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Although recent customer satisfaction scores from the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) show that cable still has a ways to go, the industry is starting to gain ground, thanks in part to a weaker showing by DirecTV and EchoStar Communications.

Overall, the cable and satellite category posted a score of 61 in Q1 2005, unchanged from the previous three years.

EchoStar maintained the top spot with a score of 68, but that was down from a 71 in the year-ago period. DirecTV dropped from 71 to 67. Both were the lowest-ever scores for DBS. ACSI said the decline among DBS providers could be tied to a "reverse casualty" trend, whereby increased sales can occasionally lead to lower customer satisfaction.

Cox Communications again scored the highest among cable operators, duplicating the 63 it posted a year earlier. Time Warner Cable improved a point to score a 61.

Comcast Corp. and Charter Communications again scored below the sector's "all others" score of 59 (down from 60). Although Charter showed no year-over-year change (56), Comcast's score improved to 58 from 56.

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