FiOS TV: First Impressions of a New Customer

Discussion in 'IPTV and Internet Video Delivery' started by Reaper, Dec 15, 2008.

  1. Reaper

    Reaper Godfather

    Jul 30, 2008
    I’ve been a DirecTV customer for about 10 years. D* has been my primary provider except for 2 years when Dish Network was. I had switched to E* because D* had something like 12 HD channels while E* had the VOOM Network channels. I dropped E* like a hot potato when they dropped VOOM, and D* took the lead in HD content.

    I’ve had DVRs for the past 10 years. I have a 55” Hitachi plasma HDTV, as well as HD DVD and Blu-ray players. So basically, I’m a well-educated consumer with lots of grounds for comparison.

    I just had FiOS installed over the weekend. I switched for 3 reasons: to save money, get more HD content, and to get better HD quality. Here’s how I think that FiOS TV measures up to D* and E*:

    HD Quality: D* and E* both have very good HD quality, E* probably a little better than D*. FiOS is better than both though; it simply has the best HDTV picture that I have seen – the colors are more vivid and the picture sharper. It is very near Blu-ray quality. It’s beautiful, really.

    HD Content: I’m a big fan of premium movie channels; yes, good old fashioned linear movie channels. I use NetFlix too but sometimes I just want to channel surf. As I write this I’m watching “Shooter” with Mark Wahlberg. I never would have rented this movie, or watched it on demand, but it’s pretty good.

    Including East and West Coast feeds, FiOS has 42 HD premium movie channels compared to 15 on D*, and for just $30/month. There’s no comparison really.

    Pricing: Bundling my phone, Internet and TV with FiOS will save me $90/month for the first 3 months and $50/month for 9 months after that, for a total savings of approximately $720. Plus my Internet speed went from 3 mbps with DSL to 20 mbps with FiOS.

    DVR: The best DVR that I’ve had was an UltimateTV DirecTV receiver that I bought 10 years ago – that box rocked, it had PIP, a great guide, and it was very responsive.

    When I upgraded to HD I got the original DirecTivo – what a piece of crap! No PIP, a super-slow guide, no video or audio when viewing the guide or menus, etc. This crappy D* HD DVR was part of my motivation for switching to E*.

    Dish Network’s DVR was very good, almost as good as UltimateTV. It had PIP, a true 16:9 guide, and was easily extendable via a USB hard drive.

    When I went back to D* I upgraded to their HR2* series DVR and it was pretty good, much better than the old DirecTivo. It had a big hard drive. The guide was OK, 4:3 stretched to 16:9. It was hard to change Favorite lists though. It was also a little sluggish, and it didn’t have PIP.

    The best thing about FiOS’s DVR is that it is very responsive; when changing channels, the channels come up quickly. The DVR controls are also quick. I like the idea of the guide – different colors for different types of shows (red for movies, green for sports, etc.) but the non-stretched 4:3 aspect ratio is TERRIBLE; I don’t need a true 16:9 guide but at least stretch the 4:3 guide to 16:9!

    The hard drive is tiny – only 20 hours of HD content. However, I’ve seen rumors on the Internet that Verizon will be adding external hard drive support in ’09.

    No PIP currently but the box has DLB and technically will support PIP; Verizon just has to do the work on the software side. And they should!

    Installation: The install went OK. The installer was an older guy and he was very good. The only bummer was that when another contractor previously ran the fiber to my house he cut it for some reason. So the installer had to call in his boss to splice it. I don’t know if this affects the quality or not but it freaks me out a little bit.

    Customer service: Poor so far. I was supposed to have the Extreme HD package but only had the Essentials package when the box was activated. I had to talk to literally a dozen people before I got to someone who could actually help me. With D* and E* I usually got someone who could help right away, and they could push the signal immediately. With FiOS, it took hours to upgrade the service.

