For the third consecutive year, AT&T and Verizon received the highest ratings from consumers in J.D. Power and Associates’ annual U.S. Residential Television Service Satisfaction Study. The study, which ranks providers in four regions, found Verizon’s FiOS service with the highest overall rating in the east, while AT&T’s U-verse offering had the highest overall rating in the south, north central and west regions.

Ironically the news came just a few weeks after J.D. Power’s 2010 satisfaction study for residential phone service found cable companies with higher ratings nationwide than the telcos.

Perhaps the results illustrate that challengers try harder to differentiate their offerings. Telcos have experimented with a range of creative services in the video market and cable companies have done some creative marketing in the voice market. Telco video offerings and cable voice offerings also tend to be part of service bundles that include some of the nation’s highest-speed broadband connections—and perhaps those services generate a bit of a halo effect on other services in the bundle.

There was one important difference between J.D. Power’s most recent voice and video satisfaction studies, however. While consumer satisfaction with voice services, in general, is on the rise, overall consumer satisfaction with video services declined slightly between 2009 and 2010. According to the research firm, the average satisfaction score for television services is averaging 629 on a 1000-point scale for 2010, down from 632 in 2009.

The slight decline was due, in part, to a more substantial decline in customer satisfaction with the cost of their television service, which now stands at 541, down from 555 in 2009.

In the announcement of the results, J.D. Power and Associates Director of Telecommunications Frank Perazzini advised TV providers to better communicate their price value proposition. “Customers are increasingly voicing irritation with the amount of their monthly bill,” he said. “Seventy-four percent of customers who say they definitely or probably will change TV providers in the next year cite price as a major reason to switch.”

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