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Guest Message by DevFuse

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I Switched to FiOS. Comparing the two providers...


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#1 OFFLINE   jimbo56

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Posted 02 April 2012 - 06:25 PM

If you've read some of my previous posts, I mentioned that I was checking out FiOS. But since I have been very satisfied with DirecTV for 5 years, I wanted to compare the services side-by-side before deciding which service to keep. If money was the only concern, it would be a no-brainer - the FiOS Triple Play Bundle (TV, 35/35 Internet, and Digital Voice Phone) saves me an incredible amount of cash, even after the promotional period ends. But money isn't everything if I wasn't going to be happy with the service. After due deliberation, I finally chose FiOS. There were some tradeoffs, though. In comparing the two services, this is what I found:

Picture Quality: HD video is virtually identical between FiOS and DTV. No "HD-Lite" here. SD video is where FiOS really blows DTV out of the water. SD is actually watchable on FiOS, unlike DirecTV's over-compressed blur-o-vision. Advantage - FiOS

Basic Programming: Virtually all of the channels I watched regularly on DirecTV are also on FiOS. But FiOS has about 15 more basic channels in HD than DirecTV. Sadly, no BBC America or DIY Network, though on either. But since I am somewhat of a news hound, I like BBC World News, CNN International and ABC World News Now on FiOS (would like to see AlJazeera English, but it's not available). Also, FiOS carries my local CW and MyTV affiliates in HD and DirecTV does not. Advantage - FiOS

Premium Programming: I really don't watch much premium programming, but both providers seem to have a good selection of premiums. Advantage - Tie

Sports Programming: This is where DirecTV really shines. I'm now going to have to get my Sunday Ticket and MLB on my PS3, which will give me diminished PQ. Fortunately, FiOS does have all my regional sports networks (YES, MSG and SNY) in HD, though. Advantage - DirecTV

The Guide: I still cannot get used to the FiOS guide. I can't pinpoint exactly what is wrong with it, just that I simply don't like it. Maybe all the years of being familiar with DirecTV's guide has spoiled me. Add this to the fact that the SD and HD channels are separated (HD channels are in the 500+ range) and there is no option to hide SD duplicates, so surfing the FiOS guide is cumbersome, at best. Advantage - DirecTV

Equipment: The DirecTV equipment looks a lot nicer, but the FiOS boxes do their job, even if they are ugly. Multi-Room DVR works well on both providers, but the FiOS system is much quicker at accessing programming off the slave boxes. (I should note that there are only two of us in the house and we only DVR a few shows a week, so we don't need umpteen tuners or 150 hours of storage. In fact, I've figured out that if I don't watch a program within a few days of recording it, I probably won't ever bother.) The FiOS equipment is MUCH faster overall in changing channels. Comparing the two systems side by side you really realize how annoying the 3-4 second channel changes on the DirecTV boxes are when the FiOS changes channels almost instantly. VOD on FiOS starts much quicker than DirecTV as well. Advantage - FiOS, based on speed alone

Technology: I think DirecTV has the upper hand here. They seem to be introducing new equipment and features on a regular basis. Don't really know much about Verizon since I haven't had it that long, but when I heard they're going to stop FiOS expansion it makes me wonder about whether or not they are committed to updating their technology. As for existing technology, I have used the remote DVR scheduler apps on both services and have been happy with both. Advantage - DirecTV (I think)

Customer Service: Although I initially had a good experience with Verizon's CS, my opinion of them soured considerably when I had a billing problem. I was unable to access my bill online and my Auto-Pay wasn't working because my account number changed when I added phone and TV to my existing FiOS Internet (I was subsequently assessed a late charge even though I had no way to view or pay my bill). Over the course of a week, I was on the phone for literally hours with Verizon CS trying to rectify the problem. The worst time was when I kept getting transferred from department to department, with everyone clueless on how to help me; after over an hour on the phone I was transferred back to the department I had initially called! Finally the problem did get fixed, fortunately. Add this to the hour on hold trying to talk to a rep when there was a service outage - well, you get the picture... On the other hand, DirecTV's Customer Service reps have always been great, polite people every time I have had to call and have almost always resolved any problem in quick order. The only (minor) complaint I have with DirecTV's CS is having to play CS Roulette in order to get the best deal on programming. Advantage - DirecTV

So in the final analysis I feel there was no clear winner between the two services. In the end, I think I give FiOS a slight edge based on more basic HD and more watchable SD. Add that to the better pricing (although it was not the primary consideration, it was definitely a factor), and I made the switch to FiOS. I hope it's the right choice. It was a close call.

