Verizon FiOS TV Getting Media Extender Capabilities (and more!)

Dave Zatz —  October 14, 2007 — 83 Comments

I journeyed up to Verizon’s New Jersey headquarters last week for a highly informative briefing by the guys defining FiOS TV product requirements and managing the engineering personnel. In addition to demo-ing the maintenance release due this quarter and having customer questions/concerns addressed, I’m the first person outside of Verizon to check out some compelling features they’ve got in the pipeline. It’ll take me at least two posts to cover all the info and, since the media extender functionality has got me all fired up, we’ll start there. The features below are pretty far along in development and slated to hit FiOS TV boxes in Q1 or Q2 of next year.

FiOS TV as Media Extender

Verizon’s FiOS TV Interactive Media Guide (IMG) currently offers rudimentary photo and music PC sharing capabilities. However, with upcoming releases, music and photo navigation will be enhanced (folders, playlists) AND the ability to stream video from “Media Manager” will be added. All sorts of file formats (AVI, MPEG4, DiVx, Flash, etc) will be transcoded on the fly. Currently, the transcoding is resolution-independent… Meaning you can throw any size video at it and, while the video will stream PC->DVR as MPEG2, the resolution won’t be touched. Thinking about all the HD video available via BitTorrent, I can see Verizon choosing to throttle back resolutions during the development process in order to keep transfers efficient.

Mobile and Web DVR scheduling

During my previous visit to Verizon, I checked out an early build of the mobile DVR scheduling software. This time around, I saw a fully operational and beefed up handset client. Not only can you browse your custom guide and schedule recordings instantaneously, you can also delete recordings and adjust parental controls (per channel even) on the fly. Given the cramped keypads of most (non-smart) phones, Verizon will allow you to search by voice! Similar functionality (other than voice search) will also be provided via a rich web interface.

DVR Gaming

A variety of casual and more involved games are also coming to FiOS TV. The simpler ones will reside on the box, while the video based “pay per day” and subscription games (powered by SnapTV) will stream some elements like VOD. The DVR will never replace your Wii or Xbox and this doesn’t particularly interest me. I’ll be curious to learn if they find a (paying) audience for this feature. If nothing else, “games” are nice line item when folks make the inevitable cable company set-top box comparison.

Set-Top Boxes Get Social

Can’t figure out what to watch? Look to your neighbors for help. “What’s Hot” displays what other folks in your region (think: state) are viewing. The real-time results (sampled every three minutes) are based on anonymous data.

Questions?

While I didn’t even cover the additional guide views, tuner swapping via remote, or other small enhancements… these are the biggies on tap for the first half next year. I’ve got more info tucked away in my notes and in my head, so feel free to hit me with questions. If I don’t know the answers, I’ll compile the queries for Verizon – they appear quite motivated in reaching out to current and potential customers. Speaking of which, let’s reserve comments on this post to these new features since there’ll be another post (in the next day or so) covering concerns with the current build and the Q4 maintenance release.

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83 responses to Verizon FiOS TV Getting Media Extender Capabilities (and more!)

  1. i really wish they would ramp up the rollout in new england…the ads are driving me crazy, i just want my fios!

    interesting note, i’m taking a computer and network security grad course. the professor is a retired Verizon employee who was one of their lead networking advisers. he was talking about the fios backbone, very interesting stuff

  2. I just want a DVR that does a good job of being a DVR! Anxiously awaiting details of the fixes.

  3. Sporky, in case I don’t get to it tomorrow… let me give you a heads up that the “top 100″ issues have been addressed with the Q4 roll-out. In fact, several from your list have been resolved (and they tell me we can look up the color coding on the web). I hope to post tomorrow, Tuesday at the latest.

  4. Interesting. I’m not sure if resolving “several” from that list (which continues to grow BTW) will be enough to keep me from going back to DirecTiVo. I’m willing to wait and see how they did though. Fingers crossed!

    Thanks.

  5. I said “several” because we only had time to skim your extensive list. But from some of the things I itemize, you’ll have a better idea and will be able to make an educated decision. Also, you should have the software in your hands next month or December at the latest and can evaluate for yourself. By the way, they monitor DSL Reports and have seen your list before – they’re definitely listening to the feedback.

  6. What about searching a single channel per page, seeing 12 or more hours of programming at a time as TV Guide Interactive does with their channel search? Lynda.