    Every system has its warts and FiOS has a few. However, all in all FiOS seems like a darn good deal! IMHO, it’s a keeper!
  2. Greg Alsobrook

    Greg Alsobrook Lifetime Achiever

    Apr 1, 2007
    Nice write up! Congrats! I'm glad you found what fits you best... :)
  3. brant

    brant Icon

    Jul 6, 2008
    fusion or mechanical splice?
  4. 506PIR

    506PIR Legend

    Sep 21, 2006
    I enjoyed your write up. Fios is being put up almost all around my area so I will consider it seriously when its lit up. I hate Time Warner HSI. Moving up to 20 mbps from a lousy 10/ 1 (many nights half that) would make my decision a whole lot easier. I'd miss D* but this is a time to save $$$$$
  5. wilbur_the_goose

    wilbur_the_goose Hall Of Fame

    Aug 16, 2006
    Does FIOS have any sports subscriptions like MLB, NHL, etc? (I know they don't have NFLST!)

    WOW- just looked at their HD offering - D* is losing the battle :(


    CBS - KYW HD511 CBS - KYW HD
    KYW [CBS] HD





    CW - WPSG HD516 CW - WPSG HD
    WPSG [The CW] HD

    My - WPHL HD517 My - WPHL HD
    WPHL [MyNetworkTV] HD

    USA HD550 USA HD
    USA Network is where characters live and come alive. From the obsessive-compulsive detective Monk, to the fake psychic in Psych, and the action heroes of the WWE, USA is a place where we can celebrate our uniqueness and applaud our similarities.

    TNT engages minds and hearts by delivering complete dramatic entertainment with critically acclaimed original productions, sports, movies, series and more. TNT in HD is broadcast in 1080i 24 hours a day with all content in native HD or up-converted to HD

    TBS in HD552 TBS in HD
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    FX HD553 FX HD

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    Universal HD is available 24/7, in 1080i true HD and 5.1 Dolby Digital surround sound. With Universal HD, viewers get a distinct HD channel with exclusive, award-winning blockbuster movies, record-breaking TV series and premier sporting events.

    WGN America HD568 WGN America HD

    HD Net569 HD Net
    HDNet...Television Like You've Never Seen Before.

    ESPN’s HD programming provides the best quality sports broadcasts available, with a crystal-clear picture and CD-quality sound.

    ESPNews HD572 ESPNews HD



    Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia HD576 Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia HD

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    NHL Network HD587 NHL Network HD

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    VS. Golf HD590 VS. Golf HD

    Outdoor Channel HD591 Outdoor Channel HD

    Tennis Channel HD592 Tennis Channel HD

    World Fishing Network HD597 World Fishing Network HD


    CNN HD600 CNN HD
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    CNBC HD+602 CNBC HD+
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    National Geographic Channel HD621 National Geographic Channel HD

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    History Channel HD628 History Channel HD

    bio: The Biography Channel HD629 bio: The Biography Channel HD

    Animal Planet HD630 Animal Planet HD

    HD Theater631 HD Theater

    TLC HD639 TLC HD

    Lifetime HD640 Lifetime HD
    Lifetime HD [East]

    Lifetime Movie Network HD641 Lifetime Movie Network HD

    QVC HD650 QVC HD

    HSN HD651 HSN HD

    Food Network HD664 Food Network HD


    Planet Green HD668 Planet Green HD

    Wealth TV HDTV669 Wealth TV HDTV

    Travel Channel HD670 Travel Channel HD

    Sci-Fi HD680 Sci-Fi HD

    A&E HD681 A&E HD

    Bravo HD685 Bravo HD
    Bravo is the cable network that plugs people into arts, entertainment and pop culture with original programming, acclaimed off-network dramas, comedy and music specials, movies and by showing a whole different side of celebrities

    ABC Family HD699 ABC Family HD

    Palladia HD711 Palladia HD
    A music-television experience so vivid you'd swear you were there. Palladia: the state-of-the-art, high-definition channel that showcases the best in music, from today's biggest artists.

    Hallmark Movie Channel HD740 Hallmark Movie Channel HD

    The MGM Channel HD744 The MGM Channel HD

    HD Net Movies746 HD Net Movies

    Disney Channel HD780 Disney Channel HD

    Toon Disney HD781 Toon Disney HD

    Starz HDTV840 Starz HDTV
    Starz is where the new hit movies live. Don't just see the big movies, experience them.

    Starz Edge HD842 Starz Edge HD
    Starz Edge HD provides today's biggest, most popular movies.

