One of the most appealing features of Cox television service is that the promotional offer isn't a big leap from their standardized pricing, meaning customers aren’t faced with some huge unexpected bill after a few months of discounted television service. However, Cox doesn't have quite the extensive channel count per package as other competitive television service providers and their long-term rates are comparatively higher. The Contour Flex Package is the most universally appealing offering by Cox because it allows for up to 340 hours of HD storage with a Record 6 DVR.
2 TB HD-DVR.
Extensive range of packages.
Very moderate price increase from promotional to routine pricing.
Free HD channel upgrades for SD offerings.
Higher base pricing than competitors.
Limited channel count within packages.
Technical support is expensive.
Customer service is lacking.
Long Term Cost Comparison
The upfront, honest packaging pricing at Cox is quite refreshing. That said, it is higher than the price points offered by competitors with similar programming and equipment offerings.
Subscribers are locked into a two-year contract. After that time, the average increase in price is only 27% at Cox verses 120% at Direct, 85% at Dish Network, 41% at Verizon FiOS, and 55% at AT&T U-Verse. It’s definitely an A for consistency.
The long-term cost, however, doesn't get that high of a grade. Following the two-year contract, DIRECTV’s and Dish Network’s average pricing are both still under $61. Verizon remains under $90 and AT&T remains under $100 per month on average. Cox is the highest at $101.37 per month on average.
Outside of equipment and add-on package costs, there aren't a lot of fees added in the bill at Cox. These types of additional pricing are spelled out at the checkout process. Equipment price is included in some options, such as the DVR price in the Contour Ultimate Package.
As far as hidden fees go, do keep in mind that Cox charges an early termination fee (ETF) should the subscriber opt out of service before the two-year contract expires. The ETF is agreed to by the subscriber within the extensive terms and conditions and can easily be missed if not carefully reading. The fee is $240, but it does depreciate $10 for each successfully paid month of service. Someone only having paid for the service for two months would pay $220 in ETFs, but someone having paid 22 months of service would only pay $20 in ETFs.
Service Protection Plan
This is a technical cost well worth the upfront investment in the Cox Service Protection Plan. While all subscribers hope they don’t need a service call by a technician, if it happens, then the visit will cost a minimum of $60 before the technician even touches a thing.
Cox’s service protection plan costs $84 per year and it covers everyday wear and tear issues, such as frayed wires; updates; and defective issues, such as a faulty fitting. After paying for the plan, subscribers don’t incur any additional costs for such visits and repairs.
Depending on the subscriber’s location, not all of Cox’s programming options may be available.
Cox has five main package options:
1. Advanced Economy
Standard monthly rate: $31.99.
Promo monthly rate for the first year: $31.99.
Who’s it for? Those looking to keep it as inexpensive as possible and don’t mind a bare minimum channel lineup.
On the upside, this package doesn't require a contract.
On the downside, it includes very few channels, and subscribers aren't likely to find all their favorites within this package.
Includes locals and notable channels like Discovery, Food Network, USA, and Comedy Central.
Doesn't include A&E, MTV, nor ESPN.
2. Contour TV
Standard monthly rate: $81.99.
Promo monthly rate for the first year: $59.99.
Who’s it for? Those looking for moderate pricing and a moderate channel lineup.
Comes with Contour On Demand, which is the on-screen guide, DVR manager, and app.
Features 220 channels, including ESPN, HGTV, History, Discovery, and A&E.
Downside is that competitors like Dish and Direct both offer more channels at a lower monthly rate.
3. Contour Preferred
Standard monthly rate : $93.49.
Promo monthly rate: $71.49.
Who’s it for? Those looking to not have all the most popular channels, but still needing some that weren't on the Contour TV plan. This can be cheaper than adding favorites individually at a price of $5-$10 a pop.
Upside is a more complete package with 280 channels, including Nick Jr., Sci, Nicktoons, Discovery Family, and BBC.
Downside is that Dish subscribers pay $20 less a month and get 10 additional channels than Cox subscribers.
4. Contour Premier
Standard monthly rate : $106.99.
Promo monthly rate: $84.99.
Who’s it for? Those looking for all the most popular channels, but don’t need the premium movie channels.
The upside is that this is Cox’s most competitive package, ranking second in most channels for the least price amongst other television service providers.
5. Contour Ultimate
Standard monthly rate : $166.99.
Promo monthly rate: $144.99.
Who’s it for? Those wanting everything Cox offers and doesn't mind paying for it.
While other providers may offer similar lineups for less monthly payments, those providers may not always be available to all customers in all areas.
The upside is the subscriber will get all of Cox’s 380+ popular channels, all four premium movie channel packages, and a Record 6 DVR.