  7. Looks like some good ideas. Might actually entice me to stay with them, as I have been seriously thinking of leaving since the horrible IMG “upgrade”.
    Question – will extender support Mac? Everyone I know is buying new imac and would love to see support there!

  8. I just Fios over the summer and one thing I miss was the page down/page up buttons that Comcast had. Other than that, can’t wait to stream all my .avi movies through the new IMG. One question: this mobile DVD scheduling, does it only work with Verizon phones? Do we go through a URl and just log in? Hope to read more later. Thanks!

    Rob

  9. Any idea if the remote scheduling will be a Verizon-Wireless-only feature or if we AT&T and Sprint customers will be able to use it?

  10. I assume the remote scheduling application will only be available on select Verizon phones. However, I wonder if they’ll make a WAP or other lite version of the web scheduling interface for others? I’ll add that to my list of follow-up questions.

  11. Vaporware at its best. I have had FiOS for over 6 months without one new HD channel added, while the competition is adding them all over the place.

    The new guide has been promised and delayed for so long its a joke. The DVR sucks completely. Who cares about a media manager that ONLY works on Windows?

    The service is glitchy and nothing special. If by the end of my contract, they have not greatly improved and added some decent HD channels, I will switch!

  12. “By the way, they monitor DSL Reports and have seen your list before – they’re definitely listening to the feedback.”

    If this is really true then they could score huge points with the community by having a rep post back to us. I don’t expect hard dates or inside info but on certain threads it would be nice for them to acknowledge the issues and tell us they are working on it.

    People are so much more understanding when they are not left in the dark.

  13. @ Fred: I agree, vaporware. I joined FIOS in June, sold on the new interface. I called and they said Summer. In August they said ‘late August.’ I got a brochure in the mail about it about a month ago, which got me all excited again… but still nothing. And no new HD channels (Verizon, if you’re listening, please add HD FX and Bravo!)

  14. Will Fios use power over fiber and Enablence silicon?

  15. @ajay: You get page up/down in the IMG by using the channel up/down buttons.

  16. In the UK the best we get is Sky…which is not so bad I guess. This sure looks great though.

  17. I almost got Fios, until I looked up some info and discovered:
    A) it aint TiVo.
    B) the remote control looks horrendous.

    Great concept, crappy equipment, lack of HD content.

    NO THANKS!

  18. Please enable the frickin SATA ports for external storage!!!!!!!!!!!!

  19. Here is a list of the HD channel lineup. IF you have Fios, do you get all of these channels?
    Locals?

    HDTV Broadcast** Channel
    Consult your local channel lineup 801-809
    HDTV National** Channel
    TNT HD 825
    ESPN HD 826
    ESPN 2 HD 827
    NFL Network HD 828
    HD Net 833
    HD Net Movies 834
    Universal HD 835
    Discovery HD 836
    Wealth TV HD 837
    National Geographic Channel HD 838
    MHD 839
    Food Network HD 840
    HGTV HD 841
    Lifetime Movie Network HD 845
    HDTV Premium ** Channel
    HBO HDTV 851
    Cinemax HDTV 852
    Showtime HDTV 853
    TMC HDTV 854
    Starz HDTV

    WealthTV HD? WTF?

    Better than DirecTv. they only have 5 HD channels(unless you get their crappy DVR..again no thanks.. it ain’t TiVo)

  20. All our TV’s in our house are HD. Why can’t they make the media center DVR stream HD to the other boxes? We rarely DVR anything in SD. Also, as pointed out PLEASE enable the SATA port so we can add storage space!!

  21. When is Verizon adding more HD channels, ie Sci Fi, FX, TBS, etc??

  22. Regarding more HD channels, my buddy Ben D (EngadgetHD) is in touch with Verizon on this topic. I’ll be sure to report his findings when he posts them.

  23. When you mention Media Extender, does that include Microsofts concept of a Media Extender? I would really like there to be one extender technology. With multiple technologies, things are guarenteed to not work well togeather.

  24. I’ve had FIOS TV and Internet for more than a year and love it. Remote control design is the least important thing to me. Since everything comes with a universal remote, I use whichever remote control is closest…. The last software upgrade improved the DVR and quite a few other features, but made a few buttons on my remote do nothing. I hope they add more HD soon. I don’t have a movie package, but I like the channels they have now including my locals in HD.

  25. When will HD content on demand be available via FiOS?

  26. PlanoTexasDishUser October 17, 2007 at 2:22 pm

    I will switch when:
    1. HD recorded programs down-converted to be viewed on a remote SD TV.
    2. Remote box scheduling of programs.
    3. Remote box pause live TV.
    4. More than 2 boxes view recorded programs at same time.

