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#1 06-12-2007 12:51:53 AM

Frank
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From: Bucks, PA
Registered: 02-12-2005
Posts: 2881
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Frank Gets Verizon FiOS: First Impression - Hardware Edition

Having already posted my first impressions of the Verizon FiOS service, I will now move onto posting my first impressions of the Verizon FiOS hardware.  This will include impressions of the Guide software (which doesn't have a cutesy name like IGuide - they just call it IPG).

FiOS Remote Control - We were given three of the same remote controls (A customized Philips RC 144) to operate all of our Verizon FiOS boxes (2 Motorola QIP-2500s and 1 Motorola QIP-6416).  It is a 4 in 1 learning remote control.  It has DVR (and DVD) playback controls on the remote, even though the 2500s are not DVRs. 

The drawback of the current remote (which I understand is a newer version than was previously offered) is that some of the commands do not work with the current Guide software (namely: Page Up/Down Day +/-).  I find these functions key to navigating any Interactive Program Guide, so not having them there is a bummer.  It will, allegedly, be fixed with the release of the new IPG this summer.  Incidentally, Page Up / Down and Day +/- work just fine on the 6416 and 2500 when sent by my Harmony remote (still programmed to operate the 6412) and an old Comcast DVR remote I had laying around, but I could not teach these keys to the Verizon remote.  Weird.  So we wound up using 1 Verizon Remote upstairs, 1 Harmony Remote in the Living Room and 1 Comcast Remote in my den.  When the new IPG comes out and I can use Page and Day, I'll dump the Comcast remote.  The Verizon remote feels nicer in my hands.

Motorola QIP-6416 with IPG - The Motorola QIP-6416 is a dual-tuner High Definition DVR.  The basic guts of the QIP-6416 are the same as the DCT-6412 I had been familiar with under Comcast.  The Hard Drive is 40 Gb bigger, it's a little longer across and a little shorter in depth.  But other than that (and saying "Verizon" on the front instead of "Comcast") my entertainment center looks just like it did before the switch.  If you didn't like having to turn off the 6412 to activate digital Closed Captioning or to switch resolutions, you won't like it on the 6416 either.

The front USB port (labeled USB 2.0) seems to be powered a little different than the back (labeled USB).  When I plugged my laptop cooler into the front, the cooler pitched a fit.  When I plugged it into the back it hummed away like it always had.

The IPG is spare, but it is totally functional and workable.  The different look and fonts and spacing took a couple of days to get used to, but now I'm chugging along just like I had with IGuide.

I find this guide much more "flippable" operationally than IGuide software on a Comcast box.  You hit "Channel Up" and the channel appears almost immediately.  As someone who likes to flip channels, that's a plus.  This guide allows for searches by Title, Date and Time and Actor or Description, the latter being an addition to what was available through IGuide.  It also allows for basic "Category" searches like "Movies," "Sports," etc.

The guide allows for you to remove channels you do not receive or do not want to see listings for, and they will not appear as you page around in the guide or as you flip channels.  However, results from these channels still show up in Searches, which I find a little irritating.  You can also set up one list of "Favorite" channels.  Hitting the "Favorites" button brings up the miniguide for just those channels.

There is still a little "Current Channel / Recording" box that allows you to watch stuff while you're paging through the guide or the menu system.  That's a feature I really like.

30 second skip, as programmed into my Harmony remote and not changed since the 6412 left, works.  There appears to be a button for this on the Verizon remote, too (-->|), but I have not tried it.  There is no "Swap" functionality to swap tuners at this time at all, so there are no dual buffers and no going back and forth between the tuners watching two different shows.

Fast Forwarding and Rewinding does have a jump-back feature like the TiVo, but it's implemented a little weird.  You hit "play" and it starts playing for a split second THEN it jumps back a couple of seconds.  It's not the end of the world, but it is a little funny to watch.  It's better than having no jump-back.

The guide software automatically pads the beginning and end of recordings by a couple minutes when your recording schedule allows.  If it will create a conflict, it goes away automatically. That's handy for not missing the beginning or last few minutes of a show. 

We have not, admittedly, watched many recordings via the QIP-6416 at this time.  When we tried to watch our first one, we lost all OSD of the transport functions about halfway through for some reason. Exiting the current recording and going back into it brought them back, but that seemed like a Comcastic type of quirk.

I've raved about the picture quality elsewhere, and won't bore you with it again.

Motorola QIP-2500 - The Motorola QIP-2500 is a Standard Definition Set Top Box without DVR functionality.  You can, however, subscribe to Home Media functions that will allow you to view DVR'ed shows, listen to networked music and view networked photos on all the boxes in your house including the 2500.