Remember, the choice I made is based on my needs only. Everyone else needs to determine what things are the most important to them before making their own choice. For example, if I needed several DVRs, DirecTV might be a better choice (Verizon wants upwards of $20/month extra for each additional DVR). If I were an absolute sports junkie, DirecTV would be my provider. The best choice for me might not be the best choice for someone else.

As for me, I'll still troll around the forums here and put my two cents in every now and then. Who knows - in a couple of years I might be back in the DirecTV fold! Bye for now...

...Ads Help To Support This SIte...

#2 OFFLINE   bigtom

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Posted 02 April 2012 - 06:46 PM

Thanks for the objective comparison.

Would you care to share your programming plans between the two?

I also wonder if equipment comparision for speed would be much closer if the situation was reversed as in moving from more legacy FiOS equipment to top of the line DIRECTV.

#3 OFFLINE   jimbo56

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Posted 02 April 2012 - 08:14 PM

Thanks for the objective comparison.

Would you care to share your programming plans between the two?

I also wonder if equipment comparision for speed would be much closer if the situation was reversed as in moving from more legacy FiOS equipment to top of the line DIRECTV.


My DirecTV plan was the Plus HD DVR Package (grandfathered), HD Extra Pack, Showtime, Whole Home DVR with 4 total receivers plus the Protection Plan. Total cost = $137.96

My FiOS Triple Play plan is Extreme HD (includes Showtime, Cinemax, The Movie Channel & Flix), Whole Home DVR with 4 total receivers, 35/35 Internet plus Digital Voice Phone. Total cost = $102.05, after multiple promotional credits. After the promotions end, I believe my price will be about $180 + taxes and fees (tough for me to figure out exactly because different promotions have different durations).

Prior to bundling, I was paying $95 for FiOS Internet alone, $19/mo for a VOIP phone line plus the DirecTV. So this bundle is saving me a ton of money compared to what I was paying, even after the promotions end.

As for the equipment speed, from reading the FiOS forums I understand the older FiOS receivers are really sluggish when updated with the latest firmware. I also understand the latest DirecTV receiver (HR-34) is much faster than the older receivers which I had. But I can only compare the equipment I have actually used; I can only assume that if I had the HR-34 the equipment speed between the two providers would be closer.

#4 OFFLINE   Sixto

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Posted 02 April 2012 - 08:28 PM

Have done a similar DirecTV / FiOS comparison here.

Yep, the FiOS UI while pretty with lots of options, it just seems too cluttered at times, and it just seemed weird to have the current channel always in the middle of the guide.

Could also save a ton of $ here as well, but the HR34 is just too compelling.

When/if the rumored FiOS 6-tuner DVR is introduced late-2012 or TiVo introduces a successful extender box to complement multiple Premiere Elite's, really no competition here.

I need at least two 4-tuner DVRs each with at least 200 hours of HD, with PIP being icing on the cake, and MRV from every remote TV (5) ... with the HR34 and DirecTV MRV being the only capable solution at this time.
DirecTV: Genie, H25, CCK, GenioGo, SWiM-16 & SWiM-8, DECA to Gigabit Switch with FiOS (75/35)
FiOS: Roamio Pro's (2), Roamio Plus, Mini's (4) with Ultimate HD (My Roamio Thoughts)

#5 OFFLINE   Inkosaurus

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Posted 02 April 2012 - 09:10 PM

Wow really nice to see the comparison. Ive been thinking of coming to DTV (been with Dish 5 years now and am getting tired of it xD) but FiOS was a consideration too.

Just a quick question how much lower is the PQ for the ticket and mlb on the ps3 ive been thinking of ordering them.

#6 OFFLINE   grcooperjr

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Posted 02 April 2012 - 10:17 PM

Which version of Fios do you have...

Verizon Fios
or
Frontier Fios

#7 OFFLINE   jimbo56

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Posted 03 April 2012 - 04:08 AM

Wow really nice to see the comparison. Ive been thinking of coming to DTV (been with Dish 5 years now and am getting tired of it xD) but FiOS was a consideration too.

Just a quick question how much lower is the PQ for the ticket and mlb on the ps3 ive been thinking of ordering them.


