Cox Communications is one of the largest cable providers in the US (the third, to be precise). Besides their Contour cable TV service, Cox also specializes in telephone and Internet. Getting a feel for Cox deals can be pretty tricky since the presentation on their website is geared towards selling you the more expensive “smart” plans. I've peeled through the layers of fine print to find the plans that are good for those of us who are more concerned with the price than all the bells and whistles. Overall, the bundled plans offer the best value here: Installation, Setup, and Usage for Cox Communications TV Plans Plan to spend the better part of the afternoon at home for installation, if you're setting up multiple TVs. Image via Mike Mozart/Flickr When you call to sign up, the rep will ask for your street address, suite/apartment, and zip code. If everything is okay, you can move on with your order and even customize it once more before checking out. If Cox doesn’t offer services in your area, they’ll just let you know, and depending on which call center you get routed to, might even offer an alternative provider. You can also give them a call or chat with their reps online. Though, I advise sticking with calling, as many of Cox’s customers have complained about the provider’s online support and help. Installing Cox and Contour Service A few things to keep in mind about installation: Someone who is 18 years or older will have to be present during the installation. They’ll need to make decisions about where the equipment will be placed. The technician will most likely spend a lot of time inspecting your residential wiring. Make sure that all your TVs and entertainment centers are near reachable outlets and a few feet away from the walls. In case new outlets must be installed, be sure to let the technician know before he/she gets to work. If possible, ask the technician to verify that the equipment works after the installation, and demonstrate how to use it. It’s best to take the whole day off on the day of the installation appointment. Equipment Cox has a few hardware items associated with their service. Namely: DVRs HD Receivers Modems CableCARDs Cox Cable DVRs Cox DVRs include two options: Contour Record 2 HD-DVR – Enjoy HD quality, pause/rewind/record live TV, record two shows simultaneously, take advantage of Contour perks, and get 200 hours of storage. You can get your whole home connected only if you pair it up with Contour Record 6 HD-DVR. Contour Record 6 HD-DVR – Enjoy HD quality, pause/rewind/record live TV, record six shows simultaneously, take advantage of Contour perks, get 1,000 hours of storage, and enjoy the fact that your whole home is connected. HD Receivers Receivers make it possible to receive all your channels alongside their HD versions, including your local programming. Cox offers two options: Mini box – Enjoy HD, a straightforward self-install, and take advantage of the on-screen guide, parental controls, and HD programming for HDTV. Overall, the mini box is a good option for additional rooms. Contour HD Receiver – Enjoy HD, and also get free HD channels with all your TV packages, including local programming. Additionally, you can enjoy Contour perks for an additional monthly cost, and ensure your whole home is connected if you pair the HD receiver up with the Contour Record 6 HD-DVR. Modems Cox is well-known for providing consumers with two-in-one modems. Basically, they act as both a modem and a router. Cox provides DOCSIS 3.0 and 3.1 modems. If you get the Panoramic WiFi Modem, you can also add the Panoramic Wireless Extender. It enhances your Internet connection, features a dual-band, and is ideal if you have multiple Internet users in your home. CableCARDs If you already have a set-top box, a TV receiver, or a DVR, you can pair them up with a Cox CableCARD. What is a CableCARD? While the CableCARD has limited functionality, it can provide you with the cable experience you want. How to Save on Equipment If you’re getting Internet services besides TV, you can try using your own cable modem if Cox supports it. This way, you won’t have to deal with renting fees (approximately $9,99/month). If you don’t have a modem, you can actually buy one from Cox. Depending on the model, it can cost you either around $149,99 or $179,99. In the long run, you’ll definitely get your money’s worth. At the same time, I advise you to buy your own DVR instead of renting from Cox if you can. That’s because Cox’s DVR fees are very steep (around $21,49/month and $28,51/month), and the DVRs are not really that impressive. Here are some DVRs that are compatible with Cox. Image via Pixabay If you’re not getting a bundle that comes with free installation, I recommend trying a self-install. Installation fees can start at around $75, and Cox provides numerous self-install guides. But do keep in mind that Cox’s website claims self-installation has a one-time fee starting at $20. They don’t offer enough details about that, but it’s something worth keeping in mind. Lastly, if you already have decent TV equipment, I suggest getting a CableCARD. It’s only around $1,99/month, and it’s a good choice if you don’t want to deal with equipment renting fees and don’t have a problem with limited functionality. Cox Communication Bundles: Good Value, or Over-Hyped? Pros Some bundles include free professional installation and free HD receiver rental Some bundles feature a 30-day money-back guarantee Free premium channels with some Triple Play bundles Fast Internet connection speeds Some Triple Play offers include the TV plan free of charge Cons High prices Steep post-promotional price increases Low channel variety Cox bundles are usually popular with consumers, and it’s easy to see why. For starters, some of their Triple Play bundles (the most cost-efficient ones) come with a 30-day money-back guarantee. Cox Perks Free HD receiver rental A free professional installation HBO, Cinemax, SHOWTIME, STARZ, and EPIX included in some offers Furthermore, the Internet connection speeds you get to enjoy are very appealing. Bundles that are priced over $80 and $90 come with download speeds of up to 100 and 300 Mbps (megabits per second). Another thing that really pleasantly surprised us was the fact that some Triple Play offers apparently included the TV plan for free. For instance, the Internet Ultimate + Telephone Premiere comes with Contour TV free of charge (the total price is around $109,99/month for everything). Now, for the downsides. I didn’t really like the lack of TV channel variety. Even the most expensive Triple Play bundle only boasts around 220+ channels, which is not really convenient considering the pricing. Speaking of which, Cox bundles feature pretty steep price tags. Most customers usually end up paying over $100/month when they choose a Cox bundle, as the pricier offers are more attractive. Post-promotional price increase is another problem with Cox bundles. I know most providers have this, but Cox’s fees feature a significant increase. For example, many of their Triple Play bundles have an attractive promotional price upfront, but add on a +$20/month increase for the following 12 months. This isn't as bad as some providers, but still worth being aware of. All in all, Cox bundles are decent and they offer a lot of perks. It’s just a shame the base price is expensive in general. And if the low channel count bothers you, I recommend just sticking with their Cox Contour TV Ultimate stand-alone plan. (This can be cheaper than subscribing to a bunch of “cord cutter” services if you like a variety of programming.) Cox Communications’ Best Feature: Bundle Perks Cox is best when bundled with TV and Internet for a lower price. Image via DeclanTM/Flickr Cox bundles might be expensive, but the features they offer definitely make you feel like you’re getting your money’s worth. Whether we’re talking about the 30-day money-back guarantee, free premium channels, or free HD receiver rental, there’s no denying that Cox has plenty of good things in store for consumers who purchase bundles. Cox Communications Deals: Attractive Offerings Despite the High Pricing If money’s not a big issue, you’ll certainly enjoy everything Cox Communications has to offer. While their DVR choices might not be too outstanding, Cox more than makes up for it through their varied bundles. If you are not 100% sure yet, though, I recommend checking out Dish and Xfinity deals before making a decision.