Both Centurylink and Cox Communications are reliable providers for TV and Internet service, but there are some key differences that make each company better suited for different users.
Centurylink offers a reliable and affordable service with wide coverage for rural customers, and TV programming that’s pretty extensive. In my experience as a former customer, their pricing is reliable and free of price-jacking shenanigans. (Tragically rare for Internet providers.)
Cox Communications provides a more premium internet experience, with faster speeds and access to over 500,000 mobile hotspots. It’s a good option for techies, larger families, or daily TV watchers who need premium channels and sports bundled in.
Below, I’ll discuss some of the main aspects of each service to try to make your decision a little bit easier.
|Average Download Speed||20.04||46.16|
|Major Cities||Las Vegas, Phoenix, Minneapolis, Denver||Las Vegas, Phoenix, San Diego, Oklahoma City|
|States Served||39 States including Arizona, Colorado, Washington, Minnesota and Florida||19 States including Arizona, California, Virginia, Louisiana and Nevada|
- No contract
- Good selection of TV channels
- Slower internet
- Mixed customer reviews
- Dish installation required for DirecTV service
Centurylink offers a no-obligation service at low prices, and still manages to come out ahead of Cox when it comes to TV channel offerings. Unfortunately, the internet is a good amount slower and there’s a bit of hassle when it comes to installing TV service.
Cox Pros and Cons
- Fast Internet
- Mobile Hotspots
- Good sports options
- More expensive
- Fewer channels
- Less coverage for rural customers
Cox Communications comes out on top in this comparison when it comes to internet speed, but that speed comes at a cost. Service from the provider is generally more expensive than that of Centurylink. The TV options are also not quite as extensive.
Centurylink largely operates on a DSL network. DSL, or Digital Subscriber Line, is a method of delivering internet that relies on phone lines. The speeds provided are much faster than dial-up, and have the advantage of not tying up your phone line.
Cox, on the other hand, offers cable internet. Cable connections use the coaxial cables that deliver television to transmit data, and are capable of speeds that are many times faster than that of DSL.
Generally, Cable is going to have a clear advantage when it comes to internet. DSL is not without its perks, however, as it provides more reliable speeds. But better reliability doesn’t really make up for a connection that can’t support heavy traffic like online gaming or streaming.
|Plan||Download (Mbps)||Upload (Mbps)||Data|
|High-speed Internet||12||5||1 TB|
|Pure Broadband||40||5||1 TB|
|1 Gig||1000||1000||1 TB|
|Plan||Download (Mbps)||Upload (Mbps)||Data|
|Internet Starter||5||1||1 TB|
|Internet Essential||15||2||1 TB|
|Internet Preferred 100||100||10||1 TB|
|Internet Ultimate||300||30||1 TB|
Both Centurylink and Cox Communications offer double and triple play bundles. Cox, while generally having pretty good deals, is still going to be a decent amount more expensive than Centurylink.
Centurylink provides lower prices and a more extensive selection of channels with their TV bundles, at the expense of slower internet.
When you’re in the market for more than one service, it’s always a good idea to bundle. Keep in mind, however, that a good bundle deal may still not be better than the competitor – as is often the case when comparing Cox and Centurylink packages.
- Multiple DVRs included
- Large amount of channels
- Genie DVR is incredibly useful and fully-featured
- Mobile Viewing from the DirecTV App
- Support for 4K programming
- 72 hour rewind feature allows you to watch content from up to 3 days ago.
- Extensive selection of on-demand content
- Remote features voice control
- “Streaming” TV option with Contour Flex
- Comprehensive TV Guide
- Wide variety of sports options
Centurylink appears to have the advantage when it comes to TV features, with many more channels and a handy DVR courtesy of DirecTV. Cox has the upper hand when it comes to on-demand content and sports, but falls behind Centurylink in general even with more premium plans.
- Sports & Info Pak & Sports Pak 2 offer access to over 600 live events across a wide variety of sports
- Enjoy additional individual options like MLS Direct Kick, MLB Extra Innings, NBA League Pass, and the NFL Red Zone
- Sports Pack has over 30 regional sports networks, the MLB Network Strike Zone, speciality sports and international soccer.
- Good access to college sports
- The Genie DVR allows you to track your favorite teams.
Although the Genie DVR is useful, the Sports packs offered by Cox are just generally a little more comprehensive. Regardless, both providers offer some great options for sports and this section shouldn’t be a “deal-breaker” either way.
As discussed a little bit above, Centurylink features the DirecTV Genie DVR, which is one of the more fully-featured models on the market. The Genie is developed by TiVo, a company long known for their great TV equipment. You’ll find the systems jam packed with features that make TV watching a really enjoyable and customizable experience.
The Cox DVR situation is a little more basic, but the more expensive models offer up to 1000 hours of storage and the ability to record up to six shows simultaneously. While Cox Contour DVRs don’t have all the bells and whistles of the Genie models, they still serve quite nicely as a quality upgrade to a basic cable box.
Centurylink Key Advantage: Low Prices and Good TV
Cox Communications Key Advantage: Faster Internet And Easy Mobile Access
Equipment and Installation Considerations
Both provides offer options for self-installation, which is generally the better deal if you have a minimum of technical know-how.
If you’re getting DirecTV content through Centurylink, a Dish will have to be installed which is a little more of a hassle. Professional installation, in either case, usually requires an additional fee.
Both providers also offer the option to either rent your internet equipment or buy your own.
The TV Nerd’s Take: Cox Communications, for Faster Internet and Good Sports Coverage
Centurylink is generally going to be the better option if you’re only interested in TV, but in 2017 a lot of us rely on the internet for both work and pleasure. DSL speeds just won’t cut it in a lot of situations, so the advantages of Centurylink are somewhat negated by their less than impressive internet options.
Cox Communications is going to be the better choice for most customers in the majority of situations.