Cox Communications is one of the most expensive cable TV providers on the market, especially when you consider all the hidden costs. But if you want sports and premium channels, have only one TV, and bundle with internet and other services, this provider could make sense for you.
Xfinity TV offers a lot of features and strong channel prices, as well as powerful internet to bundle up with. High fees hamper the experience, but Xfinity remains one of the cheapest cable TV options on the market—and it’s also one of the most widely available.
Cox has some of the best channel line-ups we've seen, with more to watch for just about everyone. Family-friendly entertainment is Cox's weakest link, but it's still better than a lot of competitors.
Cox has a great local lineup, including staples like NBC, CBS, ABC, FOX, PBS, and The CW. It also includes some great Spanish-language locals like Univision, Telemundo, Unimas, and Estrella. However, it's missing Ion, Cozi, and Comet.
Cox cable TV includes a great sports lineup in its Preferred (mid-tier) and Ultimate (top tier) plans. ESPN, ESPN2, Fox Sports, and the Golf channel are all included in a Preferred plan, and the Ultimate plan adds NFL Network, NFL Red Zone, the Tennis Channel, and the elusive MLB channel. Most competitors typically offer these last three as expensive add-ons, so Cox is ahead of the game here.
Family and education: 3.5/5
Cox has some decent family entertainment, especially when it comes to educational content. You'll get Animal Planet, Discovery Channel, History, National Geographic, and the Science Channel, but you'll miss out on Nat Geo Wild and Smithsonian. The kids will love Cartoon Network, Disney, Nickelodeon, and Nick Jr., but the little ones won't get to enjoy Disney Junior.
News and politics: 4.5/5
Cox has excellent news coverage and politics content. Not only do you get the local news shows, you get most of the big national news channels too. You get C-SPAN, CNBC, MSNBC, CNN, Fox News, Newsmax, and The Weather Channel. Our biggest gripe is that you'll miss out on the international perspective of BBC America.
Entertainment and lifestyle: 4/5
Cox has some decent entertainment options, including Comedy Central, Bravo, CMT, AMC, FX and FXX, two Hallmarks, and Sundance. It's missing some lifestyle channels though, like HGTV and The Cooking Channel, but it has the Food Network and TLC. But what makes Cox stand out is how many premium channels it includes in its top-tier plan. If you spring for the Ultimate plan, you’ll get ten HBO, eleven Cinemax, five SHOWTIME, and nine STARZ channels—at no extra charge.
Xfinity is one of the country’s biggest cable TV providers, and it offers a wide range of basic and premium channels. If you pay for the highest tier of service, you’ll have access to an excellent selection of shows and games. Even at lower tiers, you’ll still get a respectable selection of channels, but you’ll miss out on a few faves. We based our scores primarily on English and Spanish options, but Xfinity has some great international options you might want to check out as well.
Local channels are some of the oldest and most popular networks out there, featuring local and national news, national sports, and syndicated favorites. With Xfinity TV, you get access to almost all the top local channels. You’ll miss out on Comet, but most users won’t be too sad about missing its infomercials and reruns. You also get CBS All Access, the streaming service from CBS, but whether you can watch your local CBS affiliate depends on where you live.
Xfinity is one of the best TV providers out there for sports. It offers channels for everything from pro basketball and football to golf. You can get ESPN, TNT, Fox Sports 1 (FS1), and more. Whether you can access regional sports networks depends on where you live, so check the channel guide in your area if there are specific games or teams you can’t miss. There’s no way to see all out-of-market games like you can with NFL Sunday Ticket from YouTube TV, but there’s still enough games for almost any appetite.
Family and education: 4/5
Xfinity offers a lot for families to love, including a huge selection of educational channels and shows for kids, with everything from travel and history shows to Disney and Disney Jr., Nickelodeon, and Animal Planet. You’ll miss out on Heroes and Icons and may not have access to CBS, which brings the score down a bit, but it’s still a solid choice.
News and politics: 4.5/5
If you live for breaking updates and political commentary, Xfinity has you covered. You get access to all the biggest national networks on both sides of the aisle, including Fox News, Newsmax, and MSNBC. You even get BBC America, VICE, and almost all your local channels. You’ll miss out on the Weather Channel and the Castilian Spanish station Estrella, but Xfinity is still one of the best options out there for news junkies.
Lifestyle and entertainment: 3.5/5
If there’s one area where Xfinity’s lacking, it would have to be movies and entertainment. Don’t get us wrong—you’ll still get Hallmark, Lifetime, Comedy Central, HGTV, and more, but you’ll have to pay add-on prices for HBO, STARZ, SHOWTIME, Cinemax, and MGM+ (formerly Epix).
Although it looks like Cox has a ton of channels, its lineup (which varies by plan and location) is padded with up to 50 music channels. (1) Other than that, Cox delivers a great channel lineup, especially in its top-tier plan. However, it’ll cost you more than other companies.
