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Guest Message by DevFuse

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Leaving D*: Verizon Fios or Cablevision?


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11 replies to this topic

#1 OFFLINE   bcab17

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Posted 04 August 2014 - 02:26 PM

I'm in the NY area (Long Island), and I'm looking for a "triple play bundle" for TV, Internet, and Phone. Promotional pricing is fairly close between Verizon Fios (Ultimate TV package - "media server dvr" - 4 total TVs) and Cablevision/Optimum (Gold TV package - "cloud dvr" - 4 total TVs). I really can't afford to purchase separate equipment at this time (TiVo), so I plan to use/rent their boxes. I realize that provider and equipment preferences are very subjective, but it would be great to get some insights from people who have used these services, switched from one to the other, etc.

 

How are their newest multi-room "streaming" dvr services? What about their UI's and s/w? Is either service more susceptible to weather-related outages than the other? Does Optimum's huge number of wifi hotspots in this area give them an advantage?

 

As for programming, we watch lots of movies and local sports teams. Both providers have similar premium movie channels included in their top tier packages, but my one concern is related to the MSG Network channels for Fios. As a NY Islanders fan (yes, it's not easy), their games are often bounced to a secondary channel like MSG2+ or something (Knicks, Nets, Rangers, and Devils get priority). As I have tried to search online channel listings, it appears as if some of the secondary MSG channels are not available in HD from Fios. Can anyone confirm this? I've watched hockey at a friend's house in SD, and it's not pretty.



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#2 OFFLINE   Bill Broderick

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Posted 04 August 2014 - 03:07 PM

Personally, I'd go with FiOS over Cablevision.  I know two people with the Optimum cloud DVR service and neither of them are particularly happy with it.  One of them switched to Cablevision from a combination of services in order to save money.  He calls Cablevision "the most expensive $100 a month that I've ever saved".  The biggest complaint that his family has is the latency that's inherent with the cloud DVR service, instead of the instant response that they've come to expect, there is a delay in every command.

 

The second person (an employee of mine) hates the fast forward and rewind features of the cloud DVR service.  Rather than just having a picture that still shows every frame, just faster, the cloud DVR skips frames during fast forward and rewind (kind of like how it's done on Netflix).  He hates this for watching recorded sports.  After he moved and the only DVR option that Cablevision offered was the cloud DVR, he came by my office to ask me if I knew any way to get his DVR to behave like his old one did.  I told him that friend #1 also has the same issue and that it looks like the only resolution is to get them to install a "classic" DVR.  I don't believe that he's had any success in his attempts to do so yet.



#3 OFFLINE   bcab17

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Posted 04 August 2014 - 03:56 PM

Personally, I'd go with FiOS over Cablevision.  I know two people with the Optimum cloud DVR service and neither of them are particularly happy with it.  One of them switched to Cablevision from a combination of services in order to save money.  He calls Cablevision "the most expensive $100 a month that I've ever saved".  The biggest complaint that his family has is the latency that's inherent with the cloud DVR service, instead of the instant response that they've come to expect, there is a delay in every command.

 

The second person (an employee of mine) hates the fast forward and rewind features of the cloud DVR service.  Rather than just having a picture that still shows every frame, just faster, the cloud DVR skips frames during fast forward and rewind (kind of like how it's done on Netflix).  He hates this for watching recorded sports.  After he moved and the only DVR option that Cablevision offered was the cloud DVR, he came by my office to ask me if I knew any way to get his DVR to behave like his old one did.  I told him that friend #1 also has the same issue and that it looks like the only resolution is to get them to install a "classic" DVR.  I don't believe that he's had any success in his attempts to do so yet.

Thanks Bill. I was afraid that latency would be an issue, and if the RW and FF are similar to Netflix, then that might just be a deal breaker. However, I'm not sure how the new FiOS media server (VMS1100) and client (IPC1100) service differs from the Optimum cloud DVR or if it may suffer some latency as well.



