The TV Nerd's Take

Cox is best if you want to bundle Internet and TV for one bill. Their TV options are strong for the price, but fall short of DirecTV in terms of sports offerings and channel count/HD channel count. DirecTV is the only option for NFL Sunday Ticket.

Since both Cox and DirecTV provide consumers with attractive services, it can be difficult to know which one is right for you. Not to worry, though, as I’ve got just the info you need.

DirecTV generally has more cost-efficient plans and is a hit with sports lovers. I should also mention that DirecTV was acquired by AT&T back in 2015. As a result, those who are interested in getting DirecTV services can now bundle them up with AT&T Internet and phone services.

Cox is pricier in the long run, but they make up for that with the powerful DVR they offer. Also, its bundles are pretty attractive.

Core Comparison
 Cox CommunicationsDirecTV
Pricing$19.99$35.00
Major Cities Las Vegas, Phoenix, San Diego, Oklahoma City Nationwide
States Served 19 States including Arizona, California, Virginia, Louisiana and Nevada Nationwide

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

Pros

  • Superior DVR options
  • Attractive bundles
  • Voice-operated TV remote

Cons

  • Lower Internet speeds than most DirecTV affiliates
  • More expensive than DirecTV
  • No 4K support

DirecTV Pros and Cons

Setup Service
Looking to setup DirecTV service? Use this line to speak with a human in less than 60 seconds: 844-298-9664

Pros:

  • Top-notch sports options
  • Free installation
  • More cost-efficient

Cons:

  • Satellite Dish installation required
  • No stand-alone Internet plans of their own
  • Data cap varies depending on the Internet affiliate

Cox vs DirecTV – Internet Performance

Cox

Cox uses a cable network. Naturally, that would immediately make you worry about data caps. Fortunately, while Cox does feature a data cap, it’s around 1TB (Terabyte) per month. If you go over it, though, you’ll pay an extra $10 for every 50GB (Gigabytes) you’ll use up.

According to Cox, only two percent of their customers go over that limit, so you normally shouldn’t have anything to worry about.

DirecTV

With DirecTV, things get a bit more complex. That’s because they don’t provide Internet services of their own. Instead, you have to bundle their TV services with Internet services from other providers, such as:

  • Mediacom
  • Exede by Viasat
  • CenturyLink
  • Cincinnati Bell
  • HughesNet
  • Windstream
  • AT&T

As a result, I can’t really talk about a specific type of network with DirecTV. It can range from cable Internet to dial-up and satellite connections.

Usually, most people go with AT&T, as they use both DSL and fiber networks. They do feature data caps that vary between 150 GB and 1TB, though. But the good news is that they also have Internet plans that come with unlimited home data.

Also, as long as you maintain a bundle of TV and Internet services on a combined bill, you’ll get unlimited data allowance free of charge.

Cox vs DirecTV: Cox in cable areas, DirecTV everywhere else

DirecTV Coverage Info

DirecTV has coverage throughout the US via satellite, with a few key caveats.

First, you’ll need access to a place to install the dish, such as a roof, window, or patio. Second, this area will need a clear view south in order to get reception. Finally, renters often need permission in writing from a landlord before moving forward with installation. DirecTV should walk you through this process when you sign up over the phone ([phone).

Internet Options and Speeds Offered

Cox Internet plans offer download speeds that go up to 300 Mbps (megabits per second) and upload speeds that go up to 30 Mbps.

DirecTV’s Internet speeds vary depending on the provider you choose. Most consumers stick with AT&T, as their download and upload speeds go up to 1,000 Mbps.

CenturyLink is another popular bundle option, as their download speeds also go up to 1,000 Mbps.

All in all, DirecTV wins this round due to its speedier Internet affiliate options.

Bundled Services

A DIRECTV remote.
DirecTV bundles with some other Internet providers for an approximate $10/month saving. Image via Custom USB/Flickr

Cox offers Double Play and Triple Play bundles. They have bundles priced under $100/month, but most of them go over that price range — especially when you consider the fact that Cox’s promotional prices only last for 12 months. Afterwards, they usually increase by $20/month.

Still, I did like the fact that some Triple Play bundles include the TV plan free of charge, so you definitely get more bang for your buck.

DirecTV Bundles

DirecTV has both Double Play and Triple Play offers. The pricing can vary, but if you were to choose DirecTV + AT&T bundles, you would end up paying anywhere between $80 and $100 per month for the first two years.

All in all, we’d say that DirecTV bundles are more budget-friendly (depending on the provider), but Cox bundles have more to offer and you don’t have to go through multiple providers until you find what you want.

Cox vs. DirecTV – TV Service

Cox

  • Watch your favorite movies from any room with 80+ TV network apps
  • Access to Pay-Per-View and On Demand content
  • Provides an on-screen TV guide that offers recommendations based on what you watch
  • Offers a voice-operated TV remote
  • HD channel support

DirecTV

  • HD channel support
  • 4K content support
  • Instant access through Pay-Per-View to all sorts of movies in 1080p HD quality courtesy of DirecTV Cinema
  • Watch On Demand shows that aired in the last 72 hours
  • Watch and stream your favorite shows wherever you are with DirecTV Everywhere if you can access a WiFi connection
  • Exclusive access to the NFL SUNDAY TICKET
  • Watch up to eight channels on a single channel

Both providers offer decent features. However, DirecTV has a slightly higher and more varied HD channel count than Cox.

