A few days with FiOS TV

Those who know me know that I am not a fan of Time Warner Cable, so when Verizon started offering FiOS TV in my area, I quickly signed up.

This may sound odd, especially considering I’ve blogged quite a bit about Verizon in the past, and didn’t always have flattering things to say. Still, Verizon is orders of magnitude better than Time Warner, and over the past few years their customer service has typically been very good.

So, how has my experience been so far? Quite good!

Installation and Equipment

I had an installation appointment scheduled between 8AM and 12PM. At about 8:30AM, the Verizon technician called me and told me he’d be arriving in about 15 minutes. (A nice touch.) On arrival, he introduced himself; his name was Basil, and I offered him some fresh basil from my garden. But I digress…

Total installation time was about three hours. In this time, the tech helped me disconnect my old cable boxes (being a tech guy, of course I was right in the middle of things), and tested my existing cable lines to make sure they were up to their new task (they were, avoiding the need to run new lines). He had to do some work to run a coax cable between my FiOS Internet router and my new FiOS TV switch (fortunately they were only about 20 feet apart) — apparently, all on-demand and interactive guides run through your Internet connection.

By the time things were done, I had one new HD set-top box, one HD/DVR set-top box (free DVR for one year), two HDMI cables (free!), and two remotes programmed to use all my devices (the tech did this for me). The first channel that came up when we turned on the box was, ironically, Noggin, which pleased my daughter to no extent.

Note that the FiOS set-top boxes have more ports than you can count. Aside from the typical RCA, component video, and HDMI ports are USB and Firewire ports. Not sure how they can all be used, but that’s a lot of potential.

The FiOS TV Experience

After my daughter went to bed, I went downstairs to play. Many things are worth mentioning.

  • Television channels are organized in a very logical method. For example, all news channels (CNN, Fox News, etc.) are within a certain range; all science/history channels (Discovery, History Channel, etc.) are within a certain range; and so forth. So much better than the disorganized confusion of Time Warner.
  • Want an HD version of channel 2? Go to 502. HD version of 120? Go to 620. Just add 500 to a channel and you’ll get the HD version of that channel (if available).
  • HD quality is outstanding — though this may be because I didn’t have HD service with Time Warner. Why? Because they charged more for it, and Verizon is giving it away with basic service.
  • Speaking of things I didn’t have with Time Warner that I have now: the YES Network (I can now watch Yankees games), the Military Channel, PBS Sprout (to my daughter’s delight), and I’m sure plenty more. Finding channels that I want for the same basic service price was quite a treat.

I can’t comment on the DVR, because I just set it up to program some shows last night, and haven’t seen the results yet.

What were the negatives?

  • The remote control doesn’t have lighting behind all the buttons (only some), making it hard to push buttons with the lights off. The flip side is that the remote is very similar to Time Warner’s, so the learning curve is short.
  • The on-screen guide is not as slick and easy-to-use as Time Warner’s.
  • The “Favorite Channels” button on the remote doesn’t cycle through your favorite channels. Instead, it gives you a menu, where you have to navigate through and choose the favorite channel you want to watch. I much preferred the one-push button.

Is it worth it?

Overall, I highly recommend FiOS TV. The installation was painless, the service is great, and the price can’t be beat when bundled. (I’ve got home telephone, Internet, and television service for about $100 a month.)

If you need to expedite your FiOS TV order and you’re in the NYC area, contact me — my brother works for Verizon and can get your raised to a priority level. (Membership has its privileges.)

5 thoughts on “A few days with FiOS TV”

  • If only I could get FIOS here. They started install FIOS in NH a few years back, then quickly stopped and sold the Northern New England network to some no name rural carrier.

    I rate the odds of getting any fiber connection in NH in the next 10 years to be next to nil.

    So I must suffer with Comcast. It is Comcastic!

  • Got FIOS when I moved here few months back…The picture is great, but I’ve had my share of issues with the equipment. I’ve had three boxes replaced so far and another on the fritz, plus they had to come out and replace the main junction box on my house.

    They made me wait at home 5 hours for their tech to arrive….and he never did, until 3 hours after that when I wasn’t at home and then proceeded to fix the box with out me being there…so why exactly did I have to wait for him!

    …and I can’t get MSNBC because of a Cablevision exclusivity deal…

    Other than that, FIOS is great! Though I still think DTV is a better product…just can’t get a phone/internet/TV bundle….

  • Update, I mentioned above about another FIOS box on the fritz….it’s still on the fritz, but another one failed last night….gotta love it!

  • it’s far more than the equipment at this point… true the signal is good, but if you value your personal time and how you are treated by fios customer service, get rid of their set top boxes (particularly the dvr). I have been without service for 3 days, still don’t have service with more promises to show up again today with a new dvr. i have been lied to and left potentially without service for at least a week. when my interactive menu failed they thought shipping me another box sometime up to a week later was the solution. when i complained they set up an appointment, confirmed it, didn’t show, and then claimed there never was one.

    fortunately it’s a free market. it is sunday morning and here i waste yet another weekend day without service and waiting on them… until abe’s of maine opens in edison nj. then it’s tivo time… yes virginia, they have come out with an affordable tivo hd dvr for $250, which thankfully frees from the ‘tude’ and lies that have been non stop since last thursday (three days and counting) when the fios box woke me out of a sound sleep at 2 am turning on and off on and off on and off

  • After hearing all the horror stories stemming from Comcast’s lack of professional service, we finally decided to upgrade and went with Verizon. So far things have been great, the equipment still working fine. Hopefully it lasts.

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