Looking for more up-to-date information? Check out the 2016 customer satisfaction survey.

We asked over 4,000 people in the U.S. about how they usually watch TV at home and how satisfied they are with their respective services. The results are in and the cable companies might want to take notice.

Our survey asked seven questions:

  1. How do you usually watch TV at home?
  2. Who is your primary TV service provider?
  3. How satisfied are you with your TV service install and setup? (Fees, scheduling, etc.)
  4. How satisfied are you with your TV package’s channels?
  5. How satisfied are you with your TV signal reliability?
  6. How satisfied are you with your monthly TV bill?
  7. How satisfied are you with your TV provider’s technical support and customer service?

Our analysis is limited to providers with more than 40 customer satisfaction ratings: AT&T U-verse, DirecTV, DISH, Charter, Cox, Time Warner Cable, Verizon FiOS, and Xfinity from Comcast. Please contact us if you’re interested in additional data.

Who Streams, Who Watches Cable?

Question: How do you usually watch TV at home?

Graph of people who primarily watch TV with cable by age

Those in the oldest age group were almost 2x more likely than the youngest age group to choose “Cable (Any wire or fiber)” as their primary method of watching TV.

Graph of people who primarily watch TV with streaming services by age

The youngest group surveyed is over 6x more likely than the oldest group to say that “Streaming (e.g. Netflix or Hulu)” is their primary method of watching TV.

Provider Comparisons

Our second question was, “Who is your primary TV service provider?” We then asked users to rate that provider in 5 separate areas on a scale of 1 to 5 stars. Here’s an example of what users would have seen:

Survey question example

Overall Satisfaction

Our overall rating is an average of all responses in all five areas of customer satisfaction.

Graph of overall satisfaction: Verizon FiOS vs DirecTV vs DISH vs AT&T U-verse vs Cox vs Comcast Xfinity vs Charter vs Time Warner Cable

Verizon FiOS was rated #1 in overall customer satisfaction by a less-than-.1 margin. DirecTV and DISH were (very) close behind, followed by AT&T U-verse.

The large cable companies were rated lowest overall, with none scoring above the provider average of 3.7. Cox led the cable companies in 4 of 5 areas and in overall satisfaction, with Comcast doing better in channel selection. Charter Cable scored lowest in 2 areas. Time Warner Cable had the lowest rating among large TV providers, and the lowest rating in 3 of 5 areas.

Installation and Setup Satisfaction

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

Graph of TV provider installation satisfaction rating

Despite the need for DirecTV and DISH to actually mount a receiver, DirecTV customers were most satisfied with their installation and setup overall. DISH was very close to DirecTV. In a familiar trend, the telcos (telecommunication companies) beat out the Cable providers (also known as MSOs) in installation satisfaction.

Channel Selection

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

Graph of TV package channel satisfaction rating

DirecTV customers were most satisfied with their package’s channel selection. Verizon FiOS and DISH essentially tied for the runner-up spot, with AT&T’s U-verse service not far behind. The average for this question was 3.7.

Xfinity from Comcast led the cable pack in channel satisfaction, potentially owing partly to widespread positive reception to the X1 platform and its excellent channel and program organization.

Reliable TV Signal Satisfaction

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

Graph of TV provider reliability satisfaction rating

Verizon FiOS scored #1 by a wide margin in TV signal reliability satisfaction. Our findings show customers back up Verizon’s frequent ad campaigns and promises of reliability.

This was also the only question where AT&T beat DISH. While it might be expected that land-based cables would have an edge over satellite services in maintaining a signal, that’s not necessarily the case in cable customer’s minds.

Monthly Bill Satisfaction

Question: How satisfied are you with your monthly TV bill?

Graph of TV monthly bill satisfaction rating by provider

Customers are less-than-happy with their TV bills: a meager 2.6 average. DISH was rated #1 in monthly bill satisfaction. DirecTV, Verizon FiOS, and AT&T U-verse weren’t far behind. The cable companies as a whole lagged far behind the other four large providers significantly more on bill satisfaction than on any other question.

Tech Support and Customer Service

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

Graph of TV provider customer service and technical support satisfaction rating

DirecTV was #1 in support and service satisfaction. DISH and FiOS scored well, and once again AT&T U-verse stands alone in the middle. It also looks like Cox Communications’ cable customer support might have something to teach the two largest cable companies, Comcast and Time Warner Cable.

A Methodology Reminder

The results above were not influenced by us in any way, and Google Consumer Surveys states the results are objective and representative of the United States population. Remember that customer satisfaction ratings may not be objectively correct. For example, we aren’t trying to make any claims about actual signal reliability and up-time, but we can show what customers said about their TV signal’s reliability.