  27. Hey Dave,
    Where is your second post you promised your readers concerning the current build & Q4 maintenance release?

  28. To Frank – I imagine the reason they cant stream HD content to a HD box from the DVR is the bandwidth required to do so over coax.

    Imagine if 2 HD boxes were getting content from one DVR in HD and that DVR was also viewing a HD show the bandwidth becomes mind boggling.

    Also I believe the cost if you have an HD box and DVR the diff is only $2-3 I beleive to get the dvr maybe they want the upsell?

  29. TBS HD is slated to be released in q1 of 2008. Adding channels is not an easy thing to do. Having worked for a cable company. They have to get contracts and licensing to offer channels and it is a long negotiation progress. I have talked to some reps and the current guide has been postponed due to technical reasons and will continue shortly which the maintanace update is supposed to be released in or around december.

  30. I AM a tech at fios. We get challenged with trivial questions regarding minute features all the time. Be careful sirs. As you look for advancements in technology daily, we spend our days instructing customers to please leave their Televison set on channel 3, and introducing the concept of a “Set Top Box” into their lives. We also deal with “What channel is the Diamondbacks game on tonight?” Fios is by far an industry leader, and should not be under-estimated….

  31. Do you know if Verizon will be able to offer the MLB Extra Innings package next year?

  32. I despise the new Guide for Verizon Fios TV — small font, no way to set reminders for later shows with the Info button, much less user friendly. Strange they went to such a small, tight layout in a market with so many old eyes!

  33. h smith, in case you missed my other post – the update scheduled to roll out shortly includes a larger font providing more contrast in show descriptions.

  34. @ Sarah – And on the other side of that coin, I’m still waiting for the upgrade they told me would be coming in “Late August!”

  35. Steve- Be careful what you wish for, I just got the “upgrade”, and I detst it!

  36. The new 2.o IMG from Verizon is horrible. It is the Buggiest piece of software I’ve ever had the displeasure of using. Whoever tested this code before rolling it out is an idiot, and should be fired. I’m not kidding. Oh, and it killed my DVR. I lost everything, and my wife hates somehow blames me.

    John
    Tampa, FL

  37. I hope they come out with an option to choose between the 2, soon….
    I don’t see why they couldn’t have just spruced up the old one a bit.

  38. As has been said by hundreds on here, this new upgrade is just the worst in the world and is not not tolerble any longer.

    I guess it’s just too much to ask for a user friendly guide.

    Personally, I will be opting for another provider. Who is the best, Bright House or a sat dish?

  39. I obviously support an open commenting system, but copied and pasted comments on multiple posts will be removed – other than the first one or the most relevant location.

    I also encourage you to stay on topic. This post is specific to new features coming next year. If you’d like to offer feedback on the current software, I suggest you visit the original IMG post, the request for input or the Q4 tune up.

  40. New program guide navigation is very awkward. DVR functions for VOD programs on remote control no longer work. Where is set-reminder for program time-shift recording? I wonder if new program guide interface was tested for usability? I’ve never seen anything quite like it except on some old Unix X-Windows interfaces long ago with lots of nested submenus.

  41. Suggestion for new FIOS on-screen guide. Provide links to DirectTV, Dish, etc. for customers like me that are fed up with paying high $$$ for a system that crashes, that’s not user friendly, and software that clearly was not tested prior to deployment. I think I’ll try rabbit ears. I can’t recall ever having a system crash/lookup with them!!!

  42. From what I leared from a FIOS tech. That they knew this guide was trash but they had to have it out by the 15th of November. Verizon has plans in place to allow caller ID on the TV screen and also for one to be able to buy items from QVC/HSN etc with the remote. Personally those are two improvements I can do without. Here is a novel idea……allow me to easily delete a recorded show!

  43. Michael A. Williamson November 24, 2007 at 5:09 pm

    I have the new interface and share the dislike with many postings. I have a HD-DVR and have lost 25% of my recording capability. I can now only get 14-15 hours of HD programing on the HD-DVR. Tech support said it wass a known problem and will be fixed in a few days. That was three weeks ago. Thinking about returing to Dish or Direct TV.

  44. Yes, It’s true. there are a variety of “known issues” with the new IMG. HD-DVR capacity has been reduced to 15 hours, bottom line. We are rolling out a package called “Tiger Lilly” that will have every issue resolved during first quarter of 08. This will even allow reminders again on standard boxes, as well as resolving all of the quirks with the DVR boxes. You guys should try Customer Service for some sort of compensation for the time being (didnt hear that from me)….

