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Best TV Providers in Customer Satisfaction 2022

In our comprehensive annual survey, our experts asked 6,000+ TV customers of 11 top providers to rate their service’s features, functionality, pricing, and more.

Throughout the year, CableTV.com experts research and test TV services to help support our readers in their search for a TV provider. But to get the most accurate picture of TV providers’ overall value, we conduct an annual customer satisfaction survey. It adds real-life, daily experience with top TV providers to our experts’ opinions, giving you the highest-resolution image of a TV provider’s overall value.

For 2022, we asked customers of 11 top TV providers 19 questions in three categories: overall customer satisfaction, features and functionality, and pricing and subscriptions. This year, the resulting pile of data produced one clear winner (DIRECTV STREAM) plus other valuable insights on the rest of the pack.

AT&T TV = DIRECTV STREAM

AT&T sold DIRECTV and got out of the TV business altogether. AT&T TV is now DIRECTV STREAM, a streaming service owned by—but separate from—DIRECTV. Since the service is identical and the customer service departments didn’t change, all AT&T TV scores in this survey will be attributed to DIRECTV STREAM.

Overall customer satisfaction

Customer satisfaction hinges on customer service. We asked survey respondents if their providers resolve issues quickly, effectively, and simply. Would they recommend their providers to other people? And are they getting what they expected from the service, or is it less than ideal?

What is your overall satisfaction with your cable TV provider?

The top TV providers in overall customer satisfaction.: Verizon Fios, DISH, DIRECTV, and DIRECTV STREAM.

If a TV provider can satisfy nearly two-thirds of its customer base, that’s an accomplishment.

The top three providers in overall satisfaction—Verizon Fios (63%), DIRECTV (62%), and DISH (62%)—all hit close to that mark.

Interestingly, none of the top three are actual cable TV providers. Verizon provides what is essentially a streaming service, while DIRECTV and DISH are satellite TV services.

Even the fourth-place finisher, DIRECTV STREAM, is a streaming service. And the remaining eight providers in the survey are all cable providers.

Real Verizon customer speaks up

I have given Verizon the current rating because everything that they indicated that they would provide, they have. I had an initial problem connecting, and the telephone service rep stayed with my wife and me until we were completely satisfied.

Although this section focuses on customer service issues, this particular question also takes TV providers’ product quality into account. So these results could indicate that customers prefer satellite and streaming TV services over cable TV.

What is your overall satisfaction with your cable TV provider?

Swipe Left to See All →
ProviderExtremely or very satisfied
Verizon63%
DISH Network62%
DIRECTV62%
DIRECTV STREAM60%
Xfinity58%
Spectrum52%
Cox51%
Sparklight45%
Suddenlink33%
Optimum32%
RCN31%

How effective was your cable TV provider at meeting your needs?

Speaking of resolving issues, DIRECTV STREAM rated highest (67%) on this question, followed in a three-way tie between Verizon Fios, DISH, and DIRECTV (64%).

Again, any TV provider that can please close to two-thirds of its customer base is doing something right. And if that something happens to be resolving customer’s issues, it means the providers make their customers feel seen and heard. Any provider who can do this deserves to be at the top of your TV service shopping list.

How easy was it to work with your cable TV provider?

Effectiveness is great—but how easy or painful it is to get your problems solved also matters. In our survey, DISH (66%) rated highest for making issue resolution easy on customers, followed by DIRECTV STREAM (63%), Verizon Fios (62%), and DIRECTV (60%).

It makes sense that DISH is superior in this category. After all, DISH’s two-year price guarantee eliminates conflicts over rate hikes from signup. Getting that too-common headache out of the way early bodes well for how DISH will handle other issues.

How enjoyable were your interactions with your cable TV provider?

DIRECTV STREAM (62%) leads the pack here again, followed by DISH (59%), Verizon Fios (59%), and DIRECTV (54%). Interestingly, it’s the same three providers from the last question, and in the same order.

It’s interesting that the approval scores have dipped here because you’d think that easy, effective issue resolution would translate to more enjoyable interactions with TV providers. But nobody likes having problems with their TV service in the first place.

How likely are you to recommend your cable TV provider to a friend or colleague?

It would also stand to reason that easy, effective, enjoyable customer support interactions would lead to customer recommendations—but scores dropped here, too.

Verizon Fios muscled up to the top here, with 57% of respondents saying they’d tell their friends to sign up for Verizon Fios TV packages. And despite DISH’s strong showing in the other categories, only 53% of its customers would spread the good word about DISH.

