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#1 06-11-2007 12:28:57 AM

Frank
DVR Chatter Honcho
From: Bucks, PA
Registered: 02-12-2005
Posts: 2881
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Frank Gets Verizon FiOS: First Impression - Service Edition

I'm going to post my first impressions (one week in) of the FiOS *service* here, and my first impressions of the FiOS *hardware* in the other area.  Divorcing the two is going to be a little difficult, but they really are two different animals and doing so will also help in pointing out which types of issues and posts should go into each area.

For the most part, my impressions of the service are going to be in comparison to Comcast, as Comcast is the service I've been living with for the past too many years.  Another thing to keep in mind is that going to Verizon feels like a "choice" to me, while having Comcast always felt like something that was dictated to me.  That's going to shade my impressions.

Internet - the Internet (15 down / 2 up) is blazing, and well worth the extra few bucks I spent to upgrade from the basic 5/2 service. In my mind, 5/2 would have been a step down from what I'd had through Comcast, but it practice my last speed test at www.speakeasy.net showed my actual Comcast speed as 1031/719.  I've done two speed tests since upgrading to FiOS Internet.  The first showed 14567/1843 and the second showed 15148/1839.  It makes me feel a lot better that I'm paying for a service and actually getting the advertised service.

The other issue is uptime.  A week is hardly a significant data set, but according to a little program I have that uses my Internet connection at set intervals, I have had NO downtime on FiOS whatsoever.  I can't remember a day on Comcast where I didn't review the log and see some glitch.  Granted, many were 2 minutes or 5 minutes at a time.  But if those 2 minutes are when you're trying to buy a movie ticket on the way out the door to see the movie or are the last two minutes of an EBay auction you're trying to win, 2 minutes are significant.  For my past week with FiOS, "always on" has really meant always on.

Standard Def Video - Seeing true digital SD pictures points out what a joke Comcast's in-house digitizing of analog channels really was.  Sure, it's better than the analog signals we used to get through the 6412 DVR before digital simulcasting, but it is nothing like the true digital sourcing used by FiOS.  Every FiOS SD "basic cable" channel is eye popping on every TV I have.  They are crystal clear, sharp and color accurate.  Like I said before, BETTER than DirecTV in their PQ Heyday.

The channels on Comcast's "digital tier" through a DCT-6412 are even slightly better through FiOS and their QIP-6416.  Less compression, less artifacting.  The difference there (the "VH1 Classic" type channels) is not as earth shattering, but it is there.

Hands down, FiOS wins the SD battle.  More channels, better looking channels.

On Demand - To each his own for OnDemand.  This is one area where, depending on your usage and needs, Verizon FiOS could very well fall flat in your eyes.  There is no such thing as "Free Movies On Demand...Like Having a Theater at Your Command" on FiOS at this time.  No Encore movies (Encore is a Premium Service on FiOS), no FearNet, etc. You do, of course, get the movies uploaded by whatever premium services you subscribe to at no additional cost.

If you are constantly poking around Comcast's OnDemand watching the free movies there, FiOS will be a disappointment in your eyes.  In fact, I believe there are thousands less programming choices via FiOS OnDemand than there are via Comcast.

On the plus side for FiOS, OnDemand looks tons better PQ wise on FiOS than it does on Comcast, and the transport functions are more responsive than through Comcast.  We're in a weird situation, because we started rewatching Season One of Big Love via Comcast OnDemand last weekend and finished on FiOS this weekend, so I can compare apples to apples.  PQ is comparable to watching live on HBO.

We used to goof around and go into the Karaoke section of OnDemand every once in a while.  That's a pay service on FiOS.  No big loss.

Moral of the story, if you are a big OnDemand user at Comcast, you will likely not be happy with Verizon's On Demand offerings at this time.

High Definition - Verizon offers more National HD channels, and more that I find interesting.  HDNet is vastly superior (in my opinion) to Mojo or whatever InHD is called now.  If I tuned into InHD to find The Who at the Isle of Wight one more time, I would have puked.  They have everything Comcast has, and then they have some more. It is true HD, full bitrate (unlike DirecTV).