  45. I have been a FiosTV customer for a year. The new interactive guide is TERRIBLE. It’s difficult to navigate and unintuitive. Example: when you are done with a program, it does not return you to that program so you can delete it, it takes you to the folder of episodes for whichever show was at the top of your DVR list.

    It has also missed half of our shows that we have season passes for (which are set up, verified, and prioritized in the season pass manager with NO conflicts). We are cancelling Fios this week and will be looking elsewhere.

  46. I bashed the new program guide in a previous comment and I was wrong. After using it for while, I think it is really good considering the amount of data that has to be navigated with a few remote control buttons. Hey! Where is my airmouse? The delay is frustrating but it is two-way, so we have to wait and see if they bump up the upstream data speeds from the box to the On Demand server. I found where the control buttons for virtual DVR were for VOD after they moved them with the new code, so it was me and not the software. I still can’t seem to find a way to time-shift recordings with removable media or personal DVR…bummer. That isn’t very nice.

  47. Maybe this has been covered elsewhere and I apologize if it has. Does the FIOS remote have a button that permits you to skip ahead on the tv guide by days like Comcast has, rather than rolling through each hour going forward? Also, are there any plans to replace the currently large set top box with a smaller box, again like Comcast has? Thanks.

  48. Use the FF key to skp days, CH key for pging in the guide. Tiger Lilly has deployed and all issues w/IMG, DVRS&MR DVR have been resolved.

  49. Still no IMG or “Tiger Lilly” for me. The Fios DVR is so badly programmed it’s a joke. You can’t even pause recorded content for more than 15 minutes without the thing reverting to live programming. I can’t delete multiple recordings at a time like I could with my Sony SATw60 from 1997. Every press of the skip ahead button results in a 1 to 1.5 second delay before the box does anything. I think this might be due to MOtorola buying some wholesale surplus 3Mhz 8080 chips to run these things on. I’ve been a Verizon Fanboy for a long time but this total P.O.S. DVR and Delay after Delay after Delay after Delay is starting to wear on my nerves. I might just take DirecTV up on it’s offer of a free HD Dish & Installation to go back to them. This might be the worst display of ineptitude I’ve seen in a long time.

  50. EarlyAdopter, your region is scheduled to get the release in January. All regions that currently have IMG deployed should have received the Q4 maintenance release by now. I believe there’s another update scheduled for early spring. When I learn more, I’ll post it.

  51. @EarlyAdopter: I’m still on the original software as well, no IMG yet. To be fair, all DVRs will have a buffer of some amount of time before they can’t be paused any more, and 15 minutes is for HD, SD is 45 minutes. And it doesn’t jump to live TV, it just un-pauses and begins playing the whole buffer that’s been built up while on pause.

    I do agree with you that the delay between button presses and reaction on the box is very annoying.

  52. Thanks for responding fios tech. When the guide is on the screen, nothing happens when I press the fast forward button and the only thing that happens when I press the channel change is that the channel that I am currently watching changes. Is there something wrong with my remote (all of them) or set top box (all of them)? Does anything have to be reprogrammed? I have the Motorola box. Thanks again.

  53. Steve Goldschmidt January 6, 2008 at 9:49 pm

    I have experienced channel changing delays for six months now. It is intermittant and delays are from 2 to 6 seconds. FIOS came to my home and replaced the router. It helped for about a week. I believe Verizon does not have a handle on this situation and does not know how to correct it.

  54. I have had Verizon Fios for about 8 months. By far the best picture quality on the market today. That being said, I own Stansbury audio and Video Solutions outside of baltimore Maryland. i am only bringing this up to let you know I know a little something about Video. My main complaint is the Gui for the DVR/guide. The programming information is incomplete,inaccurate and the DVR is cumbersome to use. Many of the programs,old and new have generic discriptions, ie Zanny host interviews guests (david Letterman. Bigot in new york deals with issues. (All in the family). They even listed this episode as “new”I turn on and movie yesterday that was supposely made in 1936, It was made in 2006 and the setting was 1936. I learned this by looking at the directv guide at work. We are a system provider for a couple of MDUs (multi dwelling units)where we provide their programming for about a hundred channels. Because some people had Tivo and were very tenacious. Through there guide provider that set the accounts up as the name of the complex so that when they got TIVO one of the coices in that zip code would be the complex ie comcast, directv,forrect hills condos.That how I learn a little about how this info come to the receivers. Now I will tell you that we were avid TIVO Devotees until getting Verizon. This is when we dumpped TIVO and went with the built in DVR. It has been and continues to be a bad experience. I amd even considering chucking the DVR and buying the Hi Def TIVO. Because Verizon is so huge I obviosly can’t speak to anyone that gives a s%^$. So I thought I would start here. I read comcast signed a deal with TIVO. Too bad Verizon doesn’t do that and Directv definitely should go back to TIVO.
    Thanks