But we think we know why only 49% of DIRECTV customers would recommend them. It’s probably that shocking second-year, 29%–40% payment jump. Just stop already, DIRECTV. If you did, you might actually bury DISH, your duopoly rival.

How well did your cable TV provider compare with the ideal?

What do customers expect in order to earn their recommendation? Well, that’s a whole ‘nother survey. But we did ask our respondents how closely their TV providers fit their concept of an ideal TV provider. That’s kinda like asking them to compare the pie on their plate to the pie in the sky—and everybody has different ideas about pie.

Interestingly, more customers think Verizon (61%), DISH (60%), and DIRECTV (57%) are ideal than how many would recommend these providers to friends. So maybe they like the providers’ respective pies more than they thought.

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Features and functionality

In this section of the survey, we asked respondents to consider their TV providers’ actual product. Do they like certain features? Do those features function properly and reliably?

How satisfied are you with your cable TV provider’s overall channel offering?

2022 top TV providers in channel offerings: DIRECTV STREAM, Xfinity, DIRECTV, and Verizon Fios

Would you believe that DIRECTV STREAM, with only 140+ channels, rated highest (63%) on this question? It actually makes sense.

As a streaming service, DIRECTV STREAM has streamlined channel lineups with higher concentrations of popular channels. What’s not to like about making the good stuff easier to find?

But does that mean quality outshines quantity? Not necessarily. Cable and satellite providers scored almost as high as DIRECTV STREAM. Xfinity (260+ channels) and DIRECTV both rated 62%. Interestingly, Verizon Fios—another streaming service—rated 61% with its huge 486+ channel lineup.

Real DISH Network customer speaks up

The price I pay is good, but they don’t have all the channels that I had with DIRECTV. I’ve had to subscribe to [add-ons], which defeats the good price that I got from DISH.

DIRECTV STREAM’s score proves that TV customers don’t need massive lineups to find satisfaction. But traditional TV providers probably won’t trim their own channel lineups, since networks force them to carry certain smaller channels in order to get other popular ones. What a business.

How satisfied are you with your cable TV provider’s overall channel offering?

Swipe Left to See All →
ProviderExtremely or very satisfied
DIRECTV STREAM63%
DIRECTV62%
Xfinity62%
Verizon61%
DISH Network60%
Spectrum56%
Cox54%
Sparklight44%
Suddenlink41%
Optimum40%
RCN32%

How satisfied are you with your cable TV provider’s local channel selection?

Most TV providers carry the same local channels—it’s in their best interests because customers want to be able to keep up with local news and other programming.

Satisfaction is high in this category, with 7 of 11 providers rating 62% or higher. The top providers were Xfinity (69%), DISH (68%), DIRECTV (67%), and Verizon (67%).

If customers are unsatisfied with a provider’s local channel selection, it could be because their provider is bickering with a network over carriage fees, resulting in the provider dropping channels from its lineup. That said, we’re unaware of any disputes that would cause the low ratings (30%–55%) for the other four providers in our survey.

How satisfied are you with your cable TV provider’s add-on channels or packs?

Since premium channels like HBO debuted in the early ‘70s, they’ve been the best reason to get cable or satellite TV. This remains true today, but not all providers carry every premium movie or sports channel. That explains why satisfaction is fairly low on this question.

DIRECTV STREAM has the highest satisfaction rating at 60%, but the next highest provider is Verizon Fios at 54%, followed by Xfinity (54%), Cox (51%), DISH (51%), and DIRECTV (50%). Since all of these providers carry the top premium channels (HBO®, SHOWTIME®, STARZ®), we have to wonder what customers are missing. After all, how many people can’t live without CINEMAX® or EPIX?

How satisfied are you with your cable TV provider’s streaming quality?

Is this a trick question? Nope. In case you haven’t heard, streaming is the future of TV. Traditional TV providers are well aware of this fact, as evidenced by their mobile apps, which allow customers to stream their channel packages, on-demand libraries, DVR recordings, rentals, and purchases.

Unsurprisingly, Verizon Fios (66%) and DIRECTV STREAM (64%) got the highest ratings for this question. Well, duh. They’re actual streaming TV services, so they’d better be at the top of their game.

It’s more impressive when traditional TV providers rate high for streaming. The next highest-rated providers in our survey were Xfinity (63%), DIRECTV (61%), and DISH (60%). We’re not surprised, since all three providers’ streaming apps are solid. Check out our guides to the Xfinity Stream and DISH Anywhere apps.