#4 OFFLINE   jpl

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Posted 05 August 2014 - 09:45 AM

I have the VMS1100 and 2 IPC clients with FiOS.  Personally, I think they're pretty nice.  When they first rolled out the service (my market was in the first round in which it was introduced), the s/w was extremely laggy - basic functions like just bringing up the guide would take several seconds.  They've since fixed that.  DVR functionality especially is damn near instantaneous on the VMS, and pretty close to that on the IP boxes.  There are still some bugs in the s/w, but nothing I would consider a show-stopper (and Verizon's been pretty aggressive at rolling out updates to the firmware).

 

As for the MSG channels, I'm not in the NY market, but looking at the listings, I think you're correct.  FiOS appears to have MSG and MSG+ in HD (and it looks like they have a second MSG in SD).

 

As for weather outages with FiOS - they just don't happen.  Outages of any type are extremely rare, and the fiber is pretty impervious to adverse weather conditions.

 

One last point - on the internet side, FiOS internet is just simply fantastic.  I not only get no slow periods, but my internet speed (I have the 50/50 tier) is always higher than what I'm provisioned for.  There's no throttling, no download caps, and no slow periods.  And virtually no outages.  I can recall only 2 in all the time that I've had FiOS internet (about 8 1/2 years).

 

Can't speak to CV, since I've never had their service, though.



#5 OFFLINE   wilbur_the_goose

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Posted 05 August 2014 - 09:56 AM

FIOS, but a pretty wide margin.


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#6 OFFLINE   bcab17

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Posted 05 August 2014 - 10:53 AM

Thanks for all the help. I spoke with a Verizon rep today, and she confirmed that the DON'T have MSG Plus and MSG2 Plus in HD (DTV and Cablevision have all MSG channels is HD)...since they own MSG, I think this is a case of Cablevision screwing with their only "local" competitor.

 

However, if Bill's post is correct...that Cablevision's Cloud DVR has lots of lag, as well as "frame-skipping" rewind and fast forward like Netflix...that sounds a lot worse than watching some hockey in SD.

 

I assume the cloud-based DVD has no local HD, so everything is basically "streaming" (like Netflix). I'm still not sure how the new FiOS media server (VMS1100) and client (IPC1100) service works, but I assume the media server uses a local HD to buffer all channels (for full access to pause and rewind of live TV), as well as to store all recordings "in the box".

 

The Verizon rep was pushing a promo that included Quantum Internet 75/75. When I told her that I thought that 50/50 would be fine for my needs, she said that the faster the internet speed, the better the FiOS TV picture quality. I never knew that one had anything to do with the other.

 

In our house, it's not unusual to have four people accessing the internet via WIFI, including streaming music and videos, at the same time (smartphones). Occasionally, two of us may also streaming from Netflix...that's as "internet-intensive" as we get. Does that sound like we would benefit from or require 75/75 internet speeds?



#7 OFFLINE   jpl

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Posted 05 August 2014 - 12:14 PM

I think their rep misspoke.  I'm pretty sure they have MSG+ HD (channel 580 in the TV Guide listings that I'm seeing).  As for them screwing with a local competitor... they can no longer do that.  Verizon petitioned the FCC to eliminate the terrestrial loophole.  CV was using that loophole to deny Verizon and AT&T access to any of the MSG HD channels (they only allowed Verizon to have the SD feeds initially because those, for some reason, are fed via satellite, and CV couldn't deny them access).  Verizon won.  The FCC stated that the loophole is still technically open.  However, if a provider is being denied a channel because of the loophole, all they have to do is submit a request for the channel with the FCC.  The FCC then makes the determination if that channel should be forced to be handed over.  The determination is made based on two criteria: a) The channel has to be one that, without it, the one provider is at a competitive disadvantage; B) It has to be non-reproducible content.

 

Both of those criteria really define the RSNs (aka MSG).  After the FCC issued its rule change, Verizon made a request for the MSG suite of HD channels, and the FCC agreed, and forced CV to hand them over.  The only reason I could think that Verizon doesn't have MSG2 HD is because of bandwidth (for the longest time, Verizon wouldn't give us The Comcast Network in HD, even though they gave it to us in SD - after many months of receiving customer requests for the channel, they finally turned it on).