  55. Any update on when this will be deployed? I just got FIOS in MD and I would love to have this feature!!

  56. Just got the new IMG and I am annoyed. This upgrade has all these new bells and whistles which do nothing for me, while at the same time has negatively impacted the existing functions of the system. My two main issues are that response time is noticeably slower, and the reminder function. I have the Set Top Box (no DVR), and the old reminder would chamge to the channel automatically. This new thing does not change the channel which IMHO makes this function useless. It is now impossible to record two different channels at different times when I’m not home.
    I work in software development, and one of our biggest commandments is that new functions should cause no day-one impacts to the system’s existing behavior. If that is unavoidable, an option setting must be provided to give the new behavior an on/off switch. The reminder function should still provide the ability to automatically change the channel.
    Maybe this is Verizon’s master plan to force people to rent their DVRs, but for my usage there’s no way to justify an extra $200/year.
    Thumbs down.

  57. I’m stuck. I’m moving soon and FIOS is available in the new house. However, talking to the kids at the verizon FIOS kiosk is hopeless. They know nothing beyond what’s in the literature, and are trying to upsell everything (don’t blame them).

    I had a cox DVR staring in 2004, and it sucked ass. Best I was every able to do was about 30 hours of recording despite being promised 50 hours. Programming was hopeless and out of date, and missed time changes regularly.

    The verizon kiosk workers are pushing the media center item hard, but I’m not really sure I want to support a company that put out such underconfigured DVR’s.

    It’s amazing Tivo isn’t being used, but these vendors probably see the cost of programming compared to tivo fees and think they can do it better themselves. I haven’t see a single DVR that competed with a Tivo. The closest I got was doing MythTV.

  58. What I hate about the new guide is the “announce” feature. I’m watching a show, it runs over a minute or so into the next hour (or the set-top box isn’t synched well to what the network is broadcasting), and suddenly at the bottom of my screen a big, ugly box of text comes in to announce that I’m watching the next thing that runs on that channel, and to give me a thumbnail description of it. It irks the crap out of me when it appears on a recording I’ve made, right at the end of the program — which is often a climactic moment or a cliffhanger or something — and completes guts your suspension of disbelief (to say nothing of blocking the bottom part of the screen, where something important might be happening). Anyone know how to hack into the controls yet? I have GOT to get rid of that feature.

  59. I’ve had Fios Internet for 2 years and love it. I switched to FiosTV last August when DirectTV dumped Tivo. For the first four months I was seriously ready to chuck the DVR out the window. After using Tivo for so many years it was a huge step backwards. I couldn’t fathom how you have the best tech TV service and screw it up by lumping it with a POS DVR.

    That being said, the upgrade resolved many of the problems. The interface is still a little clunky compared to Tivo and the storage capacity is an absolute joke, but other than that the urge to toss it out the window has subsided.

    My contract is up on August. I have had a chance to use the new DirectTV DVR and it’s not bad. (Plus I miss the NFL package…) My decision as to whom to go with will be based on storage capacity and new HD channels. I simply can’t live with 15-20 hours of HD and I don’t like knowing there are tons of other HD channels out there I’m not getting.

    If Verizon adds more HD channels I suppose I will buy the new Tivo HD however if things are as they are today I will most likely go back to DirectTV for a year or two and say better luck next time.

  60. I am totally disapointed in Fios DVR function. As US consumers, we have no problem giving up quality for perceived price. Directv even made their new receivers incompatable with TIVO. So do not think the consumers dictate the market anymore. That ship has saled. As you can see I am not very optomistic that TIVO will be incorporated even though it is the best. Being the best does’not mean much when consumers are herded into the big box stores or the internet with no promise of service or quality but the fake promise that they are getting the best price. It’s amazing when you visit europe. their level of sufitication in regard to audio and vidio is like our 30 years ago. They still purcahse more LPs than CDs because of the superior sound of LPs. I have grown me com eto our store with wife in hand and buy the worst sounding and crappiest TV and walk out thinking they are real audio/videophiles. It’s kinda sad to watch.The will spend $15,500.00 for a subzero frig and Viking stove and neither are chiefs. but Budget $2000.00 for the entire media room. wierd. Meet the US Consumer!!!!