You’ll get the most bang for your buck (and some sweet premium channels) with the Ultimate plan, but a Premium plan has plenty of channels for most people and the option to add inexpensive premium channels à la carte, which range from $5–$15 per. We don’t generally recommend the Starter plan because you can get most of its channels for free with an HD antenna, though that signal is less reliable than what Cox provides.
Cox Communications has two types of plans. Cox TV includes live TV and on-demand TV. Cox Contour adds the ability to connect streaming apps like Netflix and Amazon Prime to your TV and search their content using a remote. All plans come with a one- or two-year contract, after which you’ll be on month-to-month pricing, which is around $15/month more.
If you look at package rates alone, Xfinity is one of the cheapest TV providers out there—prices are low, and while the channel count isn’t the highest, it’s got all the most popular channels (1) covered. However, a slew of additional fees causes the monthly price to be quite a bit higher than advertised (it wouldn’t be a stretch to see $60 or more in fees on your TV bill, in addition to the package price). Ultimately, while the service itself is a solid value, it’s going to end up costing you.
When it comes to equipment and features, Cox is ahead of the pack. From a great app to exceptional DVR features to a search remote that simultaneously searches streaming apps and cable TV, using Cox is a top-notch experience.
Ability to watch: Great
Cox offers some solid features that make for a great entertainment experience. Cox TV uses cable infrastructure to keep you reliably binging your favorite shows. Your first Contour box is free, and every additional one is $8.50/month, which is cheaper than average. Plus, it has the Cox Contour app, so if you have smart TVs and don't need DVR on all of them, you don't need additional boxes. On the down side, the Cox Contour App has low ratings for both iOS and Android, so you might want to opt for more Contour boxes anyway.
Ability to record: Excellent
The Cox DVR service uses cloud storage so you can access recorded shows anywhere with the Cox Contour app. The Contour app also lets you download on-demand content to watch offline from anywhere.
How much storage you get (50–1,000 HD hours) and how many shows you can record at a time (1 to a whopping 24!) depends on which DVR package you buy. Or you can skip DVR altogether to avoid the additional cost.
Ability to find: Great
While at home with your TV, you’ll use a voice remote to sort through your shows—even the ones on streaming apps like Netflix and Hulu. You don't have to remember which app your show is on to find it, which we loved. It made our entire watching experience—not just our live TV experience—a delight.
Xfinity brings a lot to the table for its viewers, from a very nice DVR system to decent picture quality and a nice on-demand experience. We like its remote options, but are a little less excited about its fees and DVR costs.
Ability to watch: Great
You can watch Xfinity on a standard TV in your living room, and it’s a nice experience. The picture quality isn’t quite as good as satellite and the fees are a bummer, but the viewing experience is perfectly acceptable for most families.
Xfinity also offers the highly rated Xfinity Stream app, which gives you access to your entire channel lineup—plus on-demand content and your DVR recordings—on any device. Xfinity Stream works on iPhone, iPad, and Android devices, and it’s a great way to stay up-to-date with your favorite shows while you’re traveling (or just waiting in line).
Ability to record: Good
Xfinity offers the X1 DVR system, which is one of the best all-around DVRs on the market. It’s easy to use and offers a substantial amount of storage—up to 300 hours of HD video. You’ll have to pay $9 a month for the first box and each subsequent box, and you’ll have to pay extra if you want to record any more than 20 hours of shows.
Ability to find: Great
The standard X1 system from Xfinity comes with a sleek charcoal-colored voice remote with small buttons, and it works really well to help you find the shows and channels you crave. The company also offers a large remote with optional wrist-strap for customers who need the extra accessibility.
Most customers report that Cox has solid customer service, and that's been our experience too. Cox also has some good self-help content on its website. We liked having the option to save money by signing a contract or skip the commitment altogether. However, Cox could work on its transparency. It has some hidden fees that you can't see until after you supply personal information. We'd love the ability to build a cart and see what our bill will be before sharing that.
Installation is generally fast and priced about average. If your house is already wired with cable jacks for all your TVs, self-install is a free, easy option. Professional installation varies by location but will run you around $75, which is pretty inexpensive. Learn how to choose between self installation or professional installation.
Xfinity offers both professional and self-installation options. Having a pro come by costs less than $90, which is cheaper than many other providers. The self-install kit is free of charge, though you may pay for shipping and handling. We generally recommend self-installation whenever possible, both because it’s cheaper and because you can do it on your own time.
When it comes to billing, Xfinity has improved in recent years, and we hope the trend continues. It’s great that you can see the regional and broadcast fees right in your online cart, for example, but we wish Xfinity would just roll the fees into its regular pricing. Unfortunately, we’ve also experienced billing errors and had to call the company multiple times to get them resolved. The overall TV service is pretty great, but we recommend keeping an eye on monthly charges, especially if you pay automatically.