Cox Contour TV Review for 2019

Contour TV features a smaller price hike than other TV providers, but it still comes out as less for more.

Overall Rating

Pros

Cons

Cox Communications offers the gamut of telecommunications services: internet, phone – and TV. As of last year, Co updated its cable TV packages from 5, down to a single one: Contour TV. 

Contour TV suggests a big appeal for those looking to save some money in the long run: unlike most other TV providers (we’re looking at you, DIRECTV), you’ll find a much lower jump in pricing after the initial promotional period ends. 

But Contour TV also starts at a higher base price than those others – so does the smaller price hike make a difference overall? And how does the rest of Contour’s features pan out? We checked out their prices, add-on channel packs, DVR, and customer service. 

Here’s what we found. 

Contour TV Packages and Pricing

Plan Channel count Price View plan
Contour TV 140+ $64.99/mo.* View plans

*For the 1st 12 months. After, price rises to $87.49/mo.

Cox’s 1 TV package, Contour TV, really doesn’t have much going for it when you look at competitors: DISH starts out at $59.99; DIRECTV starts at $35 a month; and Xfinity TV, the largest cable provider, starts at $49.99. 

We might add, too, that each of those starting plans gives you more channels than Contour. 

And, while Contour TV’s price hike after the promo period doesn’t jump as much as those competitors, the long-term, it turns out, doesn’t actually work out in Contour TV’s favor. 

To illustrate: after the initial 2-year contract, both DISH and DIRECTV are, on average, under $61 per month. Another competitor, Verizon Fios, stays under $90 a month. And AT&T’s TV keeps below $100 a month. In contrast, Cox comes out at about $101.37 per month on average.

So unfortunately for Cox TV, they just don’t do well at the pricing game. 

We said there was only 1 option now for Cox TV, but we told a half-lie. There’s another package, which is more barebones: TV Starter. It has just 75 channels and costs only $25 bucks a month. 

Extra costs

To start with, if you bundle your TV with another Cox service, you’ll need to sign a 2-year contract. That gives you that initial base price of $64.99 a month. If you want out of that ahead of time, you’ll face early termination fees (ETFs) of up to $240. Luckily, that’s prorated, so take $10 off for each month of service you’ve had already. 

And if you don’t – no worries. There’s no contract required for just the standalone TV service – so that’s great; although you may still face some prorated charges if you drop out before the end of your 1-year promotional period. 

But, if you want a better channel selection (which we’ll talk about the details of alter), you’ll want add-on packages, which add up. Whether premiums like HBO or STARZ, or Entertainment, Sports, or Latino, you’ll pay an extra $10, $12, or $16 for each one that you add on.

Even without the add-on “Paks,” there are still extra costs to total in. These include: 

  • The Contour HD receiver: $8.50-$10 a month (begins after 12 months with standalone TV; after 24 months with a bundled service contract.)
  • DVR: $12.99 or $19.99 a month. 
  • Broadcast surcharge: Up to $10 a month. 
  • Regional sports surcharge: up to $9 a month.

In addition, you should really sign up for the “Cox Complete Care” plan for $10 a month — otherwise, you’ll have to pay $60 if you have technical problems, just to get a technician out to look at your cable. 

So yeah, there’s quite a few.

Contour TV Channel lineup

Package name Channels View channels
Contour TV ABC, AMC, Animal Planet, BET, C-SPAN, C-SPAN 2, C-SPAN 3, Cartoon Network, CBS, CNN, Comedy Central, Cozi, CQ, Discovery Channel, Disney Channel, E!, EVINE Live, Food Network, FOX, FOX News Channel, FX, Galavision, GSN, HISTORY, HLN, HSN, ION, Jewelry TV, LAFF, Lifetime, MeTV, MOVIES!, MSNBC, National Geographic, NBC, Nickelodeon, PBS, Pop, QVC, STARZ Encore Espanol, SyFy, TBN, TCM, Telemundo, The Weather Channel, TNT, truTV, TV Land, Unimas, Univision, USA Network, WGN America View local channel selection

Like most TV providers, to inflate their channel count, many of the ones included are radio and music channels. Nevertheless, you’ll find most of the popular ones – ESPN, TNT, USA, TBS, and the History channel – but that comes with major caveats, especially for the major stations and local networks. You’ll have to visit this page to see what’s available in your area. 

In addition, as mentioned, there are plenty of add-ons. 

Premiums

Channels Price View Plans
HBO $16/mo. View plans
CINEMAX $12/mo. View plans
SHOWTIME $12/mo. View plans
STARZ $12/mo. View plans
EPIX $10/mo. View plans

Contour TV has all the basic premium channels: HBO, CINEMAX, STARZ, etc. They’re pricing is average: discounted from the services as standalone streaming subscriptions, but nothing better than what other competitors can offer. 

Sports

Pak Sample channels included Price View Pak
Sports & Info Pak ESPN Classic, FOX Business, GoITV, H2, NHL Network $10/mo. View Pak
Sports Pak 2 NFL Redzone, NBC Universal Sports, Outside TV, World Fishing Network $10/mo. View Pak

Contour TV offers exactly 2 Sports paks: Sports & Information, and Sports Pak 2. They have most of the classics, but it was hard to determine much else: again, we ran into the pesky “Access Cox channel lineup by market” page that limits and changes what channels show up. 

