Cox TV Starter Cable Review & Channel Lineup

Cox TV Starter is Cox’s basic cable television package. It’s contract-free and costs $53 a month for over 75 local channels. That’s around $0.71 per channel. Starter TV is the best plan for homes who want popular channels yet don’t want to pay for unnecessary ones.

I want to find a home TV plan that’ll offer the best value. I found myself here. Covering all the information I could find about Cox’s TV Starter plan.

I’ll cover these points to help you figure out whether this plan’s worth getting:

Let’s jump in.

Cox TV Starter Pros and Cons

Here are advantages and disadvantages of Cox’s TV Starter plan:


  • Contract-free
  • No price hikes after a year
  • Free DVR service for a year
  • Reasonably priced compared to other cable TV plans


  • * It’s cable TV
  • TV box rentals are a bit pricey
  • Using a third-party cable box also costs a lot

* Many service providers who offer a similar number of channels (e.g., YouTube TV) provide cable channels while not requiring ridiculous fees. For instance, the regional sports fee.

By the way:

When I talk about pricing throughout this review, my numbers won’t include these fees. Or taxes. Because these costs will differ based on your location.

What Is Cox TV Starter?

Cox TV Starter is a contract-free cable television plan that offers 75+ local TV channels.

Features for this plan include:

  • Many purchasable channel packages: packs with movies, sports, and more
  • 1 year of their Standard DVR service for free: 250 hours of HD storage and 2 simultaneous recordings
  • 50 commercial-free music channels
  • Voice Remote: control a TV box using your voice
  • Contour TV app: stream your channels on smartphones and computers

This plan also includes 1 free TV box. You’ll need to pay a monthly rental fee for each consecutive box you order. The Cox TV app helps reduce the number of boxes you’ll need, though.

I’ll emphasize the details in a bit.

Who Is Cox TV Starter Best For?

Cox’s TV Starter plan is best for homes with at least 4 rooms that want local channels.

Popular local channels this plan provides include:

  • PBS
  • CW
  • Fox
  • ABC
  • NBC
  • CBS

If you want cable channels, you should upgrade.

Why did I specify 4 rooms?

Because you get 1 free cable box. It’s best to keep it in your family room.

The other 3 rooms could watch channels free on Cox’s Contour TV app. It allows 3 simultaneous streams while at home.

So long as everyone’s watching on a smartphone, laptop, or desktop. Because this app doesn’t offer support for smart TVs or other devices most people use. Like Apple TVs or Amazon Fire Sticks.

Why create an app that doesn’t support devices many homes would use? Who knows. Maybe to increase their Stream box sales?

How Much Does Cox TV Starter Cost?

Cox TV Starter costs $53 a month and includes a free TV box without considering sales tax or other fees.

TV packages, devices, or services you add to your plan will incur additional costs.

I mentioned “other fees.” Check them out in the next section.

Cox Starter TV Hidden Fees

Here are some “hidden” ways Cox will vacuum money from your bank account:

Fee TypePrice
Professional installationVaries by package and region
Canceled appointment fee$100
Broadcast surcharge$19/mo.
Regional sports surchargeUp to $5.00–$12.50/mo.
Late payment fee$8.35
Returned check feeUp to $25
Credit card denied feeUp to $25
Collection feeUp to $25
Reconnection fee$20 per service
Wireless 4K Contour Box$5.00/mo. each
Contour HD Box$8.50/mo. each (1st box included)
CableCARD$6.00/mo. each

Cox Starter TV hidden fees.

The regional sports and broadcast TV fees will depend on where you live. And there’s no way to avoid these fees. Since Cox is stuck in the past and doesn’t offer a live TV streaming service.

And the Contour TV app doesn’t count. Because it requires a cable subscription.


You get a free Contour HD box with every TV plan. Each consecutive box will cost you $8.50. 

Cox makes it so people can use a compatible third-party cable or DVR box.

But you must pay $6.00 monthly for their CableCARD. The card allows your device can receive Cox’s services.

Opting for a third-party box may save you money in the long run. Especially if you intend on switching providers. Because eventually, you may switch providers.

Having your own cable box can prevent you from having to deal with returning Cox’s equipment. Depending on your distance from the nearest Cox or UPS store, this “investment” may save you gas money.

Cox Contour TV Starter Channel Lineup

Here are the channels you’ll get with Cox TV Starter [1]:

ChannelChannel Number
On Demand1
Azteca America24
Public Access (30)30
Public Access (31)31
Public Access (39)39
Estrella TV41
Bounce TV94
Public Access (96)96
Jewelry TV97
Leased Access109
HSN 2112

Cox Contour TV Starter channel lineup.

