Comparison Shopping – DIRECTV vs Cable One

Cable One is a medium sized pay television provider doing business in 19 states, primarily in the Midwest and Western part of America.  With more than 600,000 subscribers, they are currently the 10th largest cable TV company, and 14th largest pay television provider overall. DIRECTV of course is the largest satellite TV company in operation today, and may become the largest pay television provider overall if they can overtake Comcast/Xfinity in the next few years.  In this article we will compare Cable One against DIRECTV, reviewing the options available to potential subscribers.

DIRECTV  vs Cable One

One of the first things you should do when comparing a satellite TV company against a cable TV provider is prioritize.  Since it can be a bit of an apples to oranges comparison, it is a bit easier to figure out what is most important before jumping into a package that may require a commitment on your part.  With Cable One, you can get a triple play package which includes your digital cable service, along with high speed internet and home phone.  With DIRECTV you are pretty much tied to their video service and then you have to go with alternate providers for your internet and/or home phone line.  Knowing what you want up front can make things easier.  So lets look at the strengths of each provider.

Cable One offers the subscriber a true one-stop shopping solution.  Simply call Cable One customer service or place an online order, and you can enjoy a triple play package of services.  Like most companies, Cable One offers deals to new customers which can significantly reduce the price you pay for service during the first and even second year, provided you are willing to enter a contract.  Here is an overview of the current Cable One promotions being offered.

The Cable One Elite Package with two year agreement offers the best pricing.  For $75 a month for the first year, you will get  digital TV which offers about 140 digital cable channels.  In addition, a Cable One high speed internet access is offered with speeds of 5 Mbps downstream and upload speeds of 500 Kbps.  An unlimited Cable One telephone residential telephone line is also part of the package, featuring caller ID, Call waiting, last call return and unlimited long distance as well.  You do pay for a separate cable modem with the package.  Pricing goes up to $105 a month during months 13-24 and then you will pay regular prices thereafter.  To get the reduced prices for the first two years though you do have to sign a two year agreement.

The same package is also available with a one-year contract.   With this Cable One bundle, you pay $105 during the first year for the triple play, then regular prices thereafter. Several other packages are also available, which allow you to bundle two services instead of three.  These range in price from $70 to $90 a month for the first two years, again dependent on how long of a contract you sign with Cable One.

One thing you should take note of with Cable One internet is the usage restrictions that are placed on subscribers.  Cable One places a 50GB limit each month on subscribers, though there is a 50GB bonus on several packages.  They even go as far as placing a “data usage calculator” on their website for potential subscribers to estimate their internet usage.  If your family uses the internet for gaming, streaming video (Netflix) or heavy music downloads then you may want to consider alternatives like Verizon FiOS, AT&T U-verse or Centurylink internet depending on who serves your neighborhood.

Now if you are comparing Cable One vs DIRECTV when it comes to video content alone, you will see a significant advantage with the satellite TV provider.  Mainly this is due to the fact that DIRECTV is focused on one thing alone, and that is providing the best channel content and video experience for the customer.  More than 18 million households now subscribe to DIRECTV, despite the fact that they do not offer their own internet or phone service package.  That can be fixed though by reviewing the package options with DIRECTV partners like Century Link and AT&T.

Pricing on DIRECTV packages is certainly competitive, and you will find that the discounts work like Cable One in many respects.  All new DIRECTV customers must agree to a two year contract to get the deals offered, but these are generally worth it when you look at the savings.  Current DIRECTV offers include a $31 discount on all packages from the Choice level and above, as well as free installation and equipment.

When comparing prices on equipment between Cable One and DIRECTV, you will find that you pay a bit more if you go the cable route.  Cable One charges $10.00 per month for each HD DVR, and $5 a month for HD boxes on additional TV sets.  DIRECTV charges $7 a month for their standard HD DVR, though they do have the Whole Home DVR option which is $10 a month and allows you to access content on your digital video recorder throughout the home.   The big difference you will notice when comparing providers is in the capacity of the DVR.

The Cable One DVR is painfully small when you examine the amount of programming that can be saved to the hard drive.  Current models allow up to 60 hours of SD programming, and just 10 hours of HD programming.  Compared that to most DIRECTV DVR models which hold up to 400 hours of SD programming and up to 100 hours of HD and you can see that DIRECTV beats Cable One hands down.

Another factor to consider is the number of high definition channels carried by each provider.  With Cable One, the number of HD channels varies from area to area, but at most you will currently get around 35 HD channels.  This is a pretty small number compared to just about every other pay television provider.  Telco TV providers Verizon FiOS and AT&T U-verse are the current HD leaders, offering around 120 HD channels or more if you subscribe to premium movie packages.  While DIRECTV HD advertises more than 150 HD channels, the actual number is around 100 if you remove all of the pay per view movie channels that they use to inflate their numbers.  Still, DIRECTV tops Cable One by a nearly 3-to-1 difference so if you are a big fan of high definition TV then take a strong look at satellite TV.

Finally, sports fans want to see all of the big games live so you really need to compare DIRECTV vs Cable One before making a commitment.  Cable One is a partner with iN DEMAND, which is owned by Comcast, Cox Communications, and Time Warner digital cable.  Through iN DEMAND, customers can order packages like MLB Extra Innings, the NBA League Pass, and NHL Center Ice.  DIRECTV also has a contract with iN DEMAND so with either provider you will be able to access games out of market, that is if you are willing to pay the $200 pricetag that comes along with the sports packages.  If you are looking for the football package though, then DIRECTV is still your only option.  Right now the current DIRECTV-NFL Sunday Ticket contract is scheduled to run through the 2014 season, so for at least the next few years satellite is your only source for out of market football action.


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