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#1 06-10-2007 12:33:12 PM

Frank
DVR Chatter Honcho
From: Bucks, PA
Registered: 02-12-2005
Posts: 2881
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Frank Gets Verizon FiOS: The Decision

I have been dissatisfied with my Comcast Digital Cable and Internet services for at least the past two years, but with no viable alternative that could provide Internet, Digital Quality picture, a DVR and High Definition programming at an affordable and reasonable price, I felt stuck.  This post is about me, my past services and expectations, and my journey towards the ultimate decision to dump Comcast for Verizon FiOS.

First a little background of my history of Television and Internet services going back in time.  This will be long.

I always wanted DirecTV, going back to when the receivers were $700.  My first apartment was serviced by Suburban Cable here in Lower Bucks PA.  After a while, they installed a group DirecTV type of service in the complex, and I was blown away by the picture quality.  When I decided to buy a house about a year later, I knew I was going to get DirecTV.  I did, and installed it myself on my roof on what must have been the hottest day of 1998. Back then, you had to subscribe to two services for Basic and Premium channels (DirecTV and USSB) It was worth the heat stroke. Picture and sound quality were pretty mind blowing, and I had none of the rain fade and other problems that I'd read were "common" with DirecTV.  I subscribed to the East (NY) /West (LA) coast feeds of the network channels.

In mid-1999, DirecTV was forced to stop offering CBS and FOX national feeds, and it looked like NBC and ABC were going that way too. Since most of what I watch is network TV, I was freaking out.  Those were the only network feeds offered by DirecTV.  I tried OTA for a day, but it was not acceptable.  I decided to have basic cable installed through Suburban Cable, which happened on 6/26/1999.  A few months later, Suburban started offering cable modem Internet services (@Home service).  I was the first to sign up in my neighborhood.  Comcast purchased Suburban Cable near the end of 1999.

As DirecTV started adding local channels for more and more markets, I noticed the picture quality degrading.  It was a slow slide, but it was very noticeable when people's faces started swimming around on the front of their heads.  They were compressing the signal to the point that it was becoming unwatchable.  I got my first TiVo in April of 2001.  Running the signal through the TiVo made it that much worse.  I noticed that cable through the TiVo, in some instances, looked better. Soon after, I decided to dump DirecTV all together and subscribe to "digital cable."  Kept all the satellite equipment in place "just in case."

That lasted all of about three months, until August. I was surprised to learn that "digital cable" was not digital on the channels you ever wanted to watch (except the premium channels).  Outages were frequent. Picture was terrible on the channels I most watched. TiVo had a hard time with the STB. Switched back to DirecTV.  Kept Comcast basic and Internet. Got an HDTV in November 2001.

I wanted HDTV programming.  I bought an OTA HDTV tuner card in 2003 and rigged up a computer to feed it to the TV.  OTA was not reliable in my old area, especially with the indoor antennas I tried (and I tried them all). When it worked, I was blown away by HD, but it didn't work enough. Abandoned the idea and sold the card.

"I want HDTV" stuck in my head like a mantra.  By fall 2004, I had to have it. Called Comcast and got digital cable (again) with the DCT-6412 HD DVR.   Dropped DirecTV, which by that point looked like YouTube to my eye.   Found the AVS Forum DCT-6412 thread.  Comcast signal and service reliability problems started almost immediately.  Video and Internet were unreliable, but I kept with Comcast because I couldn't go back to non-HD. 

Started this site in 2/2005.  Still had many problems with my Comcast service. Comcast Customer Service, with few exceptions, was rude, ignorant and uninformed at every turn. At one point, I had to fax the President's office at Comcast Corporate headquarters to even get someone to look at a three day total service outage in a timely manner.

Changed houses in 5/2005, but kept my original DCT-6412.  Service was no better (or marginally better) out here as compared to where I was.

FiOS Internet became available in April 2006 out here.  I called and got the low down, but my alarm company was not sure whether the alarm would work with a fiber optic telephone line (I must have been among the first to ask) and I got cold feet and did not switch.

I heard that FiOS TV would be available here soon after.  At that point, they were not going to be able to carry Comcast Sportsnet, which meant no Phillies games.  That was a deal breaker.  That issue went away by the end of 2006..  FiOS TV became available here in 2/2007.

Still, I was not sufficiently motivated to totally uproot all of my services and make the switch until Comcast decided they were going to make me pay more for the NFL Network.  That was the proverbial straw. At that point, I started a real heart-to-heart with myself and began really comparing what I'd gain and what I'd lose.  That leads right into the Comcast Versus Verizon FiOS Channel Comparison: Lower Bucks County PA thread, which tracks my exact mental process and each decision.

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