 TB. Learn more.

Whole-home DVR
Genie DVR

Simultaneously record and playback on up to 5 different TVs (only one main box). Hard drive space: 1 TB. Learn more.

Package Extras
70k On Demand options

While not really a bonus (since you pay for it), Cox Contour DVRs give you access to over 70,000 On Demand options - they range in price from free to $10+, along with personal recommendations.

Package Extras
DISH Movie Pack

Watch or stream up to 15 high-demand movie channels (EPIX, Sony Movie Channel, FOX Movie Channel, MGM HD, etc). Free for the first 3 months; $10/mo thereafter.

Package Extras

The NFL SUNDAY TICKET (free w/ Choice plan & up) was free in 2014 and '15, expect much of the same in 2016 and beyond. CINEMAplus is a cool streaming service of about 7k shows and programs.

TV, Internet & Phone Bundle
Bronze Triple Play: $89.99/mo

TV: 140+ channels
Internet: 150 Mbps download, 15 Mbps upload
Phone: unlimited local and domestic calling (plus free voicemail; caller ID and call waiting usually extra)

TV, Internet & Phone Bundle
no phone bundles

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

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
Silver Duo: $109.99/mo

TV: 140+ channels
Internet: 300 Mbps download, 25 Mbps upload (great for power users)
Plus free HBO, Cinemax & Showtime

TV & Internet Bundle
DISH Bundle: $87.99/mo

TV: 190+ channels
Internet: 25 Mbps download (no cap)

TV & Internet Bundle
DIRECTV Bundle: $89.99/mo

TV: 140+ channels
Internet (ATT Uverse): ~100 Mbps download (no cap)

Customer Service

Cox is towards the front of the cable pack when it comes to customer satisfaction, and improving. In our experience, signup almost always goes smoothly, but it's sometimes hit and miss thereafter. Ex: our longest time on the phone (for a relatively basic issue with the DVR) took a while whereas a more techie problem was solved right away.

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.

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.


If you're leaning towards satellite TV, get a more thorough breakdown here.
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Cable versus Satellite
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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 service, but thing have changed over the years. 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. Finally, COX is probably one of the most up-front providers when it comes to pricing. They don't hike up their rates in year 2 and are very transparent with any/all fees.

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. Here's a quick view of their current offerings:

  1. Starter Triple: TV Starter, Internet Starter 10, Cox Voice Premier - 75+ channels, download speeds of up to 10 Mbps, unlimited nationwide calling: $64.99/mo promo pricing for 12 months; 2-year contract
  2. TV Starter and Internet Preferred 150 - 75+ channels, download speeds of up to 150 Mbps; $84.99/mo promo pricing for 12 months; 2-year contract

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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