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DirecTV vs. FiOS

Discussion in 'DIRECTV General Discussion' started by RMSko, Mar 3, 2007.

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  1. Mar 3, 2007 #1 of 47

    RMSko Legend

    Aug 23, 2006
    I'm trying to do an objective comparison of DirecTV vs. FiOS, but particularly focusing on the use of an HD DVR with each service. I don't know if this is the correct forum to post this in, and if it's not, if someone could direct me to the best place, that would be great. What I would like to do is have an objective comparison of the features, costs, picture quality and performance. I've done some research and here's what I have so far:

    • FiOS has a multi-room DVR Option that allows you to watch recorded shows in two other rooms at the same time. The biggest PROBLEM with this is that any show recorded in HD is NOT able to be watched in any of these other rooms. Therefore, for those interested in HD content, this is more or less a useless feature. According to Verizon, the ability to watch HD content at remote locations may be a feature added at a later date.

    • The FiOS DVR allows for storage of 120 hours of SD programming, while the HR20 allows 200 hours. I could not find any information regarding storage of HD programming for the FiOS DVR, but one can assume that it would similarly be about 40% less than the HR20.

    • All FiOS DVRs automatically record HD content, i.e., there is not a SD DVR and HD DVR. I know a lot about the performance of the HR20 (which has been improving with the latest s/w updates), but I don't have any information about the performance or features of the FiOS DVR.

    • I've heard that PQ via FiOS is excellent, although I have not seen it firsthand. I also don't know how this PQ will compare against D*'s MPEG-4 PQ.

    • If you have Verizon home telephone service and Verizon internet service, FiOS will likely be considerable cheaper. Assuming (i) the only premium channel you want is HBO, (ii) you need two (HD) DVRs, (iii) have a total of 6 televisions and want DVR capability on each and (iv) want as much HD programming as possible, here's the breakdown:

      Plus HD - $70
      HBO - $13
      5 Additional STBs - $25
      Verizon Internet - $40
      Verizon telephone service - $55 (this is estimated)
      TOTAL - $203

      TV, Phone and Internet Bundle - $95
      HBO - $16
      DVR (2) - $26
      Media Center - $20
      3 Additional STBs - $15
      TOTAL - $172

    • FiOS has an on-demand feature and I understand that this may be coming to the HR20
  2. Mar 3, 2007 #2 of 47

    DonCorleone Icon

    Jan 28, 2006
    Question: are you an out of market NFL or MLB fan? If so, you have your answer?
  3. Mar 3, 2007 #3 of 47

    Spanky_Partain Active Member

    Dec 7, 2006
    IMHO - Go FiOS. Awesome internet speeds!
  4. Mar 3, 2007 #4 of 47

    mikeny Hall Of Fame

    Aug 20, 2006
    I just switched to FiOS internet. Spanky, it is faster.

    I could've swtiched to FiOS TV but I stayed with DirecTV instead. I've been happy enough with the service, equipment, upgrade offers and programming credits in the last 4 years. I also had 22 months remaining on a contract. I could always add the TV at a later time.

    Is the FiOS HD DVR upgradeable? If not, then it's pretty limited.

    My 'in laws switched to FiOS internet and took the TV option the day after my install. They are happy but came from Cablevision Family Cable package without any boxes and all SD. For them, that MRV option is great, buy like you said, it all SD.

    If I had started from scratch I probably would have taken the TV option with FiOS. It's probably a little cheaper but I'm not ready to drop DirecTV yet. I'm looking forward to a lot more HD in the near future from them too...And watching the HR20 grow is too much fun.:)
  5. Mar 3, 2007 #5 of 47

    bnglbill Icon

    Nov 29, 2006
    Better than 6 mbps with comcast?
  6. Mar 3, 2007 #6 of 47

    mikeny Hall Of Fame

    Aug 20, 2006
    In my area we've got 20 dl/5 up.
  7. Mar 3, 2007 #7 of 47

    kaminsco Guest

    Nov 27, 2006
    What is FiOS?
  8. Mar 3, 2007 #8 of 47

    RMSko Legend

    Aug 23, 2006
    No, so that's not an issue for me. I'm also really trying to focus on FiOS TV. I'm probably going to add FiOS internet anyway since it's only $10/month more than what I'm paying now. My biggest issue with the FiOS DVR is its storage capacity, which seems to be only about 60% of the HR20. I also have no idea how well the FiOS DVR performs, which is obviously a critical piece of information.
  9. Mar 3, 2007 #9 of 47