How satisfied are you with your cable TV provider’s reliability?

Reliability really matters, especially if you watch a lot of live TV. An unexpected service outage can spoil your Super Bowl or TV series finale party in an instant.

In our survey, the top-rated TV provider for reliability was Verizon Fios (62%, streaming) followed by Xfinity (60%, cable), DISH (60%, satellite) and DIRECTV STREAM (60%, streaming) tied for second.

Technically speaking, cable TV is more reliable than satellite TV (which can be affected by weather). Streaming TV reliability can vary widely too since it depends on the strength of your internet connection.

We also asked customers if they bundled TV and internet service, which informs the results for Verizon Fios and DIRECTV STREAM. Since 75% of Verizon Fios and 72% of DIRECTV STREAM customers say they bundle, and both providers offer fast, very reliable fiber optic internet service (DIRECTV STREAM bundles with AT&T Internet), that probably factors into the reliability of their TV service.

How satisfied are you with your cable TV provider’s user experience?

2022 top TV providers in user experience: Xfinity, DISH, and DIRECTV.

User experience—how easy it is to use a product—is also important. When your TV package has hundreds of channels, how easily can you find something to watch? Is the remote control intuitive, with well-placed buttons and obvious functions?

Xfinity (67%) is the big winner on this question, but DISH (66%) and DIRECTV (65%) aren’t far behind. Not surprisingly, all three providers have excellent on-screen guides, menus, and programming recommendations.

Also, Xfinity’s XR15 voice remote and the DISH Voice Remote are two of the best clickers in the business—both have backlit keypads, voice control, point-anywhere functionality, easy pairing, and excellent accessibility features.

Real Xfinity customer speaks up

Xfinity has a lot in common with [DIRECTV STREAM], but it had a lot more to it. I love the way it entertains my family.

How satisfied are you with your cable TV provider’s user experience?

Swipe Left to See All →
ProviderExtremely or very satisfied
Xfinity67%
DISH Network66%
DIRECTV65%
Verizon62%
DIRECTV STREAM63%
Cox58%
Spectrum58%
Optimum47%
Suddenlink42%
Sparklight41%
RCN34%

How satisfied are you with your cable TV provider’s DVR?

Also related to user experience are TV providers’ DVRs. While we still see physical set-top DVRs with hard drives, cloud DVR storage is becoming more common.

Still, the top three providers for this question all offer physical DVRs. The DISH Hopper 3 (61%) always rates highest, with DIRECTV’s Genie (60%) and Xfinity’s X1 (60%) not far behind.

That’s because physical DVRs have higher storage capacities, built-in streaming apps, and cool features like the Hopper 3’s quad-split screen (which lets you watch four programs at once).

Cloud DVRs, on the other hand, are feature-light. They focus on the basics, like storage capacity, which is usually fairly low, and simultaneous streams. The top-rated cloud DVR in our survey belongs to DIRECTV STREAM (59%)—you can read all about that in our DIRECTV STREAM review.

How satisfied are you with your cable TV provider’s everything else?

Since we’ve already covered all of the major features and functionality questions, “everything else” refers to TV providers’ unique offerings—stuff beyond channel lineups, DVRs, pricing, and customer service.

We’re just plain confused by the feature-light DIRECTV STREAM’s top rating (64%) here, since the service is so bare-bones. Maybe it’s because DIRECTV STREAM has no contracts, and customers can leave at any time.

Verizon Fios (62%) makes more sense. Its entry-level package, Your Fios TV ($70 a month, 125+ channels), is tailored to your interests—based on your five favorite cable TV channels. No other provider offers such an option.

We’ll attribute DISH’s third-place finish (60%) to its comprehensive and customizable parental controls, which were created in a partnership with Common Sense Media.

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Pricing and subscriptions

Money matters, and pricing questions prompted some of the lowest ratings in our survey.

To be fair, it’s easy to resent paying any bill. And traditional cable and satellite TV providers are known for tricky pricing and hidden fees, so that makes it even easier to complain.

Let’s see what customers think about their TV providers’ pricing, contracts, and subscriptions.

Given your initial expectations, how would you rate the price that you pay for your service(s)?

What did customers think of pricing in the shopping/signup phase of their search for TV service?

Shockingly, DIRECTV STREAM (60%) rates highest here. It charges the same prices as the channel-rich cable and satellite TV providers in our survey—but for far fewer channels and a terrible cloud DVR. And, even compared to other live TV streaming services, DIRECTV STREAM is a poor value.