I didn’t include many channels in this lineup. Because they’ll vary by region and whether you add them to your package.

For example:

  • Local channels: e.g., PBS LA
  • Premium channels: like HBO
  • Sports networks
  • Music channels

Sports and premium channels require separate subscriptions. There’s no reason to add them to this list.

My channel lineup isn’t definitive. You’ll need to visit and enter your ZIP code to get a “personalized” list.

Cox TV Starter Premium Channels

Cox TV Starter doesn’t include premium channels by default. You’ll need to pay the following rates for each channel:

HBO Max$15/mo.

Cox TV Starter premium channels.

Here are examples of popular series or movies you can watch on each premium channel:

  • HBO: House of the Dragon
  • SHOWTIME: Twin Peaks
  • STARZ: Spartacus
  • CINEMAX: Banshee
  • EPIX: Britannia

Everyone has varying preferences, so you’ll need to explore these platforms’ series lineups and determine whether it’s worth the subscription.

Before blowing $12+ a month, check various streaming services (like Netflix) to see whether they have the licensing for the series you want to watch. You may save a bit of money going this route.

And my research has shown me these channels include a total of 30 secondary channels.

Cox Contour TV Starter Sports Channels

Cox offers a number of sports packages like:

Sports Pack 2$20/mo.
NFL RedZone$44.99 (one-time)
MLB Extra Innings$26.99 (one-time)
MLS Direct Kick$89 (one-time)
NHL Center Ice$69.99 (one-time)
NBA League PassSeason ended

Cox TV Starter sports packages.

The Sports and Information Pack (Sports Pack 2) comes with over 10 channels. A couple examples include the NFL Network and Olympic Channel.

Ensure you check Cox’s sports page to see whether these packages remain in-season.

Cox Starter TV Add-ons & Channel Packages

Here are options Cox offers to customize your channel package:

Add-on or PackagePrice
Latino Pack$10/mo.
International Channels$8.50/mo.
Sports & Info Pack$10/mo.
Sports Pack 2$10/mo.
Movie Pack$12/mo.
Variety Pack$12/mo.
Premium Channels$9–$15/mo.

List of service and channel add-ons for Cox.

Cox’s DVR services include:

DVR ServicePriceSimultaneous RecordingsHours of HD Video Storage
Essential DVR Service$13.50/mo.2250
Preferred DVR Service$20/mo.6250
Ultimate DVR Service$30/mo.241,000

Cox DVR services compared.

“Simultaneous Recordings” refers to the number of shows you can record at once. For instance, you could record a show on Cartoon Network and Nickelodeon during the same time slot (e.g., 9:00 pm–9:30 pm).

Each of Cox’s channel packages have at least 10 or more channels. I’ve condensed them in a separate piece. Check them out to see whether they’re worth adding to your plan.

Cox TV Starter Availability

You can get Cox’s home security, internet, TV, and voice services in 624 areas spread throughout the following 19 states:

North CarolinaNebraskaNevadaOhio
OklahomaRhode IslandVirginia

List of states that support Cox residential TV services.

Cox doesn’t support every city within these states. Especially rural areas. You’ll need to visit their city availability page to see if they support your city.

Cox TV Starter Contract

Cox Contour TV Starter doesn’t require a contract unless you bundle your services. From there, you may have a contract that lasts up to 2 years.

If your bundle does have a contract, it will likely vary based on your location.

How To Install Cox Starter TV

To start with Cox TV Starter, you’ll need to order your plan online or in-store. From there, you’ll receive your self-installation kit.

If you’re ordering online, you’ll receive this kit within a day. While waiting for your kit, you can watch channels through the Cox TV app.

Once you get your Cox TV kit, ensure it has the Contour HD box, remote, HDMI cable, power cord, and coax cable.

Connect your Contour HD box. Plug it into your wall’s coaxial port and power outlet. From there, sync your remote and TV. I’ve included the remote codes in a separate guide.

To connect a third-party DVR, you’ll need to call 800-234-3993 and tell customer service you need help with your installation. To save time, you can visit and do everything online.

Installing the 4K streaming box just requires you to plug the device into your TV, power on your television, and follow the on-screen prompts.

Discounts Available for Cox TV Starter

Cox Contour TV Starter doesn’t have any discounts at the moment. Check out our Cox discounts page to find current Cox discounts.

You can get a free Peacock Premium subscription ($4.99/mo. value) until January 15th, 2023 [2].

This gives you access to over 60,000 hours of content that includes shows like The Office. The platform does have ads, though. It seems like many streaming providers are pursuing that route, so this criticism may soon become outdated.