 

As for how the VMS works - think Genie.  That's pretty close.  The VMS unit itself is a souped up DVR, with 1 TB of internal storage and 6 tuners.  So, yes, all recordings are stored internally in the VMS (it's not a cloud-based DVR).  The IP boxes feed off of the VMS - they use tuners from the VMS to tune in channels.  If an IP box becomes disconnected from the VMS then it falls back to a default of an in-home streaming box.  What does that mean?  Right now Verizon has streaming deals with a number of content providers, allowing you to get live feeds for some 120 channels via things like your Xbox, or an iPad (I've used the iPad app and it works surprisingly well).  That streaming comes in directly from the head-end, and you don't need the Quantum TV service to get it.  However, if your IP box becomes disconnected from the VMS, then it acts like one of those streaming services, giving you access to those 120+ channels that you can get via the iPad.



#8 OFFLINE   bcab17

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Posted 05 August 2014 - 04:00 PM

Thanks for the details. You are correct...it's only MSG Plus 2 that's not in HD...and it probably is a bandwidth issue.

 

Regarding the FiOS VMS, is there a limit to the number of TV series you can set to record (my DTV DVR has a 50 series limit)? You mentioned the IP boxes can become disconnected. How often does something like that occur?

 

Also, am I understanding correctly that you are limited to roughly 120 channels when using the FiOS app on a mobile device, no matter what channel package you subscribe to?



#9 OFFLINE   jpl

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Posted 05 August 2014 - 04:47 PM

Thanks for the details. You are correct...it's only MSG Plus 2 that's not in HD...and it probably is a bandwidth issue.

 

Regarding the FiOS VMS, is there a limit to the number of TV series you can set to record (my DTV DVR has a 50 series limit)? You mentioned the IP boxes can become disconnected. How often does something like that occur?

 

Also, am I understanding correctly that you are limited to roughly 120 channels when using the FiOS app on a mobile device, no matter what channel package you subscribe to?

As far as I know, there are no limits to the number of series you can set up.  I don't have 50, but I don't know of anyone who has hit any kind of limit.  As for IP disconnecting from the VMS - it never happens on its own (unless the VMS reboots or something).  But you can force it to disconnect, which I've never tried.  The reason for this, btw, is to change which VMS an IP box connects to.  YOu can have 2 VMS units, if you would like, but each IP box has to be assigned to one or the other VMS (although, from what I understand, you can access recordings from either VMS at any point).  I don't have 2 VMS units, so I don't know how seamless that is (I have a single VMS and 2 additional IP boxes).  I will say that the integration between the IP boxes and the VMS is really seamless.  Probably the best feature of the service.  There is very little latency when accessing from the IP boxes, e.g.

 

As for the FiOS app, yes, that's the current limit.  In some markets you also get locals (in addition to the 120).  I don't know if that's the case in NY or not.  That 120, btw, is constantly changing (up until a couple weeks ago it was less than 100... they're working to increase that number fairly aggressively).  And it works as long as you're on a FiOS internet connection (doesn't even have to be your own).



#10 OFFLINE   bcab17

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Posted 05 August 2014 - 06:13 PM

Do you know if the IP boxes and remotes have an RF option?



#11 OFFLINE   jpl

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Posted 06 August 2014 - 06:05 AM

They don't.  At least I know that the remotes don't.  I've never looked to see if the boxes support it, but I don't believe they do.

 

I have used the FiOS TV app to control my TVs, though, and that works pretty well (it's actually done via the router, so it's Wi-Fi).



#12 OFFLINE   bcab17

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Posted 06 August 2014 - 03:13 PM

They don't.  At least I know that the remotes don't.  I've never looked to see if the boxes support it, but I don't believe they do.

 

I have used the FiOS TV app to control my TVs, though, and that works pretty well (it's actually done via the router, so it's Wi-Fi).

That's interesting. After comparing the two triple play services, I'm pretty close to choosing FiOS over Cablevision (Optimum). My initial hesitation with FiOS was the 2-year contract (and no MSG Plus 2 in HD), but I think I can live with that more than Cablevision's cloud DVR that does not buffer live tv (no rewinding).






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