    Starz Kids & Family HD845 Starz Kids & Family HD
    Starz Kids & family HD provides movies that appeal to the young and young at heart.

    Starz Comedy HD847 Starz Comedy HD
    Starz Comedy HD provides movies for all types of humor.

    Encore HD850 Encore HD
    Encore HD provides a great selection of movies you want to see and see again.

    Showtime HDTV865 Showtime HDTV

    Showtime HDTV West866 Showtime HDTV West

    Showtime Showcase HD867 Showtime Showcase HD
    HD simul-cast of Showtime Showcase

    Showtime Showcase HD West868 Showtime Showcase HD West
    HD simul-cast of Showtime Showcase West

    Showtime 2 HD869 Showtime 2 HD

    Showtime 2 HD West870 Showtime 2 HD West

    Showtime Extreme HD873 Showtime Extreme HD
    HD simul-cast of Showtime Three.

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    HD simul-cast of Showtime Extreme West


    The Movie Channel HD West886 The Movie Channel HD West

    The Movie Channel Xtra HD887 The Movie Channel Xtra HD
    HD simul-cast of The Movie Channel Xtra

    The Movie Channel Xtra HD West888 The Movie Channel Xtra HD West

    It’s an unparalleled viewing experience with a picture that is up to five times sharper than standard TV…It’s HBO HD. You can enjoy all the groundbreaking original HBO series and movies and top Hollywood hits presented in awe-inspiring detail.

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    HBO 2 HD902 HBO 2 HD
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    Cinemax HDTV920 Cinemax HDTV
    Cinemax HD: The best movie premieres and hit movies.

    Cinemax HD921 Cinemax HD
    Cinemax HD [West]: The best movie premieres and hit movies.

    More Max HD922 More Max HD
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    More Max HD923 More Max HD
    More Max HD [West]

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    Thriller Max HD927 Thriller Max HD
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    At Max HD929 At Max HD

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    OuterMax HD931 OuterMax HD
  6. Steve

    Steve Well-Known Member

    Aug 22, 2006
    RE: pricing. What FiosTV equipment do you have, and what packages do you subscribe to?

    I'm curious about what you are paying extra over the basic "triple play" price. If you can you report monthly $$$ for hardware, taxes, fees and any premium programming charges, this will allow us to compare apples to apples. I believe there are extra gov't phone fees and TV fees, and there are two tiers of triple-play, one for 10/2 internet and another for 20/5.

    Any breakdown you can provide will be extremely informative. TIA. /steve
  7. Reaper

    Reaper Godfather

    Jul 30, 2008
  8. Steve

    Steve Well-Known Member

    Aug 22, 2006
    I would think if you're getting your 20 mb download speed OK, the splice is probably nothing to worry about.

    Another test might be to select a free VOD title and then see if you can immediately FF through it, past what might be buffered. /steve
  9. Italia

    Italia Godfather

    Dec 8, 2008
    Is FIOS a satellite provider? Do they have international programming? Thanks!
  10. damjr

    damjr AllStar

    Mar 10, 2004
    Here's my question. I've been thinking about FIOS but haven't really got a strait answer on this.

    Right now we have 2 DirecTV Tivo receivers. The wife has hers and I have mine.
    We both record our own shows and there are many occasions where we could have 2 recording on mine and 1 on hers at the same time.

    From what I have seen we would need 2 DVR's and this cost is up there. Correct?
    Also I should add that if we do make the switch that we will need one of those DVR's to be HD and SD for the other. Everything that I have seen for this setup puts the monthly higher than what I'm paying right now even after doing a bundle.
  11. Stuart Sweet

    Stuart Sweet The Shadow Knows!

    Jun 18, 2006
    I'm no FiOS expert but I have been told they use a whole-home DVR concept which might work for you but I know some of our members record six or even eight things at the same time on multiple DVRs, so the small hard drive and single DVR might not suit them.

    I say, do what's best for you.
  12. jpl

    jpl Hall Of Fame

    Jul 9, 2006
  13. jpl

    jpl Hall Of Fame

    Jul 9, 2006
    I can give you some input. They don't have SD DVRs - they only have the HD version. The price for the stand-alone DVR is $16/month, each. They do have a multi-room version, which runs $20/month. This multi-room DVR can feed out multiple recordings at the same time to multiple TVs (can feed up to 7 TVs, including the one with the DVR), and up to 3 at one time (including the TV with the DVR).

