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DISH vs Cox Cable TV

DISH 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 Communications, you certainly want to make the right choice when it comes to either selecting cable or satellite TV.  In this article, we will consider some of the pros and cons of both DISH and Cox cable.  Lets take a look at how they stack up against each other.

Cox 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, and Charter will leap Cox when their takeover of TWC is complete.

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 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 on the other hand is primarily a satellite television provider, but they have dipped their toe into the water in an emerging technology, with Sling TV.  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.  Satellite television service requires the installation of a small 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 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 $79.95 per month for Cox Contour TV, and $91.49 per month for Contour TV Preferred.  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 America’s Top 200 package.

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 $8.50
DVR/HD Receiver $8.50 plus $12.99/mo DVR fee.
Contour Whole Home DVR/Receiver (up to 6 sets) $8.50 plus $19.99 DVR Fee
Cable Card $1.99

Receivers and digital cable boxes usually run $6 to $10 each from every cable and satellite provider, but the $28.50 monthly fee from Cox for their Whole Home DVR is quite high.  DISH used to have the best pricing in the industry on receivers and DVRs, but they too have high fees for their Hopper/Joey DVRs, which start at $15 a month for the DVR device and run around $10 for non-DVR boxes.

Cox offers several upgrades from their base Contour TV offer, topping out at the Contour TV Ultimate package which has 380 channels and a monthly price tag of $164.99 in the Phoenix market.    DISH also offers several tiers, with the America’s Everything package being their all inclusive bundle.  That package runs $140 a month and you can read our review here.   As you can tell, DISH comes out as the winner price-wise vs Cox.

Both companies offer plenty of HD, with DISH now at 153 channels and Cox at 142 according to AVS.  A lot of this depends on the package you select, as the more you pay monthly the more high definition channel content you shall receive!

On-demand, or VOD is another factor to consider when comparing Cox with DISH.  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/AT&T for the time being.   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 MLB Extra Innings, NHL Center Ice and NBA League pass.  These are premium sports packages though, with an annual price hovering around $200 or more.

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 deals give first time customers a $15-20 discount on service for the first three years.  In addition free installation and a free equipment is provided, though you do have monthly payments for the DVR service.

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 broadband 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 at $119.99 a month on the Cox Silver bundle for one year.  The normal price is $258.93 per month, so you can see this is a hefty discount during the first twelve months.  A two year contract is required however.

Overall, when weighing Cox vs DISH, you will find your personal preference plays a big part in figuring out which provider is best.  On demand and one stop shoppers who prefer dealing with as single provider will find Cox is probably the better choice.  When looking at bottom line pricing and superior DVR service, then DISH is probably the way to go.   If you still don’t like your choices, investigate telco providers like Verizon, AT&T and Centurylink.  All three are in the TV game in many areas of the country and all offer promotions to new customers.

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