Cox vs. DirecTV – Sports Packages

Cox

  • Features plenty of big sports channels
  • Sports packages include the NFL RedZone, ESPN Deportes ESP, GolTV ESP, FOX Deportes ESP, and Univision Deportes ESP
  • Purchasable seasonal sports packages such as MLS Direct Kick, NHL Center Ice, and MLB Extra Innings

DirecTV

  • Has all major sports networks
  • Offers exclusive access to the NFL SUNDAY TICKET which means you can watch every out-of-market NFL game you want
  • Sports packages include 30+ regional sports networks
  • Sports packages also include specialty sports, college sports, international sports, the MLB Network Strike Zone, and much more.
  • Access to the NBA League Pass and NHL Center Ice

While both providers offer great sports options, there’s no doubt that DirecTV is the right choice for die-hard sports fans. And that’s not just because of their exclusive NFL SUNDAY TICKET access.

Keep in mind that the big sports channels Cox offers are not available for all TV plans, and their sports channel count is missing the Ski Channel, the Pursuit Channel, and AFN Sports.

Cox vs. DirecTV DVR Showdown

Contour features two main DVR options: The Contour Record 2 HD-DVR, and the Contour Record 6 HD-DVR.

We’ll focus on the latter, as it lets you record up to six shows simultaneously (even in HD), and has a 2TB hard which can store around 300 HD or 1,000 SD hours. Plus, up to eight users can take advantage of the DVR’s capabilities if you use the Contour app on an iPad 2 or newer.

With DirecTV, you can choose between TiVo, the DirecTV Plus HD DVR, and the Genie DVR.

The highlight is the Genie, as it lets you record up to five shows at the same time. You can use Picture-in-Picture to watch two shows simultaneously, and it features 1TB of storage (around 150 HD or 400 SD hours).

In case you want to connect other TVs to the Genie, you’ll need a Genie Mini. You can also use the GenieGO if you want to watch DVR recordings on your laptop or mobile devices without an Internet connection.

DirecTV’s DVR options are definitely impressive, but it’s quite clear that Cox’s DVR is the superior choice in this case.

Cox Rises Up in Terms of Attractive Bundles and Powerful Equipment

Cox bundles might be pricey, but they offer amazing perks like the free TV plan I just mentioned. With some bundles, you can also get a 30-day money-back guarantee, free premium channels, and free HD receiver rental.

Speaking of which, besides the powerful DVR, Cox also offers quality HD receivers for those of you who don’t want to bother with a DVR but still want to enjoy some of the perks that type of equipment offers.

DirecTV Wins Overall For Better Sports Options and More Varied TV Plans

If you love sports, you can’t go wrong with DirecTV. Their sports channel selection is superior to what Cox offers, and it’s hard to compete with their exclusive NFL SUNDAY TICKET access.

Also, DirecTV’s stand-alone TV plans are far more attractive since they have something for everyone given how varied they are (six plans in total).

Cox vs. DirecTV – Equipment and Installation Consideration

Cox only offers a free installation with some bundled deals. Otherwise, their installation fees can start from around $75. Cox provides plenty of useful self-install guides, so self-installation is an option, but that will still cost you approximately $20 or $30, apparently.

Other than that, the overall installation process should be faster and less hassle-free with Cox since it’s cable TV.

With DirecTV, you get a free installation if you sign up for one of their two-year contracts. Just remember that a Dish will need to be installed since DirecTV provides satellite TV.

Both providers have their own ups and downs in this regard, so it all depends on what type of TV service you want, and if paying for an installation bothers you or not.

Our Pick: DirecTV, for Their Superior TV Services and Internet Speeds

While Cox does offer better equipment options (like the DVR and voice-controlled remote) and top-notch bundles, it just can’t compete with DirecTV’s improved channel selection, cost-efficient promotional pricing, and enhanced sports offering.

Even if we’re talking about Double Play situations, DirecTV is still a better choice because you can pair up their TV services with Internet providers that offer better speeds than Cox.

Of course, if you’re adamant you want to get a powerful DVR out of this, Cox would be the better option in that case.

Before making a final decision, you should also take the time to ask your friends and family (and even neighbors) what they think of Cox or DirecTV if they’ve used their service before.

But in case you’re in a hurry and looking to get TV services as fast as possible, I recommend going with DirecTV.

Comments

  • Image of Mary
    Mary says
    07/05/2018

    I'm curious about the dish. Is reception easily knocked out by wind & summer storms? And, if there's a problem or damage to the dish, is it expensive to have it serviced?
    Thank you for all the info you've provided. Very, very helpful!

    Reply

    1. Image of Adi Marcovich
      Adi Marcovich says
      07/09/2018

      Hi Mary -- so long as not raining literal cats and dogs, you should be fine ;). winter storms covering it with snow is only issue I've heard of. Brushing off with a broom does the trick. Service calls are about $90, but depends on reason for call and details of your contract/area. It's about the same cost as Cox cable. Main benefit of Cox in my eyes is: shorter contract period.

      Reply

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