There's not much to say about the 2500 that wasn't said about the 6416.  The only difference is the color (black) and the fact that if you hit a DVR control button on the remote, the box reminds you that this isn't a DVR.

CableCARDs - I made the last minute decision during my install to get two cableCARDs to operate my Series3 TiVo as a Verizon FiOS cable box / DVR.  Despite having heard horror stories about CableCARDs, installation of mine went smoothly. I suspect it is because I sat there with the TiVo-provided instruction sheet and went through step by step just like it said to do.  Operation has been good and, because the TiVo will output in native resolution and it is hooked up via the TiVo provided HDMI cable, it has become our "primary" DVR in use with the FiOS service.

Actiontec Router - Verizon insists on installing the Actiontec router (MI424-WR) when installing FiOS.  I didn't understand why until the installer explained it.  All OnDemand and PPV content comes through the router (your STB connects to the router to request the show), and they want to have a standard piece of equipment to support.  I'm not a fan of change, so I was resistant.

I shouldn't have been worried or complaining.  First, the router replaces the functionality of BOTH my old cable modem and old router.  That's one less piece of equipment cluttering my counter.  Second, the Coax cable goes directly into the router providing connectivity to the outside world.  That's one less wire running underneath my house and up through the floor.  Third, this thing shoots out significantly more WiFi power than my old LinkSys WRT54G ever did.  My laptop used to be confined to half the house, now it works everywhere (and outside).

The user interface of the MI424-WR is intuitive and has all the functions you would expect of a router.  Most folks will never go in and play with that, but tweak happy folks like me have plenty to poke around with in there.  I see you can unscrew the current antenna that's on it and put a bigger, better one one there if you're into that kind of thing.

It is my understanding (from my installer) that I may be among the first to get this specific Actiontec router (in my area at least). I do not know that the older one is any good (or maybe it was better). I just know the one I have.

I think that covers it.  As always, questions, comments and discussions are encouraged.

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#2 06-13-2007 11:55:43 PM

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

A couple more notes on the QIP-6416 DVR with Verizon's IPG:

1. The more I use the box as a cable box and to set up DVR recordings, the more I like the box.  The more I use the box for DVR playback, the less I like the box.  The playback software is quirky and slow to respond to commands (OnDemand feels faster to me).  Plus, when you're playing a recording, "PLA" stays in the display (instead of the time). Apparently, we'll all have the new software by October and it's great.  Can't come soon enough, unless it ruins the cable box functions without improving the playback functions.  QIP-6416 - firmly in "backup" status to the Series3 TiVo.

2. If you ever have jittery HD video (dropped frames) on a Motorola DVR, Turn the box off - hit menu - switch output resolutions (let it go all wacky) - switch it back - turn it back on.  I'd heard of this problem on the 6412, but never had it until after last night's power outage around here when it showed up on the 6416.  Tried everything else (including "Hard Reset"), but only this worked.

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#3 11-06-2007 7:54:05 AM

dgoodmn
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Registered: 11-06-2007
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Re: Frank Gets Verizon FiOS: First Impression - Hardware Edition

Frank - You mentioned closed captioning on the 6416 ("If you didn't like having to turn off the 6412 to activate digital Closed Captioning or to switch resolutions, you won't like it on the 6416 either.") I tried to Enable Closed Captioning on the 6416 via the menu/settings/accessibility option, but it failed to work. Do you have a step-by-step suggestion on how to activate it, possibky involving turning the STB off?

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#4 11-06-2007 8:02:31 AM

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

I actually have never enabled Closed Captioning on either my old 6412 with Comcast or my 6416 with Verizon, so I cannot say first hand that this works, but it should.  Because you posted in this area, I'm assuming you're on Verizon FiOS.

If you have the old Interactive Programming Guide (or, actually, if you're on Comcast), with the DVR and TV on you hit "Power" and then "Menu" on the DVR to get to the menu where you can turn on Closed Captioning.

If you have the new Interactive Media Guide (IMG), with the DVR and TV on you hit "Power" and then "Menu" twice to get to the DVR menu where you can turn on Closed Captioning.

The various menu settings and what they do are described in Motorola's user guide for the 6412 hardware.

Let us know how it goes.

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#5 11-06-2007 4:34:20 PM

andyross
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From: Schaumburg, IL
Registered: 02-14-2005
Posts: 597
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Re: Frank Gets Verizon FiOS: First Impression - Hardware Edition

With the Comcast stuff, CC from the box only displays it's own CC on non-480i material. If it's outputting 480i, it will not display CC. You'll need to use your TV to decode that.


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