I have been watching the NHL on my PS3 and the PQ is not bad, but certainly not the pristine HD that DirecTV offers. It's certainly watchable, though. The closest thing I can describe it is that it almost looks like you're watching a game on film rather than a live broadcast And with high speed internet I get very few, if any, buffering dropouts.

#8 OFFLINE   jimbo56

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Posted 03 April 2012 - 04:10 AM

Which version of Fios do you have...

Verizon Fios
or
Frontier Fios


Verizon FiOS. I'm really not even familiar with Frontier FiOS.

#9 OFFLINE   jimbo56

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Posted 03 April 2012 - 04:13 AM

Have done a similar DirecTV / FiOS comparison here.

Yep, the FiOS UI while pretty with lots of options, it just seems too cluttered at times, and it just seemed weird to have the current channel always in the middle of the guide.

Could also save a ton of $ here as well, but the HR34 is just too compelling.

When/if the rumored FiOS 6-tuner DVR is introduced late-2012 or TiVo introduces a successful extender box to complement multiple Premiere Elite's, really no competition here.

I need at least two 4-tuner DVRs each with at least 200 hours of HD, with PIP being icing on the cake, and MRV from every remote TV (5) ... with the HR34 and DirecTV MRV being the only capable solution at this time.


That $20/mo charge that Verizon gets for each additional DVR is way too steep IMHO. Fortunately the one DVR with Whole-Home capability works fine in my situation.

#10 OFFLINE   robl45

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Posted 03 April 2012 - 05:07 AM

i've heard fios is nice, a friend has it over in tampa, they also mentioned the price of the boxes, they were saying like 15 a box, I almost spit out my drink when I heard that.

but I think you have the option of tivos or running through a computer with fios, thats what they were telling me with that.

as for the ondemand, i can tell you with uverse, the on demand is nice, its quick and loads up when it works. a lot of times I get its unavailable for some reason, other times it stops right in the middle and I have to start the program again. there are still commercials although not as many. Oh and there is a grand total of one HD station so its not that useful unfortunately.

#11 OFFLINE   Rich

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Posted 03 April 2012 - 07:12 AM

That $20/mo charge that Verizon gets for each additional DVR is way too steep IMHO. Fortunately the one DVR with Whole-Home capability works fine in my situation.


That would cost me $240 a month just for DVRs. Now that you've experienced the joy of calling Verizon and asking for help, you can see why I've never entertained the thought of using FIOS. Having a Verizon cell phone is bad enough.

Rich

#12 OFFLINE   tonyd79

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Posted 03 April 2012 - 07:37 AM

Great report by the OP. Matches my experience. I have both side by side. I use directv a lot more because the dvr is much better but for the most part it is a wash between the two. It depends on what you like on who is better.
LR: HR34-700, H24-200, Fios DVR, BD350 Blu Ray, Roku Netflix Player, Chromecast, Sony 65w850 TV
BR: HR21-200, Viso 32LX, DB350 Blu Ray
Dish: Slimline, SWM8
Other: genieGo

#13 OFFLINE   mreposter

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Posted 03 April 2012 - 03:06 PM

If anyone is curious what the Fios DVR interface looks like there are plenty of videos over at youtube. Just do a search for something like "fios dvr" and you'll get plenty of hits.
..........
.......... There are none so blind as those who can not see it in HD.
.......... Directv customer since January 2000.
..........

#14 OFFLINE   jimbo56

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Posted 03 April 2012 - 03:49 PM

If anyone is curious what the Fios DVR interface looks like there are plenty of videos over at youtube. Just do a search for something like "fios dvr" and you'll get plenty of hits.


At first glance, the FiOS GUI looks pretty nice. Once you try to use it, you realize what a PITA it is. Very cluttered, different channels have different colors for no apparent reason, the channel mapping is terrible, and PPVs are scattered throughout the guide randomly. The channel you're tuning to shows up in the middle of the guide, along with the program information (unlike DirecTv where the information shows up on top). Add that to the fact that the guide information does not always match the programming and it all adds up to an unpleasant experience. I can't believe that someone actually designed a guide so poorly.

#15 OFFLINE   jimbo56

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Posted 03 April 2012 - 03:58 PM

That would cost me $240 a month just for DVRs. Now that you've experienced the joy of calling Verizon and asking for help, you can see why I've never entertained the thought of using FIOS. Having a Verizon cell phone is bad enough.

Rich


Whole-home HD DVRs are $20/month, while regular HD DVRs are $15. I don't know if every DVR besides the first one has to be a Whole-home model to make it work. Even at $15 each your bill can add up quickly.

