You know what you want. Great, reliable TV with plenty of choice and flexibility for an affordable price. The hard part is figuring out which provider can deliver on those expectations. That’s where the team at CableTV can help.

Should you choose Cox Communications or AT&T as your TV service provider? 

Cox Communications is the third largest TV provider in the United States, bringing cable TV, internet, phone, and home security service to over 6.2 million customers in 21 states. Based in Atlanta, Georgia, Cox delivers its TV product, Cox Contour, via a coaxial cable network. AT&T is a multi-national telecommunications giant based in Texas and serving over 365 million customers in North America alone. In addition to TV, internet, and home security services, AT&T is the largest provider of phone service and the second largest provider of mobile phone service in the United States. AT&T delivers TV, internet, and phone utilizing DSL and, in select regions, fiber networks. Currently, AT&T’s fiber product, GigaPower, is only available in a few metro areas clustered in California, Texas, Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, and Illinois.

As we look at side-by-side comparisons of these two providers, keep in mind that this is also a comparison of different types of service. Fiber technology varies from cable in that it offers superior speeds, but isn’t widely available. In areas where AT&T does not offer their fiber product, GigaPower, internet service will be supplied by a DSL (phone) network whose speeds are substantially slower than cable.  If you’re streaming the latest episode of Game of Thrones in HD, AT&T’s DSL internet speeds could make you feel as if winter has already arrived. Your choice of provider will depend on which type of service works well for your household as well as availability of the various networks in your city. To find out which providers serve your home, use our handy zip code tool.

 

Customer Satisfaction Comparisons

Cox Contour TV

Overall customer rating

3.36 Stars (3.36 / 5)

 

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AT&T U-Verse TV

Overall customer rating

3.57 Stars (3.57 / 5)

 

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Installation & Set-Up
3.54 Stars (3.54 / 5)

Like most cable companies, Cox struggles with a reputation for poor customer service which bleeds over into their ratings for installation & set-up. Cox does have less expensive installation fees and plenty of options and resources for those who prefer to self-install.

 

Installation & Set-Up
3.77 Stars (3.77 / 5)

AT&T earns favorable reviews for their set-up process, but it’s unclear whether this extends to U-Verse GigaPower, where installation fees as high as $100 can be crippling for a customer’s wallet.

 

Channel Selection
3.29 Stars (3.29 / 5)

Cox turns in a lackluster performance with less channels in top tier and lower tier packages and significantly less HD offerings than the competition. Contour TV does have a much larger library of on demand choices with over 10,000 titles to console yourself with.

 

Channel Selection 
3.63 Stars (3.63 / 5)

AT&T U-Verse brings entertainment excellence home with over 400 channels, nearly half of in brilliant HD. In areas where AT&T provides service via a DSL network, you can opt to bundle with DIRECTV and score big with NFL Sunday Ticket.

TV Signal Reliability 
3.72 Stars (3.72 / 5)

Cox isn’t doing too shabby for a cable provider, but it’s not enough to outshine AT&T’s superior reputation for reliability. Nevertheless, Cox is cable, so customers may experience some slowing during peak times in their neighborhood.

 

TV Signal Reliability 
3.94 Stars (3.94 / 5)

AT&T is an old name in telecommunications and they have the infrastructure to show for it. They’re pros at rolling out crews to deal with intermittent outages and keeping the signal steady for customers during times of peak usage. Neither of AT&T’s products are vulnerable to the kinds of bottlenecks that cable experiences.

 

Monthly Bill (Pricing)
2.67 Stars (2.67 / 5)

Cox works hard to earn your business with no contracts and attractive pricing up front that inevitably stirs customer ire when it disappears after the promo period. Cox falls victim in this category to the same dissatisfaction as other cable companies who suffer from confusing pricing and hidden fees.

 

Monthly Bill (Pricing) 
2.86 Stars (2.86 / 5)

AT&T edges Cox out by just a hair in this category, despite having more affordable packages and lots of options for bundling. That’s because AT&T is one of the providers that enforces the dreaded data caps in quite a few of their service areas. If you’re an internet power user, be wary of the impact on your wallet.

