CableTV SVG icons
CableTV.com

Best Cable Providers

At CableTV.com, we take our job to provide expert, helpful advice about TV providers seriously. So we hired a third-party company to ask real customers about their providers across five areas of satisfaction: installation, channels, reliability, cost, and customer service. The results are in and without further ado, we’re ready to declare the best TV provider and winner of our customer satisfaction survey.

Read more about the 2016 TV Providers Customer Satisfaction Survey

The Top 5 TV Providers

1

Fios by Verizon

Type: Fiber View plans
Installation - 3.76/5

Customer satisfaction with installation fees and scheduling.

Channels - 3.75/5

How satisfied customers are with channel selection and packaging value.

Reliability - 4.08/5

Customer satisfaction with the reliability of the TV signal.

Price - 3.02/5

Ratings reflect customer satisfaction with cost and monthly fees.

Service - 3.7/5

Customer satisfaction with quality of customer service and technical support.

  • Installation
  • Channels
  • Reliability
  • Price
  • Service

Pros

  • More than 425 Channels
  • No Contract
  • Fiber optic Network
  • Good Customer Service

Cons

  • Limited availability
  • Installation fees

Summary: Verizon Fios earns top marks for channel selection, offering custom TV and lots of HD packages. Considered one of the most reliable TV providers, Verizon operates a 100% fiber-optic network that bundles TV service with faster internet speeds. Verizon Fios is only available in just a few metro areas.

Best For: Channel selection and signal reliability

See Packages
Read More
2

DIRECTV

Type: Satellite View plans
Installation - 3.85/5

Customer satisfaction with installation fees and scheduling.

Channels - 3.69/5

How satisfied customers are with channel selection and packaging value.

Reliability - 3.91/5

Customer satisfaction with the reliability of the TV signal.

Price - 2.92/5

Ratings reflect customer satisfaction with cost and monthly fees.

Service - 3.77/5

Customer satisfaction with quality of customer service and technical support.

  • Installation
  • Channels
  • Reliability
  • Price
  • Service

Pros

  • Free Installation
  • NFL SUNDAY TICKET
  • Great customer service

Cons

  • Contract required
  • Weather related outages

Summary: Providers like DIRECTV have moved satellite TV service from rural areas into the mainstream. A wide range of packages, bundled services, and superior DVR equipment make DIRECTV a great value for customers everywhere. DIRECTV specifically excels in the new customer experience, offering free installation and a consumer-centric approach that makes the two-year commitment much easier to swallow.

Best For: Installation

See Packages
Read More
3

DISH

Type: Satellite View plans
Installation - 3.8/5

Customer satisfaction with installation fees and scheduling.

Channels - 3.65/5

How satisfied customers are with channel selection and packaging value.

Reliability - 3.08/5

Customer satisfaction with the reliability of the TV signal.

Price - 3.16/5

Ratings reflect customer satisfaction with cost and monthly fees.

Service - 3.64/5

Customer satisfaction with quality of customer service and technical support.

  • Installation
  • Channels
  • Reliability
  • Price
  • Service

Pros

  • Superior equipment
  • Good customer service
  • Free installation

Cons

  • Weather related outages
  • Contract required
  • Misleading promotions

Summary: DISH’s skinny bundles are some of the most affordable out there and, coupled with a commitment to transparent billing practices, DISH earns high marks for customer satisfaction with their monthly bill. Additionally, DISH has the most advanced DVR equipment, the Hopper 3, which makes for a terrific value compared to the capacity and capabilities of other providers. Take satellite for a spin and with DISH, your wallet won’t be sorry.

Best For: Price

See Packages
Read More
4

AT&T U-verse

Type: Fiber View plans
Installation - 3.77/5

Customer satisfaction with installation fees and scheduling.

Channels - 3.63/5

How satisfied customers are with channel selection and packaging value.

Reliability - 3.94/5

Customer satisfaction with the reliability of the TV signal.

Price - 2.86/5

Ratings reflect customer satisfaction with cost and monthly fees.

Service - 3.67/5

Customer satisfaction with quality of customer service and technical support.

