The bottom line: Cox offers most of your favorite channels and decent On Demand content, but while they don’t have the same channel count as some of the other providers, their high rates don’t rise dramatically after promotional offers. Cox Contour service allows personal recommendations and the Record 6 DVR provides up to 340 hours of HD storage.
- 2 TB HD-DVR
- Low price increases
- One standalone package
- Expensive tech support
- Limited channel count
Cox’s pricing falls into the expensive end of the spectrum.
While they offer comparable programming and equipment, you’ll see that Cox’s prices are higher compared to the other reviewed brands, but at least they’re honest in spelling it out for you in the checkout process. Most additional packages add $5-$10 to your monthly bill, and DVR service isn’t cheap. In general, we don’t find that the cost matches up with the service provided.
What’s the real price?
Since you may be locked into a two-year contract, you’ll be happy to know that promotional pricing doesn’t increase by much with Cox. Unlike the other providers we reviewed like DIRECTV who saw price increases of more than double after the first year, Cox’s Countour TV package increases about 30% after the first year. However, that doesn’t save it from being costly in comparison.
|Provider||Package||Channels||First Year Price||Second Year Price|
|DISH||America's Top 120||190||$59.99/mo||$59.99/mo|
Data effective 10/16/18. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.
The biggest fees you might face are early termination fees, which we had to specifically search for within Cox’s terms and conditions. If you opt out of your cable service before your contract expires, your Early Termination Fees (ETFs) will amount to $240 minus $10 for every month of completed service.
Cox TV service also requires you to get a Contour HD Receiver, which will cost you $8.50 per month. But keep in mind that fee doesn’t kick in until 12 months after you sign up for a standalone plan or 24 months after you sign up for a service bundle.
If you want a DVR, there is also a fee for that. You’ll pay $12.99 to $19.99 per month depending on which DVR you choose.
Unless you’re brave or lucky, we’d recommend subscribing to the Cox Complete Care Plan, which costs about $10 per month. A single service call or technician visit starts at $60, so it makes sense that for an extra fee, you’ll have the peace of mind knowing you can get help any time you need it.
Cox Complete Care covers hassle-free repair and replacement for not only defective wiring, but also normal wear and tear including chewed and frayed wires, wiring updates to faulty fittings, and technician visits at no additional cost.
Cox offers only one standalone TV package.
|Packages||1st year pricing||Regular rate|
Package offerings and names vary based on where you live.
Contour TV package
Cox’s sole standalone TV plan comes with 140+ channels and lets you set DVR recordings from anywhere.
Cox used to offer a slew of different TV packages, but they’ve since narrowed it down to one standalone offering: Contour TV. You can get a couple other packages if you choose to bundle your TV with internet and/or phone. If not, then Contour TV is your only choice.
That said, Contour’s not a bad choice. You still get 140+ channels and it lets you set DVR recordings from a tablet, no matter where you are. Plus, you can stream TV shows with Cox On Demand.
Notable channels: ESPN, History Channel, HGTV, FOX Sports 1, Univision.
Cox covers a wide range of popular channels for a reasonable price.
Cox includes their music and other radio-type channels in their counts, most of the big providers do. They feature about 100 different stations on nearly every package, which we see as filler to bolster the channel numbers.
Cox accounts for special viewing with the big four premium channels (HBO, Starz, Showtime and Cinemax), comprehensive Latino packages, and supplemental Sports TV packs that include programming like ESPN Classic and Pac-12 college sports. If you’re a fan of major league sports, we recommend adding NFL RedZone, NBA League Pass, or NHL® Center Ice®.
Cox has plenty of HD programming to choose from, but we couldn’t find a solid answer as to how many HD channels were exactly involved in each package, it seemed to mirror their SD channels. Cox offers up HD versions of their SD channels for free.
While you won’t be charged an additional HD fee for every package or channel, you will have to pay installation and equipment fees. You won’t have to pay more for each sports, movie, or other packages’ HD versions, which we saw in other providers.
Equipment and features
Cox DVRs have decent storage, multiple recording sources, and on-par pricing.
|Equipment||Storage capacity||Recording hours|
|Record 6 HD-DVR Receiver||2 TB||340 HD/1000 SD|
|Record 2 HD-DVR||500 GB||120 HD/230 SD|
Selecting a Cox Contour DVR
Record 6 HD-DVR with Contour
The Record 6 HD-DVR allows you to record up to 6 HD TV shows or movies without restriction, which works for most families. In addition to usual DVR features, the Record 6 includes the Contour service, which provides program recommendations based on what you watch and rate. Potentially, you could record a recommended show while still watching your favorite one live, then catch up afterward. While this isn’t the most impressive HD-DVR in our line-up, it is substantial with 2 TB of storage and allows offline play for recorded shows downloaded to your devices, you just need a Wi-Fi connection.
Contour Record 2 / Standard HD-DVR
Their standard HD-DVR captures up to two shows at once and offers less storage at 300 GB. The fee for the Record 6 is $7/month more, so if you don’t plan on using your DVR for more than catching a show or two while you’re out, the regular option should suffice.
If you already have your own equipment, such as TiVo, you can buy a Cable Card for $3 that will allow the service to “talk” with your device and avoid leasing an additional DVR from Cox. However, this option leaves you without the Contour service, so we don’t recommend it.
Contour TV keeps you watching between your big screen, tablets, and other devices. You can pull up a show on your iPad while everyone’s finishing up their show and then push it to your main television so you don’t miss a beat.
With the Contour App you can organize your stored library for up to seven users (one less than the service allows, it seems), set your DVR records, and search and browse TV listings upcoming within a seven-day time frame. While the app is nice, some features like watching live channels, video on demand, and parental controls are only available if you have Cox essential internet, which seems like an odd caveat.
When it comes to quality, Cox lacks in the service department.
As with our other reviewed providers, online chat support seems to be mediocre at best, and confusing at its (more often) worst. If you’re getting online support, make sure to stay glued to the chat window, which times-out very quickly if you’re not active, even if you haven’t heard back from the agent yet.
The agents we chatted with contradicted themselves and didn’t present the information in an easy to understand way. We recommend getting on the phone with customer service to ensure you’re getting the most accurate information.
Knowing exactly what you’re getting is always a challenge with TV providers. If you’re not sure about a price and need a guarantee, make sure to take a screenshot for reference should the need arise.
Direct pricing and minimal price increases offset low channel counts.
When comparing their TV service to the other big brands, Cox has candid pricing with minimal increases after promotional periods, and comparable programming. Cox’s Contour DVR options are above par, but not necessarily the greatest. If you live in one of the 19 states where Cox offers service, it’s a reasonable option.