September 22, 2014 Jessica Sims
Optimum Online (Charter) vs. Cox Cable

Optimum Online (Charter) vs. Cox Cable

Optimum Online offers some great values and that along is a strong reason to match it up against Cox to determine just who would win in a battle of these two heavyweight digital media/broadband providers.  We’ll be looking at each company on the basis of its broadband offerings, digital cable, and home telephone service in order to help you decide who the real winner is.

Broadband Performance

Kudos go to Optimum Online for their full disclosure on speed rates, something that many service providers hide.  The company not only makes it easy to see their trio of plans in terms of download and upload speeds, which range from 3 Mbps/ 768 Kbps to 15 Mbps/2 Mbps), but also shows just how fast that is in real world speed with time estimates for downloads of movies, video game demos, software downloads, and more.  You may have noticed that the company’s 50 Mbps/8 Mbps connection was not present in that lineup, and that is due primarily to the fact that the company still targets this are smaller businesses.

Cox has an even faster lineup for consumers that peaks at a very impressive ‘up to’ 55 Mbps, but determining just what the actual download speed is other than the range of 18 to 22 Mbps listed on the site is very difficult to do.  Finding upload speeds is similarly difficult on all but the lowest tier of service which has speeds of ‘up to’ 3 Mbps on tap along with 384 Kbps available.

While Cox certainly has the faster speeds available even without the ‘up to’ portions being factored in, we cannot help but appreciate the candor and up-front attitude of Optimum, and so we’re going to call this one a draw right down the middle.

Digital Cable

Digital cable is the bread and butter of modern media providers, and Optimum comes out swinging with a massive 125 HD channels, while Cox has offerings that vary by market but tends to hover at around 250 with all the channel groups added.  Many of these count as doubles of non-HD channel offerings, so be sure not to fall into the trap of comparing overall channels without taking into account the number of doubled-up channels.

Both Cox and Optimum offer smartly designed lineups that offer great values and logical choices.  Cox has some great international programming that seems focused on those with an interest in the Philippines while Optimum offers truly unique lineups such as those targeted at animation or science buffs.  While Cox might have an edge in overall numbers, Optimum has again shown itself to be a shrewd player by offering very intuitive channel groupings.  This is again a toss-up and we are starting to see a pattern here of Cox bringing a lot more to the table with Optimum being better at execution; not unlike a storied contest between a slugger and a boxer.

Digital Telephone

In a day where 3rd party VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) providers are highly competitive, it is hard to just justify a landline.  This is also true of inexpensive unlimited cell phone plans, and the two of them together from all but the final piece of a trifecta that could eliminate home phones as we know them.  Until the third piece finally arrives, we can say that both companies offer international packages and great quality local calls, but again there may be reason enough to look elsewhere.  This contest is one that we’d give to Cox with their better array of plans, but ultimately this is like the undercard on a fight; not many people really care that much about this, especially with bigger players in the same arena like Vonage.

The Sum Up

If there is one thing this comparison has shown us time and again, it is that these two competitors are very evenly matched.  Does that mean nobody wins?  No.  In fact, the opposite is true.  Even when 2 great companies compete not for customers but for glory, the customers are the clear winner.  This is certainly the case here as both companies are proving day in and day out that performance and features that would have been $200/month or more, if they were even available, are now ready for the masses at affordable price points.  Kudos to both Cox and Optimum for making high speed services and great digital media readily available to such a large portion of the country, but Cox is going a mile further with its unique security suite.  If security and home integration is your thing, then you might want to see what Cox is up to in this regard.

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