Cable companies routinely score lower in customer satisfaction than almost any other consumer service, and a large part of that is the fact that most Americans can't choose their cable provider. But if you do have options, you should choose Verizon FiOS, according to a new report from Consumer Reports.
Based on results from a 84000-household survey, Consumer Reports awarded Verizon's FiOS service as the best bundle option, if it's available in your area. FiOS bundles scored highly on reliability, picture quality, and service satisfaction, which lines up with previous reports that said FiOS is the best ISP not in Kansas City. If FiOS isn't available—and it isn't for most people—the best value often comes from those "triple play" bundles that throw in a landline and Internet access along with TV service. However, according to the report, you should watch your bills like a hawk: cable companies love to suck you in with a cheap bundle, and then hit you with fee increases once you're locked in.
Even if you don't hate your cable company, it's worthwhile to investigate your options. For instance, if you're already happy with your Internet service but want higher quality TV, Consumer Reports recommends looking into DirectTV. And if you're looking for a thrifty way to install a phone, VoIP services Ooma and Vonage scored highly on customer satisfaction as well.
While cable service is often frustrating and expensive, there are some easy steps that could save you money. Cable companies respond well to over-the-phone haggling. Plus, you could just get Internet service and use streaming video services—"cutting the cord"—and VoIP to fill out your own triple play. But the problem with that is that you're most likely getting your Internet from the same provider that wants to offer you a bundle, so you won't be getting any price breaks. Hey, nobody said all that connectivity is cheap. [Consumer Reports]