The downside is that Dish, Verizon, and Direct have more channels. Verizon’s Fios package, for example, has over 435 channels and is still less expensive than Cox’s everything offering.
Do note that, like most providers, Cox includes radio and music channels in their programming numbers, and this can account for up to 100 of the counted channel numbers. It’s basically a tactic most television providers use to inflate their channel numbers for marketing purposes.
Also note that premium channels are considered as HBO, Cinemax, Starz, and Showtime. They each can be purchased as a package add on for a regular price of $15.99 per month. Supplemental sports and Latino packages may also be added at an additional cost.
It’s unclear just how many HD channels Cox offers per package, but there appears to be an extensive list overall. HD versions of SD channels also appear to be free, which is a rarity amongst providers. Most charge per HD package or channel, which doesn't appear to be the case at Cox. Subscribers do, however, need to pay the equipment and installation fees for HD equipment.
Subscribers have two options on receivers, both with competitive pricing and decent storage capacity.
1. Record 6 HD-DVR
Storage capacity: 2 TB
Recording hours HD: 340
Recording hours SD: 1000
Large families can rejoice over this DVRs ability to record up to six programs simultaneously. Contour service provides program recommendations off of the subscriber’s watch and rating habits. Offline play for recorded programs is available with a Wi-Fi connection. Other providers offer similar, even more impressive, DVRs. Still, this one is likely to handle the needs of most subscribers.
2. Record 2 HD-DVR
Storage capacity: 500 GB
Recording hours HD 120
Recording hours SD 230
Record up to two programs simultaneously with this DVR. While subscribers don’t get the option to record as many shows here, they’re also paying $10 less a month for this DVR in comparison to the Record 6 equipment.
Subscribers bringing their own equipment, such as TiVo, can buy a $3 cable card to allow communication without leasing a Cox DVR, but do keep in mind that this option doesn't include Cox’s Contour service. That’s not a highly recommended option.
Watch and transfer at your leisure between televisions, tablets, smart phones, and other devices. Use the Contour App to organize up to seven user’s stored libraries. The app can also set DVR recordings and search a seven-day timeframe for upcoming programming. Unless the subscriber also has Cox essential internet, however, they can’t access app features like parental controls and VOD. That’s a rather odd stipulation and added cost if those features are must-haves for the subscriber.
Customer Service and Website
With so many offerings and caveats, it’s most often a challenge endeavor for consumers to get a grip on what all a television provider is offering. Cox is not an exception.
The website had a couple of inconsistencies, such as the Economy package being listed to have 40 channels one place and 155 channels in another place. That doesn't gain a subscriber’s confidence. At the least, it prompts a call or message with a customer service agent.
Cox has been found lagging when it comes to customer service, with at least two other television providers ranking higher across the board. Customer survey data shows that less than 50% of respondents recommend Cox.
The weakest point of Cox’s service is online chat support for customers, which many providers seem to rank poorest in for some reason. The Cox chat window times out quickly with inactivity, a real problem considering the sluggish response time of Cox’s chat agents.
Chat agents were often confusing, contradictory, and overall lacking in consistent and accurate information.
It’s rather difficult to get a phone agent since the website listed multiple numbers as a contact point. Phone agents did perform better at providing information, but they could still use a revamping in customer service efficiency.
Any consumer with a doubt about a term, price, warranty, or guarantee from a television service provider would be prudent to take a screen shot or otherwise make a copy for reference and comparison.
Cox Television Provider Overall Review
Cox’s bread and butter is in the pricing transparency and consistency from promo to standard pricing.
While an overall lower channel count than their more branded provider counterparts, the channel lineup at Cox is highly competitive. It’s also nice to not need to pay for HD channel upgrades.
DVR options include a run of the mill choice and an above average choice. While other DVRs on the market surpass Cox’s top notch choice, it would be difficult to find a better piece of equipment in this price range than the Record 6.
Since Cox only services 19 states, it limits the customer base significantly.
In comparison to other providers, Cox offers the biggest bang for the buck in the Contour Premier package. Overall, though, more robust television packages at a lower cost by Verizon, AT&T, Dish Network, and Direct TV make it difficult for Cox to compete in most areas.
Wirefly Is America's Most Trusted Source For All Cell Phones, Plans, TV, and Internet Deals
Wirefly offers great deals on a large selection of smartphones, cell phones, tablets, mobile hotspots, and other wireless devices for the nation's most popular carriers. Use Wirefly’s innovative cell phone and plan comparison tools to ensure you are getting the best deal on the market. Shop with confidence knowing that Wirefly wants to help you find the best prices on cell phones, cell phone plans, TV, and Internet service.