Cox TV Starter Bundles

You won’t find any discounts when bundling TV Starter with other Cox services. But here are some bundles you can get to make your billing easier:

PackagePriceBest For
TV Starter + Homelife Security$93/mo.Home security & local channels
Internet + TV Starter + Voice$122.99–$165.99/mo.Entertainment & backup landline phone
Internet + TV Starter$102.99–$145.99/mo.Entertainment

Cox TV Starter bundles.

The Homelife Security bundle requires a 2-year term agreement and comes with the following security devices:

  • 2 Window/door sensors
  • 2 window decals
  • 1 HD camera
  • 1 indoor motion sensor
  • 1 yard sign

You can get additional devices to integrate with your smart home like more cameras, HD plugs, and more.

The internet and TV bundles will vary in price depending on the internet plan you choose.

And bundling with the 100 Mbps internet plan will give you a free Panoramic Wi-Fi gateway rental. Otherwise, you’ll need to pay an extra $13 monthly if you want that gateway.

You can get more add-ons to give Cox more of your hard-earned money. If you want to remove the term agreement, that’s an extra $10 monthly. Bypassing their data cap will require $50 monthly.

And paying for technical support requires you to fork over $10 a month. Why pay for technical support? It’s only viable if you’re not tech-savvy.

For those of you who refuse to get rid of landline phones, you can tack on an extra $20 monthly to your TV bundle (or internet and TV). 

Cox TV Starter vs. Other Contour TV Plans

Here’s how Contour basic cable compares to other Cox TV plans:

PlanChannelsPricePrice Per Channel
Contour TV Starter75+$53/mo.$0.71
Contour TV Preferred140+$98/mo.$0.70
Contour TV Preferred Plus170+$118/mo.$0.69
Contour TV Ultimate250+$138/mo.$0.55
Contour StreamingNA$5/mo.NA

Cox Contour TV plans compared.

TV Starter serves as Cox’s bare-bones plan. It costs the most per channel, but it costs the least overall.

To get cable channels, you’ll want Cox Preferred TV. Preferred Plus will give you every premium, cable, and local channel.

But you can go a step further with Ultimate. You get almost all the channel packages for a reasonable price. You only won’t get the Spanish and International channels packs.

Do you want to get rid of cable in general?

Go with Cox Streaming Only. You’ll get a 4K streaming box that allows you to change your regular TV into a smart TV.

There are only a few scenarios where this box is practical, though.

1 example includes whether you want to use it for its free content from Xumo or Pluto TV. Otherwise, you’ll need existing streaming service subscriptions.

Cox Starter vs. The Competition

Here’s how Cox Starter TV compares to similar(ish) competing television plans:

PlanChannelsPricePrice Per Channel
Contour TV Starter75+$53/mo.$0.71
DirecTV Entertainment (Stream)75+$49.99/mo.$0.66
YouTube TV85+$64.99/mo.$0.76
Xfinity Choice TV10+$20–$49/mo.$2.00–$4.90

Basic cable TV plans compared.

Xfinity works best for availability. YouTube TV offers the best pricing for streaming and doesn’t have as strict of requirements as DirecTV stream. Then Cox Contour Starter gives you the best price per channel.

I’m going to cross Xfinity Basic Cable off the list for basic TV plans.

Do you see the price per channel?

And that doesn’t include the various hidden fees that come with Xfinity.

The DirecTV Entertainment plan seems like the obvious choice. But there’s a caveat. After 2 months, you’ll pay $69.99 monthly. You’ll also need a minimum of 24 Mbps download speeds [3].

Since it’s a “streaming service.” YouTube TV demands 13 Mbps (for 1080p) and 25 Mbps for 4K streaming.

So both plans will require internet plans.

DirecTV Stream and YouTube TV offer superior DVR services. Unlimited cloud DVR storage. So that can save you up to $30 monthly.

You can use the 2 live TV streaming services anywhere. Cox and Xfinity all support overlapping areas. I’ve covered those areas in this post.

Then you’ll know whether you fall in an area that allows you to choose from the 2.

FAQs: Cox TV Starter

Here are some frequently asked questions about Cox’s TV Starter plan.

Can I Use My Own TV Box With Cox?

You can use your own TV box with Cox. But you’ll have to pay a $6.00 monthly fee for the CableCARD. This card makes it so your device can receive Cox’s services.


Cox TV Starter offers a decent basic cable TV plan that doesn’t require a contract. It also doesn’t increase in price after a year. Compared to other providers, they have a good number of channel packages you can add.

To customize your experience.

Whether you want to phase your household off of cable TV, or want to find an alternative provider, you should check out the alternative providers we’ve reviewed.

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Cox Offer

250 Mbps plans for $59 99/mo
$ 59
  • Enough for a familly
  • High availability
  • $83.99 after 12 mo.