HD picture quality (comparing the DCT-6412 Component cabling set to 1080i to the QIP-6416 Component cabling 1080i) is pretty similar.  I see a marked improvement all around when viewing FiOS HD through a Series3 TiVo via HDMI in native resolution.  I A/B'd OTA local HD with FiOS local HD through the TiVo, and they were dead on the same in every respect.  I did not have this opportunity with Comcast.

Verdict: FiOS has more HD offerings.  Picture quality the same or similar on both.  Use HDMI when you can.  Motorola boxes converting everything to 1080i takes something away from the picture.

Music Channels - FiOS currently offers all the same Music Choice channels as Comcast.  Word is, we'll be getting URGE music channels IN ADDITION to Music Choice.  They've shown up in my TiVo guide, but they're not active.  The "In Addition" is my assumption based on the fact that they start (number wise) where the Music Choice channels end.

Customer Service - I have not spoken or dealt with one FiOS employee who has not given me the impression that they were willing to go out of their way to make sure I was satisfied.  I have never had that experience with Comcast.  Quite the opposite.

I think that covers it.  If there's any service aspect I missed, or if this sparks some questions or discussions, feel free to post.

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#2 06-12-2007 5:20:18 PM

loub555
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From: Savannah, Ga.
Registered: 12-09-2005
Posts: 122
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Re: Frank Gets Verizon FiOS: First Impression - Service Edition

Thanks for all the great Fios info. If they ever offer it here, I'm going to definately switch.

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#3 06-14-2007 12:10:04 AM

Frank
DVR Chatter Honcho
From: Bucks, PA
Registered: 02-12-2005
Posts: 2881
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Re: Frank Gets Verizon FiOS: First Impression - Service Edition

Have to rave a bit about Verizon Customer Service:

So last night we had a big line of storms, knocking power out for a couple hours.  When the power came back up, I noticed that a HD channel (6ABC) was out.  I decided to call customer service.

Here's a switch from what I have been used to: The representative instantly KNEW WHAT I WAS TALKING ABOUT, admitted the problem, and POINTED OUT TWO OTHER CHANNELS (the subchannels to that station) that were also out.  He also gave an approximated time it would be resolved.

The kicker: It wasn't Verizon's fault - the digital station was actually dead in the water after a lightning strike.  The rep had to have known this, but did not point out my mistake in assuming it was a Verizon issue.  He apologized for the issue, gave me all the information he had, and we ended the call.

Breath of fresh air.

I'm sure I'll encounter a cocky, semi-literate Verizon rep at some time or another like I'm used to with Comcast. Happy it hasn't happened yet, though.

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#4 08-30-2007 12:47:10 PM

Bob Walters
New member
Registered: 08-30-2007
Posts: 3
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Re: Frank Gets Verizon FiOS: First Impression - Service Edition

Folks,
I about to move from the SA 8300HD box to Motorola 6416....cablevision to FIOS.   My TV has a native resolution of 720p....that's what I want to keep.   I'm told that the 6416 can not change resolutions???  That might be the "breaker"!!!!!!  Is this true??????

Last edited by Bob Walters (08-30-2007 12:48:47 PM)

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#5 08-30-2007 12:51:44 PM

Frank
DVR Chatter Honcho
From: Bucks, PA
Registered: 02-12-2005
Posts: 2881
PM  Website

Re: Frank Gets Verizon FiOS: First Impression - Service Edition

Hi, and welcome!

I have a 6416.  The 6416 can be set to output HD at EITHER 1080i OR 720p.  The one thing is cannot do is output HD at native resolution.  If you set it to 720p, all HD will be scaled to 720p.

You can set 480i (Standard Def) content to output upconverted to your chosen HD resolution (no stretching) or at 480i (stretched or left alone).

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#6 09-04-2007 12:21:46 PM

Bob Walters
New member
Registered: 08-30-2007
Posts: 3
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Re: Frank Gets Verizon FiOS: First Impression - Service Edition

Thanks Frank.....it looks like the switch WILL take place 9-29-07!!!!!

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