    Sixto Well-Known Member

    Nov 18, 2005
    A few months ago, I gave this analysis MUCH thought. Compared Cable (w/Series3) to DirecTV (HR20) to FIOS. First installed Series3, then HR20, don't yet have FIOS option available (but did research).

    After much back-and-forth analysis, decided (for now) that the best is D* HR20. Currently have HR20 and Series3 still running side-by-side.

    The absolute main decision factor was "content", with quality of the DVR 2nd, and cost 3rd.

    To deal with your first question, I did install a "modulator" attached to the S-Video output of the HR20 which makes it available like a cable channel anywhere in the home.

    Here's my most recent HR20 / Series3 comparison which might be helpful when you're looking at FIOS:

    Reliability: Series3 slightly (rock-solid) - HR20 has gotten MUCH better recently
    Interface: HR20 (much better, picture in guide great)
    Remote: Series3 slightly (love the TiVo remote but getting very comfortable with HR20 remote, miss ability to one button on/off TV&Denon Receiver)
    Speed: HR20 (much quicker)
    Dual tuner multi-tasking: Series3 (until HR20 has DLB!)
    Photos/MP3: Series3 (much much better)
    Upgrade: Series3 slightly (better to just swap internal drive, less connections, less power) - but eSATA HR20 has worked very well
    HD Content: Series3 now (but HR20 will be better when new satellites are up soon)
    Football Fan: HR20 (Sunday Ticket with interactive features is awesome)
    Baseball Fan: HR20 if DirecTV gets MLB EI package
    Wishlists: Series3 (but have not missed wishlists much)
    Online Scheduling: Series3 (but Slingbox totally removed need for this feature)
    MRV: Neither
    2Go: Neither yet (use Slingbox instead, HR20 coming soon)
    Video-on-Demand: Neither yet (HR20 VOD coming soon, Series3 getting Amazon Unbox)
    Style: Series3 (looks very nice, but Black glossy HR20 might be better)
    Front panel: Series3 (one record light for each tuner is nice, HR20 lights too bright)
    Pay-per-view: HR20 (not existent on Series3)
    Trickplay: Series3 (TiVo much much better especially with auto-correction)
    HD Picture Quality: Series3 slightly (HR20 about the same)
    Code Updates: HR20 (have enjoyed the HR20 CE experience)
  10. Sixto

    Sixto Well-Known Member

    Nov 18, 2005
    Also, when I was thinking FIOS, I was going to use the Series3 with FIOS ...
  11. kikkenit2

    kikkenit2 Icon

    Oct 25, 2006
    I have D* and have FIOS available here now. I save money with the Premier programming ($100) including ALL movie channels and the regional sports channels. With this I save (-$30) each month on my 5 HD and 1 SD DVR. 5 Additional STBs - $25 I (unfortunately) use the slower verizon DSL ($20) and phone only for tivo ($15). For a total of $160.

    When I compare that to fios, its cheaper but much slower internet. I can live with that for now. Cell phone charges don't count, because I need that either way.

    D* has lower quality HD (for now?) but way more HD channels and i'm addicted to the NFL ST/Superfan. I record every NFL game broadcast in HD. I also just dropped E* because I was paying $90 a month for a few Voom channels.