  61. Any idea when the 2.0 IMG update will be in the Central VA area? The lack of a “reminder function” is driving me nuts…..

    As is the total lack of information on this on Verizon web site…..

    Appreciate any info!

  62. Humpty dumpty sat on a wall Humpty had a great fall now crippled with lousey customer service, a useless program guide, non responsive set top box, pay per view movies like The Way We were for $2.99, and marketing phrases like Tons of HD channels and DR. VERIZON dosent accept Humpty’s HMO anymore! Dont do a multi year agreement until you check it out your self try it out for a month or two so if you choose you can get your TV back and not spend most of your free time trying to figure out why?

    Who is this brain washed FIOS Tech since his post 12/13/07 nothing has changed.

  63. I just installed a Windows Home Server in my house. Do you know if the next update to the IMG will stream from the WHS without any special software?

  64. I spoke to Verizon today…after waht seemed to be YEARS on hold.

    They are (apparently) aware of the lack of reminders on the DVR boxes. THat is coming in the next update (whenever that might be). What amazes me is that they would leave it out in the first place. THey want everyone to have HD and DVR but they give a BASIC function like reminders only to the BASIC boxes.

    Too bad I am locked in for 2 years now. I used to call a LOCAL phone number for COmast and speak to someone (a live person) after 2 rings. I admit there are a few more channels on Fios (like Boomerang), but the absolute rubbish for help pages online and the extreme wait times on the phone have completely turned me off.

    Did anyone at Verizon ever think that if they actually updated customers with timely information ONLINE, they wouldn’t have to call the service center?

  65. I have phoned I have written this company… it is insulated against any and all attempts to have meaningful contacts to resolve any issues. If you have Time Warner Cable or Cablevision or DIRECTV or Dish Network… KEEP IT you are better off… I have tried all but Dish Network but a friend is very satisfied with the price and quality of the image… I can live with any of the other services (especially cable) but not FIOS. firstly the picture quality was not visibly better… same as cable. The FIOS internet …VS. and the Verizon DSL is

    just as fast for web browsing (I have both Macs…always fast and the best and PCs… always a good bit slower whether FIOS or DSL) Yes FIOS is somewhat faster on downloads but unless unless you are an iTunes junkie… who downloads all the time… mostly you surf and Blog and e-Mail (and $17.99 for DSL vs. about $50 (or more) for FIOS is a waste of money. Now the Verizon Freedom Phone service through the large FIOS box now permanently screwed to the outside of my garage wall (I thank you and my religious wooden shingles thank you … well now they are holy holy holy…. thanks a lot!!) .. my old phone service with Verizon was fine… this new FIOS BOX phone service has all sorts of crackle and pops in the line and an annoying low rhythmic rumble….(proximity to electrical service??) If you look at the bright side this is a plus… this way you will only make very important calls… you know like my house is on fire…. All of that disaster seems nearly meaningless…compared to FIOS TV.. YOU CAN’T BELIEVE HOW BAD FIOS TV IS …they take 4 hours to drill holes in your garage and attach several electrical devices and backs ups… which you have to bear the energy cost on….for what… for nothing beneficial apparently. It is the story of a man and his drill… he works right next to the main breaker and LIPA electrical service to your entire home… if they miss with the drill you are without electricity.. no big deal right?? You wish that were your problems..but they are only beginning after the install.