 

Tech Support & Customer Service
3.60 Stars (3.60 / 5)

Cox’s reputation for customer service isn’t terrible, but it’s not stellar either. Long phone waits, confusing pricing and promos, and conflicting information all add up and Cox doesn’t escape being tarred with the same brush here as the rest of the troubled cable industry.

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Technical Support & Customer Service 
3.67 Stars (3.67 / 5)

AT&T escapes the clutches of the dismal satisfaction ratings that cable companies earn, but just barely. While their reputation for customer service and support is better than Cox, there is still plenty of room for improvement. Can you hear us now, AT&T?

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Equipment

Cox Contour

Record 6 HD-DVR

  • Store up to 1,000 hours SD, 300 HD programming
  • Record up to 6 shows at once
  • 2 TB storage
  • Monthly equipment fee: $28.49

 

AT&T U-Verse

Total Home DVR

  • Store up to 400 hours of SD, 155 hours of HD programming
  • Record up to 4 shows at once
  • Monthly fee: $10

 

Advantages vs. Disadvantages

Cox

Advantages:
  • No contract
  • Widely available
  • Superior DVR equipment
  • Faster internet speeds
  • Data caps not currently enforced in most areas
  • More on demand titles, options
  • More integrated, advanced TV features
Disadvantages:
  • Less HD, channel selection
  • More expensive packages
  • No bundling with wireless
  • Reputation for mediocre customer service

 

AT&T

Advantages:
  • More HD, channel selection
  • Affordable, create your own bundles
  • Faster internet speeds where GigaPower is available
  • Good reputation for customer service
  • Bundle with home security and wireless for increased savings
Disadvantages:
  • Contract required
  • Data caps enforced in some areas
  • Limited fiber availability
  • Expensive, hidden fees

 

Internet Options

Cox

Cox Internet Service Satisfaction Rating

3.4 Stars (3.4 / 5)

  • Reliable speeds up to 200 Mbps
  • Data caps not enforced
  • Cloud storage
  • Wi-Fi hotspots

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AT&T

AT&T Internet Service Satisfaction Rating

 3.71 Stars (3.71 / 5)

  • Speeds up to 1 Gig (limited availability), 75 Mbps on DSL
  • Fiber network where available
  • AT&T 24/7  Support Plus

 

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The Verdict

Choose Cox for no contracts, superior equipment, more on demand choices, and faster internet speeds.

Cox may be part of a troubled industry that constantly draws customer complaints, but their performance shows a steady attention to improved value and a strong performance on several fronts. They outshine AT&T with superior equipment and a TV product that has dynamic functionality. If you don’t happen to live in an AT&T GigaPower service area, you’ll find Cox’s internet speeds deliver what you need to stream without stalling across multiple devices. Cox falls flat, though, in channel selection and a service reputation that leaves customers feeling lukewarm about their loyalty to the provider.

Choose AT&T for better channel selection, more HD, affordable bundling, signal reliability, and a strong performance in customer service.

AT&T leads the industry for reason, with a solid performance in reliability and customer service. While their U-Verse DVR and TV service may fall behind the features and functionality of other providers, AT&T gives you plenty of bang for your buck with robust channel selection and lots of HD options. If you have AT&T as a wireless provider, you’ll be able to score some very affordable bundles. Unfortunately, if you’re not lucky enough to reside in one of AT&T’s zippy GigaPower service areas, you’ll have to struggle along with DSL speeds.

 

If you’d like to learn more about Charter or DISH, please see our in-depth editorial provider reviews. They give a detailed look at each company’s services and history along with areas of concern, summaries of equipment, installation processes, fees, billing issues, package details, and much, much more.

Want to see the complete data and ratings for TV providers? Check out the full run-down from CableTV’s 2016 Provider Customer Satisfaction Survey.

Find out  if Cox and AT&T are available in your area: