DISH Network vs Cox Cable – Comparing Video Providers

Dish Network and Cox cable are two of the big players when it comes to pay television service.  If you are in an area served by Cox cable services, you certainly want to make the right choice when it comes to either selecting cable or satellite TV service.  In this article, we will consider some of the pros and cons of both Dish Network and Cox cable.  Lets take a look at how they stack up against each other.

Cox Communications, or Cox cable as they are often referred to is the third largest cable TV company operating in the United States today.  Only Comcast and Time Warner cable are larger as far as subscribers go in the cable world, though both Dish Network and DIRECTVboast higher subscriber numbers than Cox.

Where will you find Cox cable?  Their largest areas of coverage are in Arizona, Nevada, Louisiana, California, and Florida.  Major cities in these areas served by Cox include Las Vegas, New Orleans, Cleveland, Phoenix, and San Diego.  Other states served by Cox include Idaho, Iowa, Oklahoma, Kansas, Virginia, and Nebraska.

As you can see, Cox serves some fairly populated markets, and they certainly fall into the category of “Big Cable.”  For more information, browse our Cox cable review.  Of course, Dish Network is a powerful entity as well, boasting more than 13 million subscribers and having the ability to serve the entire country.

Cox cable of course offers more than just cable television service.  Like other cable operators, Cox has been able to leverage their existing network and branch into the high speed internet field, as well as offer home telephone service.  These triple play packages are enticing to customers as they offer convenience and a oftentimes a low price when bundled together.  Dish Networkon the other hand is primarily a satellite television provider only, thought they do have a few partnership arrangements out there to offer additional services.  For our comparison today, we will focus on video services, then touch on the Cox bundled offers at the end of this article.

Now of course one of the main differences when comparing Cox vs Dish is the delivery method.   Dish Network service requires the installation of a small satellite dish on your home that has exposure to the southern sky.  This rules out service altogether for some in apartments, or others who have large trees or buildings in the way.  Cox cable relies on a cable network, so it may be your only choice in some apartments or condominiums.

Usually when shopping for cable or satellite TV service, most people want to compare Dish Network prices versus Cox cable rates.  While price is certainly important in today’s faltering economy, you want to be sure you are going to get the programming that your family wants from either Dish or Cox.  So decide up front if you want an all inclusive type of package with all of the movie channels like HBO, or something basic which just has the major cable TV channels like ESPN and CNN.

With Cox basic cable, you are looking at a price tag of about $47.95 per month for Expanded cable, and $52.95 a month for Standard digital cable.  Cox cable prices quoted in this article are taken from the Phoenix Arizona region, one of the largest served by Cox.  These packages are comparable to the Dish Network Classic Bronze 100 package, though they do have fewer channels overall.

Now where Cox begins to really nickel and dime their subscriber is in the digital box and HD DVR area.  While charges in this area are standard with any cable and satellite TV company, take a look at what Cox charges for some of their receivers and DVR units:

Digital Box $6.00
DVR/HD Receiver $12.00
HD-DVR Receiver $18.00
Cable Card $1.99

Receivers and digital cable boxes usually run $5 to $7 each from every cable and satellite provider, but the $18.00 monthly fee from Cox for an HD-DVR unit is quite high.  In comparison, Dish Network includes one receiver or DVR free with their programming like the DishDVR, though there is a $10 monthly HD access fee.   Cox by comparison gives you HD free with your package, though you will pay a pretty penny each month to record that type of content, especially if you need more than one HD DVR.

Cox cable is flexible as far as adding on channels once you have digital cable.  While with Dish Network you move from the Classic Bronze 100 up to the Classic Silver 200 then to the Classic Gold 250, with Cox you add on Digital Tiers.  This is kind of nice in that you can add the content that interests you the most, rather than just being given a mix of different channels.  Cox offers the Variety Tier, the Sports and Info Tier, the Movie Tier, and Paquete Latino Spanish language Tier.  Pricing on these start at $11.00 per month for just one digital tier, and moves up to $20 a month if you would like all four Cox digital cable tiers.