Quick Verizon CS story: when I was having problems I had to call a department which closed at 8 pm. Since I work late, I couldn't call until 7:45. After waiting until almost 8 on hold, I was finally able to talk to a rep. She then transferred me to a department completely unrelated to my problem. When I called the original department back, of course they were closed for the evening. Obviously the first rep simply didn't want to have to deal with me so close to quitting time...

#16 OFFLINE   Rich

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Posted 03 April 2012 - 04:03 PM

Whole-home HD DVRs are $20/month, while regular HD DVRs are $15. I don't know if every DVR besides the first one has to be a Whole-home model to make it work. Even at $15 each your bill can add up quickly.

Quick Verizon CS story: when I was having problems I had to call a department which closed at 8 pm. Since I work late, I couldn't call until 7:45. After waiting until almost 8 on hold, I was finally able to talk to a rep. She then transferred me to a department completely unrelated to my problem. When I called the original department back, of course they were closed for the evening. Obviously the first rep simply didn't want to have to deal with me so close to quitting time...


You'll come to love dealing with Verizon. Everybody thinks our CSRs are bad, but Verizon's are a lot worse.

Rich

#17 OFFLINE   bobcamp1

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Posted 04 April 2012 - 09:13 AM

At first glance, the FiOS GUI looks pretty nice. Once you try to use it, you realize what a PITA it is. Very cluttered, different channels have different colors for no apparent reason, the channel mapping is terrible, and PPVs are scattered throughout the guide randomly. The channel you're tuning to shows up in the middle of the guide, along with the program information (unlike DirecTv where the information shows up on top). Add that to the fact that the guide information does not always match the programming and it all adds up to an unpleasant experience. I can't believe that someone actually designed a guide so poorly.


The colors represent content. Sports vs. movies vs. news.

All the channels in FIOS are grouped together. All the HD sports channels start at 570, the news channels start at 100/600, etc. The top two PPV movies are at the beginning of the group of movie channels.

The HD version of a channel is always 500 more than its SD version. If you tune to the SD version that has an HD version available, a small reminder tells you to just press the 'C' button and it will switch to the HD version. But yes, the ability to hide SD duplicates would be nice.

The main problem you (and I) are having is that you simply don't know where the channels are anymore.

#18 OFFLINE   bobcamp1

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Posted 04 April 2012 - 09:25 AM

Thanks for the objective comparison.

Would you care to share your programming plans between the two?

I also wonder if equipment comparision for speed would be much closer if the situation was reversed as in moving from more legacy FiOS equipment to top of the line DIRECTV.


I can compare the HR24-200 with the QIP7232. Both are the fastest for each provider. The HD FIOS GUI runs circles around the HR24-200's SD GUI.

I agree with almost all of the OP's comparison. For me, it's $20 a month with slightly more channels and better VOD (FIOS) vs. $85/month with slightly fewer channels and poor VOD (D*). I think once I get used to where the channels are it's a no-brainer.

#19 OFFLINE   grcooperjr

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Posted 04 April 2012 - 09:40 AM

Verizon FiOS. I'm really not even familiar with Frontier FiOS.

Verizon sold off alot of their fiber based stuff to frontier 2 years ago. It still carries the same name and content. The latest here in Oregon for fios is they raised their TV fee's 45% in an effort to shed the tv business. They have been sucessful so far. Last month the got rid of close to 10K sub's Here's a link to a google page on the news.

#20 OFFLINE   jpl

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Posted 04 April 2012 - 10:38 AM

Verizon sold off alot of their fiber based stuff to frontier 2 years ago. It still carries the same name and content. The latest here in Oregon for fios is they raised their TV fee's 45% in an effort to shed the tv business. They have been sucessful so far. Last month the got rid of close to 10K sub's Here's a link to a google page on the news.


Right - that includes fiber in Oregon, Washington, and Indiana. Those were all origially Verizon FiOS systems, and were sold off to Frontier. It's also clear that Frontier really doesn't want to be in the TV business. They not only jacked up the prices on TV services, but they started charging a ridiculous $500 set up fee for new subscribers! And they were giving special deals to have their customers switch to DirecTV. As for stuff all being the same between the two... that's no longer true. Frontier isn't beholden to get all the same HD channels that Verizon has (only most of them) and they're not doing guide updates like Verizon is. At this point they really are two separate systems - right down to control of the VHOs (basically regional cable offices).




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