Variety + Movies

Pak Sample channels included Price View Pak
Variety Pak Disney Junior, One, Cooking Channel, BBC America, STARZ ENCORE FAMILY, NickToons, Boomerang, Oxygeny, MTV2, VH1 Classic, Fuse, LogoTV, CMT, WeTV $12/mo. View Pak
Movie Pak EPIX, STARZ ENCORE, STARZ ENCORE ACTION, STARZ ENCORE SUSpENSE, STARZ ENCORE CLASSIC, STARZ ENCORE BLACK, STARZ ENCORE WESTERNS, IFC, SundanceTV, Indie Plex, Retro Plex, STARZ ENCORE HD $12/mo. View Pak

The Variety Pak provides a variety of other popular networks, like DIY Network, Disney Jr., and VH1 Classic. Unfortunately for Cox Contour TV, a lot of these are included in base packages for a competitor like DIRECTV. 

Latino

Pak Sample channels included Price View Pak
Latino History en Espanol, Universo, Cinseros, beIN Sports, Discovery en Espanol, familia Discovery, Disney XD, El Rey, Fox Deportes, Nat Geo Mundo, Sony $10/mo. View Pak
Movie Pak EPIX, STARZ ENCORE, STARZ ENCORE ACTION, STARZ ENCORE SUSpENSE, STARZ ENCORE CLASSIC, STARZ ENCORE BLACK, STARZ ENCORE WESTERNS, IFC, SundanceTV, Indie Plex, Retro Plex, STARZ ENCORE HD $12/mo. View Pak

The Latino Pak has the standard list of shows: Discovery and History in Spanish, beIN Sports and Fox Deportes, El rey, Universo, etc. It’s a little light on some, especially compared to DIRECTV’s Optimo Mas ($35 a month for 80+ channels and 205 total) – but for $10 bucks, it’s not a bad deal. 

But again, if you really want Spanish-language channels, check out DIRECTV’s Optimo Mas package. It’s better all-around. 

Many of Cox’s Contour TV channels are available in both SD and HD definition – but it was difficult to find a clear answer as to how many and which ones were. However, the ones that are Standard Definition do come with HD versions – for free. 

Contour TV DVR and Other Features

DVR Hours Capacity Price
Record 6 HD-DVR 340 HD, 1000 SD 2 TB $19.99/mo.
Record 2 HD-DVR 120 HD, 230 SD 500 GB $12.99/mo.

When it comes to your DVR options, you get exactly 2: the Contour Record 6 or Record 2. The former has greater storage capacity and can record more hours. It also gives you recommendations based on your watching and rating habits. 

The Record 2 is more basic, with fewer recording hours and a smaller capacity; plus it doesn’t give you recommendations. 

In both cases, the number in the title is the number of recordings you can make at once: 6 for the Record 6 and 2 for the Record 2. 

Features

In addition, if you have something like a TiVo or other compatible TV receiver and don’t want to buy Cox’s equipment, you can do that - you just need to buy a Cable Card for $3 to make things compatible and avoid a DVR fee.

Cox also offers the Contour App, so you can watch all your cable content on any of your devices. Not only that, but you can bring up a show on your device (like your iPhone), and then switch it to your TV. Pretty cool – but expected. 

You can also set your DVR to record shows and browse the channel guide up to 7 days ahead. But, the app’s missing a few features unless you also grab Cox’s internet – like setting parental controls, watching live channels, and some video on demand features. 

Weird – and limiting. 

Equipment and Installation

Regardless of which DVR you choose, unless you go with the CableCard, you’ll need that HD Receiver we mentioned in the “Extra costs” section above. That’s Cox’s cable box, so you can actually use their service. That’ll run you about $10 bucks a month, which is pretty standard. 

And if you want to add TV to other rooms, but don’t really care about having On-demand (or really, even all the channels) - grab a mini box, too, for $2.99 a month apiece. It’s a streaming TV box that you can install yourself. But, as I said, it doesn’t have access to on demand or all the channels. So how worth it is it, really?

Lastly, there’s installation to think about, and you get two options: 1) Install it yourself for a one-time charge of $20 bucks; or 2) Have a pro come out and install it for $75. That said, those prices are cheaper if you bundle with other services ($50 for most double plays; $25 for most triples).  

Contour TV Customer Service

As usual for the TV provider industry, customer service is mediocre. And as online reviews tend to skew toward the negative, we’ll focus on industry numbers – go by them, and Cox could do worse. 

The 2019 American Customer Satisfaction Index rated them somewhere in the middle, above Spectrum and Xfinity, but below DIRECTV, DISH, U-Verse, and Verizon Fios TV.

In regards to Cox’s website, it was a little bit too segmented for our taste – not enough interlinking for us. We had to search a little separately just to find out there were add-on packages and what they were. 

That said, Cox’s support center is decently setup, with help categories for your receiver and remotes, plus online TV viewing and the ability to check your channel lineup and TV schedule. 

Recap

Overall, it’s a pretty simple choice for us – Contour TV doesn’t start out any cheaper than its TV provider competitors, and you’d have to dig and compare to see that the price-hike after the first year isn’t as big as DIRECTV’s. But even if you do that, you might as well go a little further and average things out – and Contour just can’t win there. 

Even so, we do like the no-contract options, the huge DVR storage space, and the free HD channels upgrades. So if you’re into that, or you’re getting internet or phone service from Cox already, Contour TV might work for you. 

But if you want better prices and channels – go with someone else, like Xfinity for cable, or DISH or DIRECTV for satellite. 

Luke Pensworth Written by: Luke Pensworth

Luke is the managing editor and site manager of Dailywireless. As a wireless enthusiast/consumer, he reviews a lot of services based on his own experience. Disgruntled as he may be, he tries to keep his articles as honest as possible.

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