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Cox Customer Looking for Change!

4814 Views 17 Replies 14 Participants Last post by  Old_School
Hey guys had some questions.

I have been using Cox for the last probably 5 years for my Cable, Internet and Phone supplier. I live outside Oklahoma City. I've been ok with them so far. But I'm a tech guy and I've noticed the technology that Cox uses seems to be slipping further and further in the past. So I began to look at their new Whole Room DVR/Plus package and Trio guide system, and it looks ok... But reading on AVSForums I noticed some pretty horrible stories about the way the tech works and how wonky it is.

So I've began to look at DirecTV. The technology looks to be the best available that there is, the HD guide looks fantastic, (I'm a sucker for techy/flashy stuff) and the prices seem to just decimate what Cox can offer particularly for the first two years with the various promos DTV is running.

Here's my setup. I have 2 HDTV's and I want to have DVR's on both. The wife records tons of shows and she'd love to record more than two at once. So I'm looking at the HMC DVR because of the 5 tuner functionality. She currently beats her head in when she can only record 2 shows at once with our Cox box. I'd also probably be putting in the standard HD DVR Receiver in the bedroom as that will probably be more my TV and I'd like to have the ability to record, pause, rewind live TV which I don't think the whole room sub receivers can do. (This was an issue I had with Cox's whole room system) My question is, if I purchase these two receivers the HMC and the standard HD DVR, will the two communicate together/share programming (I.E. Can I record a show on the HMC and watch it on the HD DVR and vice versa) or are they separate autonomous units?

How is DirecTV's customer support? I've had very little luck with Cox's and they tend to screw things up before getting them fixed. The bedroom I'm putting the HD DVR into has had issues with the outlet before, is this something DirecTV will work on and it's included in the installation price?

I'm a bit worried of course about signal degradation, living in Oklahoma we do get some nasty storms and the occasional snow/ice for days. Is this still an issue or has it mostly been resolved?

How's the picture quality? I've heard it can be better than cable but wasn't sure if that was true or not.

Any thing I need to know that DTV is screwy on as far as billing goes? I'm planning on doing the current BIG DEAL 2 year promo and picking the Choice Ultimate package and realize of course that will increase in price after a year then again after two years. Am I free to downgrade that package anytime after placing my order?

If I think of anything else I'll try and post it up, but I'd appreciate some input from the guys who are using the service before I commit.
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You need DVRs everywhere you want trick play on live TV. All can see the other's recordings. With Dish you can trick play without a DVR and get more recording space and no commercials in your PTAT recordings, and they have a lot more basic HD at the moment, and their guide is flashier, and you can use IR and RF remotes simultaneously. So they are worth considering.

HD PQ is excellent. SD PQ is terrible. Anything not in HD is pretty much unwatchable on big screens.

If you want HD, look carefully at the list at AVS forums. DirecTV is missing a lot of HD that everyone else has. But they have the most sports. So it depends on what you want.

I'm personally fed up with satellite for several reasons and am going back to cable.

I assume you'll keep your cable Internet, so don't let the installer leave until you confirm it still works. Some are bad about disconnecting things they shouldn't.

Good luck.
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I don't get rain fade often, but I'm not in Oklahoma. Customer Service can be hot or miss. If I have an issue that doesn't need a tech to come out, I usually start with my problem on here, we have some smart people.

We have a comparison of Dish vs DirecTV HD
John. You will want the HR34 & HR24 combo. It's the setup I have and I couldn't be happier. Yes both dvrs see each other and share playlists. Rainfade is not an issue with a proper install. PQ is the best out of all providers, I know cause I've had em all. Fios; Dish & Cable. Don't get Directv to save money. It is a premium service. Only get it because you want the absolute best tv experience. As far as sd quality: who the heck cares.

Rain fade might be an issue, but it usually only lasts for a few minutes. For snow/ice, make sure your dish is installed where you can reach it in case you need to clean it off.
I took a break from DirecTV and went to Cox for a few years when I switched to them for phone & Internet (TV came with the bundle). I am back with D* and am ticked at myself for wasting 2 years with Cox. You are right in saying that Cox's technology is way lagging (at least in my area, the Norfolk market).

Comparing the two, based on my taste and TV habits, D* has the advantage in these areas:

1. HD programing, particularly sports channels. Special offerings like League Pass on Cox were awful and unwatchable in many cases because the quality was putrid. This also goes for movie channels, though I think Cox has expanded their selection somewhat since I departed.

2. Reliability. That seems odd given rain fade, but I had way more channels give me a "temporary off air" message with Cox than I ever have with DirecTV. I lose picture with DirecTV probably 10x a year, but it is always for just a few moments and 95% of the time it is between 4-6 PM during the summer storm period. All told it is less than 15 minutes in total time per year on average, with a few outliers. Even those aren't really bad, such as when a hurricane went straight over us last August, I was only down a picture for roughly 25 minutes.

3. Value (channel selection for price).

4. Ease of use and options of use, between apps, the Internet, and DVR ability.

5. The DVR's recording space is a huge difference. Cox offers some of the smallest DVR's known to exist in the free world. I couldn't even reach 15 hours of recorded HD content before things would auto-delete.

Cox had the advantage:

1. Speed of the DVR. While the size of the DVR was awful, it at least worked quickly when I hit buttons. D* DVR's can be awfully annoying at times, but will work correctly if you are patient in hitting buttons. It just takes a while for commands to register on occasion.

2. Easy to find live sporting events. You can use smart search on D* to do this, but it takes much longer and doesn't work accurately. On Cox I could simply choose Sports/Live events and have a complete list in seconds. That was a sweet thing.

