Highest-Rated Cable Service Providers


If you’re going to pay for an extra few-hundred channels, you want to know you’re getting good quality, good customer service, and good channels on demand. Unfortunately, cable ratings have tanked in the past few years. Most customers have gone over to providers like Netflix, Hulu, and HBOGo. Those let you watch what you want, when you want, as many times as you want, no DVR necessary. If the surprise of channel surfing still appeals to you, here’s a look at how to choose the best cable and satellite service providers.

What am I Looking For?

Most cable and satellite providers offer roughly the exact same things: a box or plug (satellite) that hooks you up to extra TV channels. They usually have a number to call when things go wrong. The biggest difference between these companies is the areas they service and the deals they run.

Consider your options and what you want. In many rural areas, options may be extremely limited. First, look for a cable/satellite company in your region. Still have more than one option? Then check customer service ratings. If the only time you call is when you’re getting signed up, breadth of channels may be more important for you.

Another important aspect of extended channel service providers is bundling. Many companies offer more than television. You may be able to throw your internet and cable together for a much lower price than just one on its own. (Another unfortunate truth: many companies want you to get a landline for the bundle to work, which just isn’t necessary for many homes.)

CableTV’s 2016 Satisfaction Survey

CableTV surveyed “thousands of customers across the United States” to provide rankings of different aspects of different cable, satellite, and TV providers. With the exception of reliability of signal, not a single company earned more than 3.85 out of 5 stars on the averaged responses. The top five overall most satisfying companies are:

  1. Verizon (3.66)
  2. DirectTV (3.63)
  3. Dish (3.61)
  4. AT&T U-Verse (3.57)
  5. Frontier (3.57)

Verizon tended to take the cake across the board, and is particularly commended for its channel range. (Coincidentally, the five overall worst ranking companies included, from least worst, Cox, XFinity, TWC, Optimum, and Charter).

Other aspects of service companies were rated for, with top 5 performers, included:

Setup and Installation
1. DirectTV (3.85)
2. DISH (3.80)
3. AT&T U-Verse (3.77)
4. Verizon (3.76)
5. RCN (3.72)

Channel Selection
1. Verizon (3.75)
2. DirectTV (3.69)
3. DISH (3.65)
4. AT&T U-Verse (3.63)
5. CenturyLink (3.59)

Signal Reliability
1. Verizon (4.08)
2. Frontier (4.03)
3. AT&T U-Verse (3.94)
4. DirectTV (3.91)
5. MediaCom (3.83)

1. DISH (3.16)
2. Frontier (3.06)
3. Verizon (3.02)
4. CenturyLink (2.97)
5. RCN (2.95)

Tech Support and Customer Service
1. RCN (3.81)
2. DirectTV (3.77)
3. Verizon (3.70)
4. AT&T U-Verse (3.67)
5. Frontier (3.66)

DISH and DirectTV, both satellite providers as opposed to traditional cable service, seem to offer relatively good deals, while the same handful of cable companies dominated the top scores and all the rest kind of flunked a gradeless test. Ultimately, you’re probably going to be really disappointed with the cost of your service, but shouldn’t have a whole lot of problems losing signal. For full survey results, see CableTV’s complete set of charts.

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