  • Installation
  • Channels
  • Reliability
  • Price
  • Service

Pros

  • Fiber optic network
  • Affordable bundles
  • Lots of channels

Cons

  • Limited availability
  • Inferior DVR equipment
  • Higher prices, fees

Summary: While AT&T doesn’t knock it out of the park in any one specific area on our survey, they did well in overall satisfaction. Their fiber to the premises network delivers fast internet speeds and allows them to provide over 550 channels of programming, much of it in HD. Some of AT&T’s appeal comes from attractively priced bundles that allow customers to roll TV, internet, phone, security, and even wireless services into one convenient monthly bill.

Best For: Channel selection and signal reliability

See Packages
Read More
5

Frontier Fios

Type: Fiber View plans
Installation - 3.63/5

Customer satisfaction with installation fees and scheduling.

Channels - 3.47/5

How satisfied customers are with channel selection and packaging value.

Reliability - 4.03/5

Customer satisfaction with the reliability of the TV signal.

Price - 3.06/5

Ratings reflect customer satisfaction with cost and monthly fees.

Service - 3.66/5

Customer satisfaction with quality of customer service and technical support.

  • Installation
  • Channels
  • Reliability
  • Price
  • Service

Pros

  • Fiber optic network
  • No Contract
  • Affordable Bundles

Cons

  • Limited availability
  • Hidden fees
  • Outages in newly acquired service areas

Summary: Frontier is offering fiber in portions of its footprint, which leans towards rural areas. It’s been well received among that customer base, who are enthusiastic to find the future of the internet has finally arrived. While the cost is a little more than customers would pay for cable, they seem to appreciate having the choice and have rewarded Frontier with high marks in satisfaction.

Best For: Channel selection and signal reliability

See Packages
Read More

The Winners

Let’s take a look at the winners in each category, how we determined that ranking, and what these providers are offering that’s keeping customers satisfied. That way, if one feature of service is more important to you than another, you can pick a provider that’ll deliver on what matters to you.

Before we do, a word about our methods. To arrive at this determination, we asked customers the following questions:

How satisfied are you with your TV service install and setup? (Fees, scheduling, etc.) How satisfied are you with your TV package’s channels? How satisfied are you with your TV signal reliability? How satisfied are you with the cost of your monthly TV bill? How satisfied are you with your TV provider’s technical support and customer service? How many hours of TV do you typically watch per day?

The rating each provider received was an average of scores across all five areas of customer satisfaction from our 2016 TV Providers Customer Satisfaction Survey.

Top TV Providers Overall

  1. Fios by Verizon
  2. DIRECTV
  3. dish

It’s not difficult to see why Verizon Fios is a preferred provider for TV. Operating on a fiber-optic network not only gives Verizon the edge when it comes to internet speed, it also enables them to offer unprecedented channel selection in dazzling HD. Verizon provides a custom TV option where customers don’t pay for channels they don’t watch, as well as additional value in bundles that couple TV with internet, phone, and wireless services.

All of this dynamic technology at an affordable price makes Verizon’s customers some of the most satisfied in our survey. Top marks in channel selection and reliability tips Verizon Fios into the winner’s position for 2016’s Best TV Provider. The drawback? Verizon Fios isn’t widely available and the company has indicated they don’t intend to pursue additional fiber buildouts in the near future. If you currently live in a part of Verizon Fios’s service area, consider yourself lucky and make them your TV provider today. If not, consider opting for one of the satellite providers who still earn top marks and are widely available across the country.

Want to know if Verizon Fios is available in your area? Use our zip code finder to see plans, pricing, and more.

Top TV Providers for Installation

  1. DIRECTV
  2. dish
  3. U-verse

Survey Question: How satisfied are you with your TV service install and setup? (Fees, scheduling, etc.)

Satellite companies in general earn higher marks for their installation process. While it can be more involved than cable, companies like DIRECTV offer free installation and have built a reputation for excellent customer service. DIRECTV does a particularly admirable job on this front with a large section of support and resources directed towards installation and the new customer experience. It’s an approach that’s winning kudos from customers and keeping them satisfied enough to commit to a two-year contract.