    The young salesman who went door to door told me my ACTIVATION COSTS (ABOUT $50) and would be reimbursed either through a $200 gift certificate at Best Buy or they would give me a Sharp HD TV… my choice of bonus… that will be 5 months ago in March 2008 … and they just about don’t acknowledge I even exist as a customer when it comes to a bonus… THEY DO however ACKNOWLEDGE THAT I AM TO PAY FOR FIOS SERVICE MONTHLY. Originally, the the young door to door salesman (who has nothing except a name tag…a sales ledger and a laminated photocopy of the basic channel lineup… which you can’t keep… there is no proof or paperwork provided about the sign up bonus … just his big mouth.. be smart …. slam the door in his face!). He told me that my cost for 2 years would be $94 a month. Plus $10 for the 2 extras boxes I ordered. My bills have been out of sight for the past several months about $162 for February…. $270 for January …. and $140 for December (APPARENTLY before they really got the “SIR CHARGE” BALL FULLY ROLLING)…and you know those infamous Verizon monthly bills… 4 pages of charges you can never reconcile… unlike Vonage Phone service or Cable phone service…(which I don’t de facto recommend… I still prefer a line but .. just not a FIOS one). NO LOVE LOST BETWEEN ME AND CABLEVISION BUT I AM BEGINNING TO REALIZE THE FAR LESSER OF 2 EVILS THAT THEY ARE. With FIOS you have about $35 dollars in extra FCC line charges etc. etc… taxes minimum each month. Now as to the FIOS picture… because it is optics as opposed to good old copper cable… there are momentary lapses… in picture and sound delivery because of the either tinny Motorola cable box can’t keep up with the optic cable or the optic cable has small imperfections along the route.. which cause sound to break up (words are lost… music jumps a few notes) and pictures tend glitch out (as if you had a defect or scratch on a DVD you were watching.) This almost never happens with modern cable service.

    NOW I HAVE SAVED THE BEST TO THE LAST… SO PLEASE KEEP READING …..
    Effective April 2008 FIOS TV WILL BE ELIMINATING ALL THE BASIC BROADCAST CHANNELS AND EVERY OTHER CHANNEL FROM THEIR TV SYSTEM UNLESS YOU HAVE A BOX.. that’s RIGHT THE 40 CHANNELS I GET ON ALL MY TVS DVD RECORDERS VCR HDTV DIGITAL SETS…AS WELL AS THE OLDER ANALOGUE TV SETS …. GET WILL ALL BE ELIMINATED …3 months AFTER I signed up and THEY PROMISED ME I WOULD HAVE THEM…THIS SEEMS TO VIOLATE THE VERY CONTRACT WE FIOS SUBSCRIBERS SIGNED… I WOULD HOPE IT OPENS UP A LARGE CLASS ACTION AGAINST THEM. Every set whether new HDTV or not will now not work without a stinking energy wasting hot to the touch Motorola box… which won’t even display what channel you are one… but you could try to fry an egg on it instead… I currently have to turn my Motorola 2500 box and the 6200 box off at night because they get so hot during one day of usage…(and it is WINTER.. in NY State !!!!) … after a day …you can’t even keep your hand on top of the 6200… (I can only imagine what a hazard they will present in July!!!). If you are unlucky enough to have a Motorola 6416 HD/DVR unit that box is so hot it can almost replace your Ronco Chicken Fryer…. the 80 gig hard drive is constantly grinding away and the fan always on to dissipate the heat but it is nearly useless.. except for the annoyingly loud motor noises it makes. Unlucky friend of mine has one and his rental rate has gone up from $12.99 a month to over $15.99 now a month… just since Nov 2007 to February 2008 !!!! How do you spell RIP OFF… oh yeah
    V-E-R-I-Z-O-N and the hard drive FREQUENTLY JAMS OR DOES NOT RECORD when it is more than half full. Yes Sir. So Now Every TV set will need a frying hot energy sucking cable box so that will be ….6 boxes for 6 sets in my home and each box is drawing energy. Green is only a dollar bill to Verizon not the environmental green cost of box on box on box on box on box on box (have I done all 6 of em?)

    Dear Friends… three of my TV sets are less than a year old…. two are less than 3 months old … yet they are incompatible with Verizon starting in April 2008. A new 32 inch HDTV Sony Bravia … no good… a new 27 inch Samsung HDTV no good…a 12 month old 37 inch Sylvania HDTV no good… according to the new rules laid down by Verizon…. all will need boxes in order to get even a local channel. KNOW THAT BEFORE YOU ARE AN IDIOT LIKE ME AND SIGN UP.

    Oh yes, all the Motorola boxes (every make and model) work on the same remote control signal… so if your are watching something on ABC and want to DVD record something on CBS at the same time you are screwed…. the same remote controls all 6 boxes… it will shut every box off and change every channel… God help you if you push one of the many incorrect buttons in the dark or just by accident. It is over… recording screwed. Don’t think for one second you can switch over during a commercial on ABC to see how your show on CBS is recording… YOU JUST CHANGED THE CHANNEL ON BOTH BOXES… OR SHUT BOTH BOXES OFF …and you screwed up the DVD of the show you were recording… nice… really smart folks at Verizon. Remember these stupid little Motorola VT 700 boxes don’t even have a CLOCK or LED channel display to know where you are actually on.

