Quick Picks

CenturyLink is best for budget shoppers, rural residents, and renters or students. Cox is better for gamers, sports fans, and mobile TV options.

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.

Core Comparison
 CenturyLinkCox Communications
Average Download Speed27.7349.38
Netflix Ranking459
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

Centurylink Pros and Cons

Setup Service
Looking to setup CenturyLink service? Use this line to speak with a human in less than 60 seconds: (877) 862-9343


  • Inexpensive
  • 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

Setup Service
Looking to setup Cox Communications service? Use this line to speak with a human in less than 60 seconds: (855) 284-1318


  • 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 vs Cox Communications Internet performance

When comparing the Centurylink and Cox, it’s important to talk about the differences in their network infrastructure. How the actual internet content is delivered can make a big difference in the speeds you see with your home connection.

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.

Speeds offered

PlanDownload (Mbps)Upload (Mbps)Data
High-speed Internet1251 TB
Pure Broadband4051 TB
1 Gig100010001 TB
Cox Communications
PlanDownload (Mbps)Upload (Mbps)Data
Internet Starter511 TB
Internet Essential1521 TB
Internet Preferred 100100101 TB
Internet Ultimate300301 TB

Bundled services

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.

Centurylink vs Cox Communications TV service


  • 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.

Cox Communications

  • 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 packages offered by Cox and CenturyLink

NBA All-Star Game 2010 at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, TX.
Cox sports plans are a bit slimmer than DirecTV, but can be cheaper when bundled with Cox Internet service. Image via Rondo Estrello/Flickr


  • 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

Centurylink definitely has the advantage when it comes to the monthly bill, and offers a wider selection of channels due to their affiliation with DirecTV. Those who prioritize their TV viewing experience over internet will likely be more than happy with this provider.

Cox Communications Key Advantage: Faster Internet And Easy Mobile Access

There’s no denying that Cox comes out on top when talking about internet. A blazing fast cable connection and a wide network of mobile hotspots means you’ll be able to access your favorite internet content at home and on the go.

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.


  • Image of Ed Blanchard
    Ed Blanchard says

    Is it possible to get a review for Internet service ONLY users? That is: NO tv; NO telephone. I stream what little TV I watch. I have no use for broadcast televion and I do NOT use a landline for telephone. A review for users like me would be most helpful. With 5G service looming on the voice/data market, I foresee a day without cables or DSL lines.


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