The TV Nerd's Take

Cox is a good plan since you can bundle Internet and cable TV for one monthly bill. Many customers prefer Dish TV since they specialize in TV and have a stronger overall channel listing for the price, if you’re willing to sign a 2-year agreement and deal with a separate bill.

Choosing your next TV provider doesn’t have to be a nightmare. I’ve covered some of the biggest pain points between two key players here – internet service, sports selection, equipment stack-ups, and more.

Core Comparison
 Cox CommunicationsDish Network
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


  • Good choice of channels and add-ons
  • Value-filled bundles


  • Very expensive equipment
  • Available only in select areas

Dish pros and cons

Setup Service
Looking to setup Dish Network service? Use this line to speak with a human in less than 60 seconds: 844-387-1706


  • Available everywhere
  • Easy pricing structure
  • Inexpensive compared to others


  • Do not provide their own internet
  • Weather may affect reception

Network Comparison

Cox offers internet over their cable network. Their cable network has a fiber optic backbone, with traditional coax cables in neighborhoods for speedier cable.

Comparatively, Dish does not provide their own network for internet, but partners with companies such as HughesNet satellite and Frontier FiOS to make the leap. Their partners all have different network types and some may not be available in all areas.

Cox vs Dish Internet performance

Dish: Nationwide Coverage

Dish has a leg up on cable providers like Cox when it comes to coverage for TV service. On the flip side, they don’t have their own Internet service or phone connections like Cox.

Keep in mind that Dish required a southern view and place on roof/patio/window to install a reception device. (These are the “Dish” dishes you see hanging out the windows of apartment buildings throughout the US.)

Perusing Cox’s internet packages, you’ll find they offer several different speeds for their customers: 5Mbps, 15Mbps, 100Mbps, and 300Mbps. These are peak speeds and do not accurately reflect the real speeds – you’ll be looking at around 75% of these figures. Data is uncapped for Cox.

Dish’s internet speeds depend entirely on which internet service provider partner you choose, the technology they use, and your location. Make sure to ask what your speeds will be like and whether there is a data cap before signing up for a package so you don’t get any nasty surprises.

Bundled services

A Dish Network remote control.
Dish TV can be combined with Cox for the best of both worlds. Unforunately, the best of both worlds means two seperate bills to deal with… Image via frankieleon/Flickr
Cox provides a wide array of bundles for customers to choose from. Their recommended bundles are the Cox Bronze, Silver, and Gold with phone, and even Homelife, their home security package, if you wish. These include 220+ channels (and HBO, Cinemax, Showtime & Starz for Silver, + Epix for Gold. You’re also able to pick and choose from phone, internet and TV for other bundled services, which vary in channel selection and internet speeds.

Dish offers bundled internet through various secondary partners, however, costs do vary depending on the partner as well as your location. You’ll need to provide them with your details to see what’s available in your area.

Cox vs Dish TV service

With Cox, they call their TV service “Contour” and you have the choice of selecting 70+ channels, 130+ channels, 170+ channels, or 220+ channels, depending entirely on your plan. You’ll save more (and have more choice available) if you bundle alongside internet. Channel selection features the usual suspects, plus even for smaller packages, you currently get the choice of one of HBO, Cinemax, Showtime, or Starz if you sign up online.

Dish has just three different options when it comes to channel choice: their America’s Top 120 plan gives you 190 channels, America’s Top 120+ plan gives you 190+ channels, America’s Top 200 gives 240+ channels, and America’s Top 250 has 290+ channels.

Cox vs Dish Sports packages

Depending on your package, Cox provides standard sports channels ESPN, Fox Sports, and The Golf Channel, along with specialties like SEC, NBA TV, and NHL Network with their top-tier package.”Sports paks” can be added to the next highest package to supplement.

Dish offers the standard sports channels too, however, presently they’re throwing in their Multi-Sport pack for free with all packages except the very base ‘America’s Top 120’. This sports pack includes channels like the NFL Network and MLB. Additional channels like NHL Center Ice and MLB Extra Innings can be purchased separately, too.

Cox vs Dish Equipment

When you go with Cox, you have the choice between two different DVRs – the Record 6, where you can record 6 channels at once and store 1000 hours of programming, or the Record 2, which can record 2 channels and store 200 hours. Be aware that the monthly cost for both of these is a fair bit steeper than other providers. Their HD receiver and additional boxes are competitively priced.

Dish’s DVR is the competition beating Hopper 3, which allows for recording of up to 16 shows and stores 2000 hours of programming. An additional fee is again required, which goes up if you add extra boxes for extra TVs.

Cox Has the Power of Choice

Cox offers customers so many different options when it comes to bundling services that you really are spoilt for choice. You’ll be able to find the perfect package that suits you to a T.

Dish Has Excellent DVR Capability With the Hopper 3

If you’re someone that loves to record and watch later, then you can’t go past the Hopper 3. Using this DVR you won’t miss a minute of your favorite shows.

Cox vs Dish Equipment and Installation Considerations

Cox’s equipment is pricey! However, they do offer the option to BYO equipment such as DVR or set top box – all you’ll need is their CableCARD (a small monthly fee) for access. This is highly recommended if you choose to go with Cox.Their Bronze, Silver, and Gold packages come with free installation, however other packages may attract a fee.

Dish’s equipment is relatively well priced for what you’re getting and their service includes free installation and satellite Dish rental.

TV Nerd Suggests: Cox for choice (if you use your own equipment)

I really love being able to get exactly what I want – and that’s what Cox can offer with their large range of bundles. Make sure to do the tech-savvy thing and purchase your own equipment to avoid steep bills though! If you’re after a cheap and easy option, then maybe try Dish TV and combine it with a Cox Internet-only plan.

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