Top TV Providers for Channel Selection

  1. Fios by Verizon
  2. DIRECTV
  3. dish

Survey Question: How satisfied are you with your TV package’s channels?

As we previously indicated, Verizon Fios has a fiber-optic network that allows them to offer a particularly high channel count and a good amount of dynamic HD. But the customer satisfaction here also stems from their custom TV packages, where you can choose a slimmed down bundle and add-on sports, movies, and kids programming affordably. DIRECTV, the home of NFL SUNDAY TICKET, nips closely at their heels with a wealth of programming aimed at sports fans. While DISH doesn’t have the highest channel count, their affordably priced bundles give the most bang for your buck. Providers like Verizon Fios are proving to the TV industry that customer satisfaction isn’t just about channel count; it’s also about choice.

Top TV Providers for Reliability

  1. Fios by Verizon
  2. Frontier
  3. U-verse

Survey Question: How satisfied are you with your TV signal reliability?

While Verizon Fios may not be widely available, current customers are enjoying the benefits of a reliable, fast fiber-optic network that provides consistent excellence in entertainment. Part of this satisfaction stems from Verizon’s strategic approach to expanding their service footprint, focusing on areas where they can support service in a cost-effective manner and giving up other markets that are struggling to present value. Instead of expanding fast and furiously, Verizon has chosen to develop their network methodically, demonstrating wisdom gleaned from decades of involvement in a changing telecommunications industry. Fiber-optic networks like Frontier and AT&T are close behind, offering unprecedented, reliable internet speeds coupled with affordable TV.

Top TV Providers for Price (Monthly Billing)

  1. dish
  2. Frontier
  3. Fios by Verizon

Survey Question: How satisfied are you with the cost of your monthly TV bill?

DISH Network continues to offer a terrific value to its customers with some of the most affordable bundles in the TV industry, packing nearly 200 channels into a package that tops out at $55 a month. But the real value here is DISH’s focus on transparency in their billing. My DISH offers customers plenty of examples of bills with detailed explanations, setting expectations for pricing beyond the promotional period. While there have been some complaints directed at the company in regards to aggressive marketing tactics, it appears that DISH’s own customers are highly satisfied with the support and value they’re seeing in the monthly bill. Fiber- optic networks like Verizon and Frontier lag behind likely due to higher pricing, but still maintain high levels of satisfaction for strong customer service, affordable bundles, and transparent billing practices.

Top TV Providers for Customer Service

  1. RCN
  2. DIRECTV
  3. Fios by Verizon

Survey Question: How satisfied are you with your TV provider’s technical support and customer service?

It’s not surprising to see companies like DIRECTV and Verizon turning in a strong performance in customer service. But who is this company taking the lead on customer service in a troubled industry? RCN is hitting a home run with strong customer satisfaction and loyalty and there are a few reasons why. While their package prices are more expensive, it’s those peppy internet speeds and the focused attention they provide to a localized customer base that wins RCN points at the expense of other larger providers. A continued commitment to expanding their service area and more affordably priced bundles will help increase RCN’s popularity. Keep your eye on the new kid, folks. RCN is definitely got our vote for cable company most likely to win your actual affection.

Which type of service should I get?

So many types of service and they all seem confusing. How does it all work and which one is right for you?

Satellite

Satellite

Satellite TV service is a technology that utilizes satellites in space to broadcast TV signal. Customers have receivers or dishes attached to structures that allow them to lock onto the signal and receive programming. Satellite rarely experiences weather related outages that can effect cable or DSL providers since their network operates from space, but there can be localized interruptions during times of severe storms or snowfall. It used to be that satellite TV was a preferred option for those in rural areas without access to cable. And that’s certainly still the case in remote areas, where the infrastructure for cable broadband doesn’t extend much beyond the city limits. But satellite TV providers have expanded their appeal across the country by offering excellent customer service, superior DVR equipment, and robust channel packages that have put other cable providers to shame. One of the drawbacks of satellite service, however, is that most providers utilize two-year contracts and bundled services are much less attractive because satellite internet service is fairly slow and subject to data caps.