    The Verizon and TW HD-DVR's become expensive if you need a lot. I read an article in my HT magazine that said FIOS HD is compressed some. Haven't seen it yet. Maybe post this comparison in a Cable TV forum to get a better read on Verizon TV.
  12. RMSko

    RMSko Legend

    Aug 23, 2006
    Is there an expectation that D*'s PQ will be improving? I'm also still wondering about MPEG-4 PQ. It takes up less storage space than MPEG-2, but is suppose to be better PQ. I assume it takes up less storage space b/c of better technology and not b/c of more compression (is that right?), but do most believe that MPEG-4 PQ is really that much better than MPEG-2?
  13. PoitNarf

    PoitNarf New Member

    Aug 19, 2006
  14. jpl

    jpl Hall Of Fame

    Jul 9, 2006
    I switched to FiOS internet about a year ago, and I love their service. FiOS TV became available a couple months ago, and I considered it, but decided against it for a number of reasons. One of which was cost. You're right to do an apples-to-apples comparison - that's exactly what I did -- I looked at getting the equivalent to what I have today with DirecTV, and FiOS, for me, turned out to be more expensive. But it depends on what you're looking for -- each situation is different, and FiOS has a very different pricing structure to DirecTV.

    One other thing to keep in mind are "hidden costs" - i.e. taxes. FiOS is considered, for good or ill, a cable service, and as such is subject to the same fees (at least around here it is) as cable companies. For example, a coworker went to FiOS and got slapped with a $10 fee, from his township, to allow for "right of way" for the cable lines. It's also one reason why it's not available to everyone yet - even in areas where FiOS internet has been running for some time. They get individual franchises (much like cable) to run the service in different areas, and they have to negotiate the service with each township/city/town. Since many places have monopoly cable services (legal monopolies allowing only one cable company in your area), laws have to be changed to allow them to operate in your area.

    Either way, I would take a look at some of the hidden fees/taxes for cable in your area - and assume that it would apply to you too.

    Oh, and one other reason I opted not to go with them - their DVR. They use the same Motorola DVR that Comcast uses, and I've heard some not-so-nice things about that machine (despite the fact that I've heard similar things about the R15 - of which I have 2 - but you know the saying... better the devil you know than the one you don't... and I've had no major problems with the R15).

    Finally is customer service. While Verizon's CSRs, I think, are very knowledgeable, just getting to the right CSR is a chore. Last summer our phone service gave out, and I had to try 4 different numbers before I got someone. The first, their service number, which came off my most recent bill, was no longer in service! This IS a phone company... and their phone number is wrong on their bill? Next I tried a general number, also off my bill, but it was a general number, and since the office was closed, I was told to call back during normal business hours (no option to go over to their emergency number).
  15. kikkenit2

    kikkenit2 Icon

    Oct 25, 2006
    Most D* HD programming here in Los Angeles is MPEG-2 but I just got the 5 LNB slimline dish for my HR20's and now get more channels in HD. I assume they are all MPEG-4 at this point. The picture quality is generally slightly better but still not 1920 resolution. The newer compression uses 1/2 the bandwidth for the same picture quality. Good stuff and everybody is going to it.

    When the new sats go up we will get the most HD programming of any system and can only hope (pray?) they will give us full 1080/1920 resolution on all channels. I don't think anybody knows for sure but I doubt it.

    FIOS has faster internet than my DSL ($30 month more for me) and probably slightly better picture quality than what I have now. This may be a better choice for you. But for me D* is way better value. I just don't want to have to watch SD programming any more. Like Cinemax, Starz, Speed, MTV and Versus. All HD this fall. Now I just need more RSN and Spike in HD. YMMV:)
  16. dtv757

    dtv757 Icon

    Jun 3, 2006
    FIOS internet is the fastest Residential Broadband in THE US period (please correct me if I'm mistaken)

    Dont know about your market but here are the speeds and price comparisons for my market

    768 (dsl speed) $26
    up to 5/2 $42
    up to 15/2 $57

    5/2 $39.99
    15/2 $49.99
    30/5 $54.99 (i hit 30-31 megs everyday (wired, cat-5) @ work, sometimes 15m wireless)

    in some markets the speeds are
    10/2 $39.99
    20/2 $49.99
    50/5 $???