3. Replacement and repair: With Cox, if a box died I could take it to a local Cox store and swap it out immediately. With DirecTV, one must be mailed. Then I have to take the time to mail the broken box back. Also, Cox would send someone same-day if I had a wiring issue. With D* it is next day, at best.

Customer service is a wash. I had one negative experience with Cox, but overall I thought they were great with me (and still are, as I continue to use them for Internet access). DirecTV has always been great, as well. That is, after I reach a person. Both companies make you argue with a computer before they connect you.
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I am in Norman and switched to DIRECTV back in early March to save money over Cox TV. So far my experience has been good. My installation was first rate.

FWIW I have the Choice Ultimate package with the Whole Home system including a HR24 HD DVR and a H25 HD receiver. I have two HD TVs in our house. They connect to my home LAN via a wireless Cinema Connection Kit (aka CCK-W).

The only hiccup I had was getting the CCK-W to connect to my guest wireless network. Unfortunately the DIRECTV CCK-Wwill only support a wireless encryption key/password/phrase of 26 characters max and only letters (upper and/or lower case) and/or numbers, ie. no special characters. I normally use 63-character random ASCII keys to protect my home wireless networks. The installer, a DIRECTV employee and not a contractor, was not aware of the limitation so be aware of that.

FWIW here are some pictures of our installation including the Slim Line antenna, outside cabling detail, a two-port SWM (single wire multi-switch) which is installed in a central wiring cabinet in the house, the CCK-W and the Power Inserter (PI) that supplies power through the SWM to the antenna LNB, the HR24 HD DVR, the H25 HD receiver and its power brick. See the images.

I sprung for the Protection Plan ($5.99 per month) because of the potential issues with hail damage to the dish here in Oklahoma.

Some channels I had with Cox I no longer get, ie. the Hallmark Movie Channel (HD & SD) and BBC America in HD for example. Other than that the channels I get are pretty similar to my Cox packs that I subscribed to. I can't speak to DIRECTV customer service since I have not had an occasion to call them but I do know Cox customer service was first rate for the few times I called them. I still have Cox for HSI and telephone.

As was noted the HD picture quality is very good while the SD quality s***s versus Cox. We watch a lot of stuff on Encore Suspense so its a dissapointment...

I have not noticed any significant signal degradation so far other than an occasional pixelation. I would see that with Cox occasionally also but in both cases it has not been a big deal IMO.


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I lived in OKC for 8 years and could never get good cable service. So consider yourself lucky
Thanks for the suggestions guys and Sooner Al for the pics, hopefully my install is that clean.

I went with the Ultimate Choice bundle and the Home Media Center 5 tuner box and went ahead and just went with the sub HD receiver not the DVR, the wife thinks since there will be 5 tuners on the HMC, we'll be fine and won't need the extra DVR plus with the "trick" recording a program to get live control I don't see much need for it.

Should get installation done today and I'll update with how it went!
Welcome John1744! We can always use another Okie City guy on the board.

Rain fade is only a problem around here with the really big thunderstorms that get south between you and the satellites. Always a good idea to have an AM21 over-the-air tuner hooked to your DVR to get the locals OTA. DirecTV will sell you one on their website for $50. It doesn't matter so much around here but one advantage of the HR34 with the N version of the AM21 (AM21N, the newer shipping version) is that the HR43 will scan for OTA channels rather than just giving you the ones in the guide data provided by Tribune. It's a great thing for those on the Canadian border and want their OTA.

I haven't heard any complaints on the local install service since DirecTV took it over from the contractor a few years ago. Hope that they do a bang-up job for you.
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Personally I have a Channel Master STEALTHtenna 3010 that I bought at Lowe's a few years ago mounted in the attic for OTA HDTV. Its simply hooked to the antenna input on our Panasonic HDTV in the living room. I did not see a need to purchase anything extra from DIRECTV in order to watch OTA TV if needed.

FWIW We live on the south side of Norman just south of OK-9. I went to the AntennaWeb site for bearing information.
Sooner Al said:
Personally I have a Channel Master STEALTHtenna 3010 that I bought at Lowe's a few years ago mounted in the attic for OTA HDTV. Its simply hooked to the antenna input on our Panasonic HDTV in the living room. I did not see a need to purchase anything extra from DIRECTV in order to watch OTA TV if needed.

FWIW We live on the south side of Norman just south of OK-9. I went to the AntennaWeb site for bearing information.
Yep, no DirecTV extra required to watch OTA. But I like to record OTA on the DVR just in case so the AM21 comes in handy for that. I'm close enough to the antenna farm that I could get by with set-top indoor antennas but also have a Channel Master in the attic.
NE Oklahoma, never lost signal with Direct or Dish without it storming so bad I can't see a football field away.
I switched from COX to DTV about 3 years ago and I couldn't be happier.

I'm in the Las Vegas area so we don't get storms but it does get pretty windy and I've never had a picture quality issue.

With COX I went through many cable boxes (they would break constantly) and constant customer service issues. With DTV I only had to call customer service twice and both times they were great.

After the first two years my payments are the same as they would be with COX so I'm not currently saving any money but I enjoy the service so much that it is totally worth it to me.

Hope that helps.
cox only has FSN WEST, FSN Prime ticket, and FSN SD (Padres games only?)

Directv has FSN WEST, FSN Prime ticket, FSN SD, CSN BA, CSN CA and FSN AZ (sports pack needed to get Coyotes and Diamondbacks)
Have you tried looking in the couch? There's usually change there
ProfLonghair said:
Have you tried looking in the couch? There's usually change there
in Las Vegas some times you can find change left over on the slots.
If your worried about snow/ice you could always install a dish heater:)
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