Cable

Cable

Generally, when we discuss modern TV service, we’re often talking about cable TV. Cable became the commonplace way to deliver TV programming back in the 1980’s, when the industry heavily invested in the infrastructure needed to broadcast programming to most households in America. Later, those same broadband wires would become the backbone of a faster internet, running the last mile to homes.

Cable companies are part and parcel of a troubled telecommunications industry that is notorious for poor customer service and resistance to consumer friendly legislation. In recent years, an unprecedented number of customers have “cut the cord,” abandoning traditional cable for streaming services that offer more affordability. Despite this trend, cable TV is still one of the most reliable and widely available ways to receive TV programming and the majority of American household have cable TV.

Fiber

Fiber

In addition to faster internet, fiber-optic networks have begun to offer TV service to a growing population of Americans. Fiber-optic technology allows data to be delivered more efficiently from a wire that is a fraction of the size of cable. Because of it’s speed, many providers see fiber as the future of the internet and have begun buildouts in major cities. The backbone of the internet runs on fiber-optics, but the cost of extending this to what the industry refers to as “the last mile” of residential customers has been a huge difficulty. Fiber networks tend to be clustered in urban areas, where large amounts of subscribers in a densely populated footprint can make the cost of investing in fiber infrastructure worthwhile. Fiber tends to cost a little more than cable, and most households don’t currently need the additional internet speeds that it offers. As far as TV service is concerned, fiber is nice but it’s not really necessary. Which type of service is available in your area? Use your zip code tool to find out.

Want to know if Verizon Fios is available in your area? Use our zip code finder to see plans, pricing, and more.

Other Popular TV Providers

6

RCN

Type: Cable View plans
Installation - 3.72/5

Customer satisfaction with installation fees and scheduling.

Channels - 3.44/5

How satisfied customers are with channel selection and packaging value.

Reliability - 3.81/5

Customer satisfaction with the reliability of the TV signal.

Price - 2.95/5

Ratings reflect customer satisfaction with cost and monthly fees.

Service - 3.81/5

Customer satisfaction with quality of customer service and technical support.

  • Installation
  • Channels
  • Reliability
  • Price
  • Service

Pros

  • Excellent customer service
  • Highly reliable
  • No contract

Cons

  • Limited service area
  • Poor channel selection
  • Higher prices

Summary: RCN’s isn’t widely available and their TV can be pricey, but they have fast internet that’s pretty affordable when bundled. They’ve also got a fantastic reputation for customer service.

Best For: Customer Service

See Packages
Read More
7

CenturyLink

Type: Fiber View plans
Installation - 3.64/5

Customer satisfaction with installation fees and scheduling.

Channels - 3.59/5

How satisfied customers are with channel selection and packaging value.

Reliability - 3.59/5

Customer satisfaction with the reliability of the TV signal.

Price - 2.97/5

Ratings reflect customer satisfaction with cost and monthly fees.

Service - 3.48/5

Customer satisfaction with quality of customer service and technical support.

  • Installation
  • Channels
  • Reliability
  • Price
  • Service

Pros

  • Free Installation
  • Fiber-optic Network
  • Affordable bundles

Cons

  • Reliability issues
  • Customer Service Concerns
  • Contract required

Summary: For a fiber-optic provider, CenturyLink is scraping the bottom of the barrel, largely due to issues with reliability, outages, and expanding service areas without appropriate support.

Best For:

See Packages
Read More
8

Mediacom

Type: Cable View plans
Installation - 3.61/5

Customer satisfaction with installation fees and scheduling.

Channels - 3.46/5

How satisfied customers are with channel selection and packaging value.

Reliability - 3.83/5

Customer satisfaction with the reliability of the TV signal.

Price - 2.71/5

Ratings reflect customer satisfaction with cost and monthly fees.

Service - 3.49/5

Customer satisfaction with quality of customer service and technical support.

  • Installation
  • Channels
  • Reliability
  • Price
  • Service

Pros

  • Free HD
  • Very affordable bundles
  • Widely available

Cons

  • Confusing billing
  • Contract required

Summary: Mediacom just covers the basics when it comes to cable, but inexpensive bundles and high marks for reliability earn this provider a top spot in satisfaction among cable providers.