Meanwhile, Verizon Fios (52%) and DISH (48%) have thrice and twice the number of channels, respectively, and much better pricing. DISH even guarantees its pricing for two years. So we suspect that old bill-paying resentment factored heavily on this question.

Given the quality of your service(s), how would you rate the price that you pay for them?

2022 top TV providers for price.: DIRECTV STREAM, Verizon Fios, DISH, and Xfinity.

When we asked customers to consider value after they’d actually used a TV service, DIRECTV STREAM (57%) dropped three points.

Verizon Fios (54%) jumped up two points, and DISH (47%) dropped one point.

So it seems that maybe DIRECTV STREAM customers realized the service is a terrible value once they got into it.

Verizon Fios customers, on the other hand, discovered that it’s a better product than they thought.

And DISH customers were essentially unmoved.

Real DIRECTV STREAM customer speaks up

The prices for what we get seem high. There is no loyalty from [DIRECTV STREAM]. New customers get a better deal than present long-time customers.

Given the quality of your service(s), how would you rate the price that you pay for them?

Swipe Left to See All →
ProviderExtremely or very satisfied
DIRECTV STREAM57%
Verizon54%
DISH Network47%
Xfinity47%
DIRECTV46%
Spectrum44%
Cox41%
Optimum31%
Sparklight31%
Suddenlink30%
RCN25%

Given competitors’ prices, how would you rate the price that you pay for your service(s)?

Okay, maybe DIRECTV STREAM customers didn’t learn as much as we thought about value. The provider’s rating on this question is only 1% lower (56%) than on the above question. But when you compare it with other live TV streaming services, YouTube TV and Hulu + Live TV have far better deals.

Verizon Fios (50%) customers are on the other end of the spectrum, ostensibly not realizing just how much they get for their money. And maybe DISH (49%) customers don’t fully realize how much better they have it than DIRECTV (46%) customers, who get screwed big-time with the second year price hike of their contracts.

How likely are you to continue to subscribe to your service(s)?

2022 top TV providers for customer loyalty: DIRECTV STREAM, Xfinity, and Verizon Fios..

An incredible 65% of DIRECTV STREAM customers plan to stick with the provider despite its awful value. We have to wonder if they’ve actually done any comparison shopping.

Maybe the ability to leave (since DIRECTV STREAM has no contracts), ironically, keeps them committed?

Xfinity (64%) and Verizon Fios (63%) customers also put their chances of staying put fairly high. For the reasons stated, Verizon’s rating makes sense.

But we’d recommend DISH (60%) over Xfinity every time because it has more channels and a price guarantee.

Real TV customer speaks up

Had to work really hard with a representative to get a loyalty customer discount for my TV services.

How likely are you to continue to subscribe to your service(s)?

Swipe Left to See All →
ProviderExtremely or very satisfied
DIRECTV STREAM65%
Xfinity64%
Verizon63%
DIRECTV61%
DISH Network60%
Spectrum56%
Cox51%
Sparklight48%
Optimum40%
Suddenlink40%
RCN32%

How likely are you to increase the amount you purchase from your service(s)?

Guess which individual question got the lowest ratings overall? Well, since this is the last question, it’s probably obvious.

DIRECTV STREAM’s (48%) prices are already high, but it had the highest rating here, with Verizon Fios and Cox (32%) tied for second, and Xfinity (30%) coming in third.

What does it mean? TV service is already expensive, so few of us have room in our budgets for a higher monthly payment, even if it means getting more channels or DVR storage.

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Final take

There’s a reason we do both a customer satisfaction survey and Editor’s Choice Awards. Our research and testing provide hard facts that show which TV providers are tops, but that’s not the whole picture. The experience and opinions of customers who use the services daily—and pay for them monthly—are equally important.

We maintain that DIRECTV STREAM is a poor value, but it’s the highest-rated provider in all three sections of our survey—and overwhelmingly so in pricing. And if the customers are happy, they’re happy.

Past TV customer satisfaction surveys

Methodology

Our comprehensive annual customer satisfaction survey rates traditional TV providers on overall customer satisfaction (customer service), features and functionality, and pricing and subscriptions. The ratings are based on a robust sample that accounted for age, race, gender, and region, among other factors.

If you have further questions about the results or contacting a member of CableTV.com as a member of the media, you can reach us at pr@cabletv.com.

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