    To get the multi-room feature to work, though, you need set top boxes on your other TVs. For example, I have the Multi-room (aka home media) DVR, plus a standard def set top box on a second tv. I can feed out SD recordings to that other TV.

    The multi-room feeds work amazingly well, despite some drawbacks, but with this set-up you'd be limited to recording 2 things at one time (DVR has dual tuners).

    You could also opt to go with Tivo, if you'd like. You wouldn't get VOD that way, and the up-front cost may be prohibitive, but it's an option if you would like to keep the same set-up you have now. If you'd like more info on FiOS, ping me. I've been an internet customer for 3 years, and a TV customer for over 18 months. Oh, and if you don't go for the TV service, I'd seriously consider getting their internet service. It's flat out amazing - fast as hell, totally consistent (no slow periods), and rock solid (I've had 1 outage in those 3 years), and there are no download caps. I have the 20/5 package, and whenever I run a speed test I get over 20 down, and 4.5 - 5 up.
  14. Reaper

    Reaper Godfather

    Jul 30, 2008
    Italia: I recommend searching for "FiOS" on Wikipedia for a description of the service and "FiOS TV" on Google for a description of the services. HTH.
  15. Reaper

    Reaper Godfather

    Jul 30, 2008
    I'm paying $99.99 for the first 90 days for the triple play, this includes 20/5 Internet and unlimited long distance phone calls. I have a single DVR and that's $15.99/month (I think). I'm receiving the Extreme HD package and premium movie channels for free for the first 90 days, after that it will be $30/month for the premiums and $10/month for the Extreme HD package. Here are the totals:

    For the first 90 days: $115.98
    Months 4-12: $155.98

    (I don't know what the taxes and fees are yet because I haven't received my first bill.)

    Prior to the switch I was paying $121.96/month for D* and $84.34 to Verizon for DSL and phone service, for a total of $206.30.
  16. Reaper

    Reaper Godfather

    Jul 30, 2008
    My understanding is that they have NHL Center Ice, MLB Extra Innings, and the NBA package but they only have a single HD feed for each.
  17. spartanstew

    spartanstew Dry as a bone

    Nov 16, 2005
    Wylie, Texas
    FIOS certainly has its benefits for some people. As I've stated before, FIOS has been available to me for 4 years. In my case, however, not only would it be more expensive (I have FIOS internet and Vonage), but the DVR limitations are too great (no discreet IR codes and lack of HD space being the big ones). My Vonage is $25, my FIOS internet is $30 and my Directv bill runs around $100.

    If you only use one DVR (and don't use it much) and like the convenience of one bill, FIOS is a very viable alternative.

    Oh, and I've compared PQ between FIOS and D* extensively and I don't see any difference between the two (using D* MPEG4) on HD.
  18. Steve

    Steve Well-Known Member

    Aug 22, 2006
    I'm in a similar boat, though I pay $40 a month for FiOS 10/2 internet! (How'd you get such a great deal, Stew?) I've got Vonage for $25/month, including taxes and fees (I pre-paid for a year). I now pay DirectTV about $100/month for 6 HD DVR's, one H21 and the protection plan (no premiums). I can easily knock off two rooms, so I should be really be paying about $90/month. But as Stew points out, Verizon gets pricey when you need several boxes.

    I agree about PQ. Verizon PQ is equal to D* OTA, so really the only difference is smoother trickplay, because it's MPEG-2 vs. MPEG-4. /steve
  19. Reaper

    Reaper Godfather

    Jul 30, 2008
    I don't know about that, I routinely see pixalation on D* HD, not so on FiOS. Also the picture on D* seems softer. To me FiOS has noticably better HD PQ.
  20. Steve

    Steve Well-Known Member

    Aug 22, 2006
    On MPEG-4 or OTA channels? If so, that'd be the first time I ever heard that. If you're talking about the DirecTV HD lite channels, that's another story. Those have all almost gone away. /steve

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