Best For:

See Packages
Read More
9

Cox

Type: Cable View plans
Installation - 3.54/5

Customer satisfaction with installation fees and scheduling.

Channels - 3.29/5

How satisfied customers are with channel selection and packaging value.

Reliability - 3.72/5

Customer satisfaction with the reliability of the TV signal.

Price - 2.67/5

Ratings reflect customer satisfaction with cost and monthly fees.

Service - 3.6/5

Customer satisfaction with quality of customer service and technical support.

  • Installation
  • Channels
  • Reliability
  • Price
  • Service

Pros

  • Widely available
  • Lots of package options
  • Superior DVR storage

Cons

  • Poor channel selection
  • Higher pricing
  • Contract required

Summary: Cox’s higher prices don’t seem justified given their channel selection, but they have superior equipment compared to other cable competitors.

Best For:

See Packages
Read More
10

Xfinity

Type: Cable View plans
Installation - 3.51/5

Customer satisfaction with installation fees and scheduling.

Channels - 3.51/5

How satisfied customers are with channel selection and packaging value.

Reliability - 3.78/5

Customer satisfaction with the reliability of the TV signal.

Price - 2.66/5

Ratings reflect customer satisfaction with cost and monthly fees.

Service - 3.34/5

Customer satisfaction with quality of customer service and technical support.

  • Installation
  • Channels
  • Reliability
  • Price
  • Service

Pros

  • Widely available
  • Affordable bundles
  • No contract

Cons

  • Poor customer service reputation
  • Hidden fees
  • Limited HD recording capacity

Summary: Comcast’s XFINITY has a notoriously bad reputation for customer service, but they still beat out many other cable providers for price, channel selection, and reliability.

Best For:

See Packages
Read More
11

Time Warner Cable

Type: Cable View plans
Installation - 3.42/5

Customer satisfaction with installation fees and scheduling.

Channels - 3.27/5

How satisfied customers are with channel selection and packaging value.

Reliability - 3.71/5

Customer satisfaction with the reliability of the TV signal.

Price - 2.65/5

Ratings reflect customer satisfaction with cost and monthly fees.

Service - 3.34/5

Customer satisfaction with quality of customer service and technical support.

  • Installation
  • Channels
  • Reliability
  • Price
  • Service

Pros

  • Widely available
  • No credit check
  • Free self-installation

Cons

  • Poor channel selection
  • Inferior equipment
  • Contract required

Summary: TWC has merged with Charter on the corporate level, but still operates separately. Inferior channels and equipment present less value to the average TV consumer.

Best For:

See Packages
Read More
12

Optimum

Type: Cable View plans
Installation - 3.29/5

Customer satisfaction with installation fees and scheduling.

Channels - 3.3/5

How satisfied customers are with channel selection and packaging value.

Reliability - 3.62/5

Customer satisfaction with the reliability of the TV signal.

Price - 2.8/5

Ratings reflect customer satisfaction with cost and monthly fees.

Service - 3.3/5

Customer satisfaction with quality of customer service and technical support.

  • Installation
  • Channels
  • Reliability
  • Price
  • Service

Pros

  • Highly affordable bundles
  • No contract

Cons

  • Limited availability
  • Installation fees

Summary: Optimum has fairly fast internet, but their TV offerings leave something to be desired, coupled with a limited service area.

Best For:

See Packages
Read More
13

Charter

Type: Cable View plans
Installation - 3.46/5

Customer satisfaction with installation fees and scheduling.

Channels - 3.32/5

How satisfied customers are with channel selection and packaging value.

Reliability - 3.67/5

Customer satisfaction with the reliability of the TV signal.

Price - 2.5/5

Ratings reflect customer satisfaction with cost and monthly fees.

Service - 3.3/5

Customer satisfaction with quality of customer service and technical support.

  • Installation
  • Channels
  • Reliability
  • Price
  • Service

Pros

  • Widely available
  • No Contract

Cons

  • Poor customer service
  • Installation fees

Summary: Charter struggles with a reputation for poor customer service but has been making improvements to earn FCC approval for their recent merger with Time Warner Cable.

Best For:

See Packages
Read More