I've heard alot of complaining about Time Warner, but I've has service with them for over a decade and have had nothing but good experiences with them.
It's true though that for cable providers, that will be determined by region. Mini-satellite television is available nearly anywhere, but signal quality varies with both available view of the sky, and weather.
I agree that usually people don't have issues with providers after everything is set up and working. Most of the customer service issues I hear about involve getting service setup or dealing with getting it disconnected.
As for directv, weather is a concern. I've used them since 1997 and it is generally very good in all but the most severe weather. I live in North Texas and that generally means that "Severe Thunderstorm Warning" or "Tornado Warning" will cause my TV to be spotty. Really 3-4 times a year.