    Fiber to the Home is the best choice for broadband imo.

    as for TV both D* and FIOS have room for 150 hd channels so i don't know about that one we will see at the end of this year.
  17. Mixer

    Mixer Hall Of Fame

    Sep 28, 2006
    While I was at the mall tonight they had a whole FIOS booth setup there so you could watch TV use the Internet and even make a phone call. Call or visit Version customer service and see if there is a booth like this near yo then go and chek it all out in person.

    If I could get FIOS for internet there is no doubt I would jump all over it. For TV though I am pretty happy with D* and they have been very good to me through my HR20 install issues. Not that I feel I have to stay with them or anything. I just dont see anything in the FIOS TV that would make me jumo the D* ship. But again there is no way I can get FIOS here so it is easier for me to say.

    Go have a look if you can find one of these setup booths.
  18. captain_video

    captain_video Icon

    Nov 21, 2005
    I just had FIOS installed a little over a week ago and the internet is blazingly fast compared to Comcast wideband cable. On top of that, the FIOS tech told me they were going to bump up my connection speed from 5/2 to 10/2 or possibly 10/5 in the next couple of weeks at no extra cost. The other internet packages were also increasing in speed over what they now are. I was previously paying $57.95 per month for internet with Comcast.

    I signed up for all three packages at once to get the discount. We already had Verizon phone service but what I didn't know was that the FIOS phone service included unlimited local AND long distance calling for a fixed price that was comparable to what I was already paying for just local calls. I called up AT&T and dropped my long distance service so I saved anywhere from $15-40 additional each month just by switching to FIOS phone service.

    My DirecTV bill was costing me over $100 per month with Total Choice Plus & locals, HBO, HD access, two standard receivers, DVR service, one SD DTivo, and three HDTivos. I just dropped all but one HDTivo and then reduced my package down to the Family Plan via the DTV website @ $29.95 per month. My monthly cost dropped from about $108 to less than $60. I had been using my HDTivos primarily for recording OTA HD programming so it just seemed silly to keep paying DTV so I could get free TV from another source.

    I built a HTPC just for the purpose of recoding OTA programming. The initial investment was a bit steep but selling off my HDTivos will more than pay for it. I also picked up a S3 HD Tivo to use with FIOS along with two cable cards @ $2.95 each per month. I got a three year Tivo service plan for the same cost as two years which works out to something like $8.41 per month for the Tivo service. Add in the cost of the cable cards and I'm paying roughly about the same cost as I would for one of Verizon's HD DVRs. My HTPC has four ATSC tuners so I still have the same flexibility as I did before for recording HD programs. I rarely used the SD DTivo anymore and the HTPC and S3 Tivo can easily absorb whatever season passes I had set up on the DTivo.

    I'm still in a commitment with DTV due to activating one of the HDTivos less than two years ago but I plan on eating the penalty and dropping DTV altogether. I believe the charge is something like $12.50 for each month I have left on my commitment, which will end up being less than what I'd pay DTV for one month's service based on my previous setup. They'll probably give me a hard time about reducing my account to less than Total Choice but I'll gladly pay the couple of weeks difference in the rate if they gripe about it.

    I haven't tallied up what my total cost per month will be but when everything is taken into consideration I'm sure I'll come out ahead.

    I also forgot to mention that the FIOS tech informed me that we'd be getting something like 50 more HD channels by the end of the year IIRC.
  19. Mixer

    Mixer Hall Of Fame

    Sep 28, 2006
    Captain_video....i would be interested in hearing the overall savings fro just the TV part of the switch. The phone and internet can not really be judged here since the topic is D* vs F*

    Also it doesnt seem smart of Verizon to have launched this TV service with only 11 out of the 38 HD nationals in place, if they were truely interested in getting HD customers on board that is.
  20. wilbur_the_goose

    wilbur_the_goose Hall Of Fame

    Aug 16, 2006
    I've had 15Mbs FIOS internet for a year and it's so much better than I could've imagined. I've yet to experience an outage, and it's BLAZINGLY fast.

    It's much faster than work, which is a shared T3.
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