To give you an idea of some of the content in these tiers, here is the channel lineup for the Sports and Info Tier, followed by the Variety Tier

NHL Network
NFL Network
Fit TV
ESPNU
ESPNews
ESPN Classic
Fox Soccer Channel
NBA TV
Tennis Channel
Fox College Sports Atlantic
Fox College Sports Central
Fox College Sports Pacific
Fuel
FOX Business News

Variety Tier

Hallmark
Lifetime Movie Netw
DIY
Fine Living
Biography
History International
BBC America
Disney XD
Encore WAM
Nicktoons Network
The N
Boomerang
Oxygen
Fox Reality Channel
GSN
SoapNet
MTV Tr3s
MTV 2
MTV Jams
MTV Hits
VH1 Classics
VH1 Soul
CMT Pure Country
MTVU
BET Jazz
Great American Country
Fuse
G4
Logo
WE tv
Style
PBS Kids Sprout
mun2
Chiller

As you can see, there is quite a bit of content available on these digital tiers, but you won’t find any of the major cable networks here, as they are in the regular package already.  It all depends on if you have a specific interest that could be met by some of these channels, and if the price is right in your eyes.

Next, with so many people buying new HDTV’s in 2009 you should evaluate Dish Network HD vs Cox HD.  With Dish Network, you have access to 140 HD channels at this time, but that number does include pay per view options and regional sports networks so it isn’t 100% accurate.  What you should know is that Dish Network HD is the current national leader as far as channel counts go, and probably will be at least until DIRECTV gets another satellite operational.

With Cox, the number of HD channels will vary depending on the area you live in.  Cable companies like Cox have struggled to keep up with satellite when it comes to HD content.  A current check of the Cox site would not display a specific number of HD channels available in the Phoenix area.  Instead, Cox is relying on the old cable company line of promoting their HD choices rather than HD channels.  This means they add in the number of HD programs available through their on-demand platform, which of course skews the number much higher, as there are usually hundreds of programs available at any given time through on-demand, both in SD and HD.  The good thing with Cox HD is that they currently do not charge extra for high definition channels.

Now that the subject of on-demand programming has been brought up, that is another consideration when comparing Cox with Dish Network.  If you have used on-demand for any period of time, it is an extremely slick feature perfected by big cable companies like Cox and Time Warner.  Basically, you can access thousands of programs through a menu system and watch them on your schedule, rather than waiting for them to come on.  With Cox, you will find a wide variety of regular TV shows available through their on-demand platform.  Dish Network has focused on provides PPV movies on-demand which of course you have to pay for.  This is because the content has to be sent to the customers DVR, not on central servers like with cable TV.  Advantage to Cox cable when it comes to VOD.

Now when is comes to sports programming, Cox and Dish Network are pretty much in the same boat.  Both are shut out from the premium sports package out there, the NFL Sunday Ticket which remains with DIRECTV until 2014.  But you can get all of the basics like ESPN, Fox Sports, and the like with both providers.   A few of the other packages are available through both providers like NHL Center Ice and NBA League pass, but be aware that the MLB Network and the MLB Extra Innings package are only on Cox currently, as Dish Network has not yet struck a deal with Major League Baseball to carry these channels.

A final consideration is the type of deal you can strike when setting up service.  There are always promotions going on with both Dish Network and Cox cable, so some research up front can save you a little cash.  Current Dish Network deals give first time customers a $25 discount on service for the first six months, in addition to free installation and a free HD DVR.   The discount is a little bit less at $20 if you go with one of the new Turbo HD packages.

When it comes to Cox cable deals, the first thing to remember is that they want you to subscribe to more than one service.  So promotional offers for Cox cable are tied in to subscribing to Cox high speed internet and Cox digital phone service in addition.  If you are in the market for all of these services, you probably can strike a pretty good deal, as bundled pricing on the Cox site is quoted from $92.99 a month on up to $129.99 for the Cox Deluxe package.  Check with the cable company directly though to determine exactly how long the promotion pricing lasts for, as often cable TV triple play deals last for 12 months or so.

Overall, when comparing Cox cable vs Dish Network, you will find your personal preference plays a big part in figuring out which provider is best.  On demand and bundled package customers will find Cox is probably the better choice.  When looking at bottom line pricing and superior DVR service, then Dish Network is probably the way to go.   If you still don’t like your choices, hopefully either U-verse TV or Verizon FiOS are in your neighborhood to offer you a thrid option.

2 Comments
  1. Cathy Sanders 1506 days ago
  2. Elias 1372 days ago

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