    P.S. It should go without saying I am cheap… I NEVER order Pay-Per-View …or any Verizon On Demand services …I have only the basic channels USA, TNT, Turner Classic Movies, etc…. no HBO or even Encore or Starz. Oh yes.. more good news… starting in April 2008 … I am going to have to re-cable most of my house when I switch back to Cablevision Basic TV services for under $15 bucks a month…(Verizon stole the original Cablevision installed cable feed lines …less work for them, more work for me…sounds fair …the FIOS way) when they did the FIOS install… so all I am left with is my now defunct DirectTV Satelite lines which I may cannibalize in my needed re-wiring.) Only then can I provide non-box Cablevision service to 4 older TVs and the DVD recorders and VCR’s… and also RF switchable basic TV to my 3 New HDTV sets for PBS Local News and Network broadcasts.. at prime times when I don’t watch Cable stations (USA whatever) or want to cool down my 3 toasters er, I mean, my Motorola cable boxes…

    As for the other three VT 700 Motorola cable boxes …which arrived yesterday (and which won’t activate… wait till you see the set of instructions Verizon sends you to self-activate these new “April Fools Day 2008″ boxes by yourself.. good-luck.) … Verizon can place these somewhere conveniently to their robust anatomy. So now I need basic Cablevision…that will push my non-premium channel monthly cable bill up to about $165 minimum.

    Oh, I forgot to mention how bad their FIOS on screen guide is… it is bad… and very jittery…it can skip 10 channels ahead and you won’t be able to go back very easy… my wife CAN’T GO BACK at all ..she gave up… it is possible… but you have to me a maestro of the remote and also have a bit of luck… your fall back position is to get the guide on each channel one channel at a time… when “Sir Jitters” Guide is in use !!! NICE !!! By the time you have done that the show you wanted to see is already on 10 minutes! I really miss the DIRECTV
    guide which tells you the original air date of each so you can avoid repeat broadcasts. If you have FIOS you will still have to keep our Internet TV Guide listings set to Cablevision or DIRECTV because none of the regular TV listings AOL, MSN, YAHOO you name it… NONE OF THE REGULAR WEB TV LISTINGS BOTHER TO GIVE YOU THE FIOS CABLE LINE UP… CHECK IT OUT.. perhaps that was THEIR concerted hint not to go with Verizon FIOS? Don’t be part of a very small minority that is getting screwed with FIOS. Just because I was stupid don’t mean
    you have to be as well. Yes, I am locked into a 2 year contract with tremendous penalties if I try to discontinue FIOS service…(my local cable does not do that)… the story never ends.. but my letter does…. good-bye. To think… for all these years I thought Cablevision stank…(it took them over 6 years before they offered Turner Classic Movies … by that time I went to DIRECTV it may have a slightly moldy smell….but wait till you smell the (Metaphorical) rot called FIOS TV.

    PPS My wife just walked in home from work… she told me the house was cold… it was..I had turned off my 6200 cable box and Sylvania HDTV late last night when I went to bed…and by God I forgot to turn them on (I have these units on on/off surge outlets … so I don’t have to actually unplug them). I am Going to power them up now to watch Judge Judy .. have a hot cup of tea ….and enjoy my Verizon FIOS TV Fireplace.

  66. Just for grins I cut and pasted all of the above and had Word count the. Are you ready?

    There are 2,022 words in the above writing..Dude, you need to get a grip, a pill and a good book. I can’t belive anyone is so anal as to spend this much time bitching about TV service. You wife must have the patience of Job. Oh, get a hobby also, might be good for your mental health.

  67. Well, hopefully he’s reusing that content all around the web considering the time investment. ;)

    FYI JB, Verizon isn’t the only cable provider requiring cable boxes these days. I believe in some parts of Chicago and Brooklyn for example, the local cable-co is doing the same thing – perhaps to prevent piracy (i.e. multiple cable splits throughout an apartment complex). I know in my region, Comcast has been trying to get everyone to switch to digital cable (requiring a box) over the last 18 months with rumors that analog cable from the wall to the set would be disabled at some point.

  68. I have FIOS and I was less than imoressed so far. The picture quality seems to be a little better and the price seems to be a little lower than Comcast. However, I do not care for the On Screen Guide or the HD lineup. It appears they do not even have MASN2 which is big in my area. With all the extra bandwith, I would think they have a lot of room for more HD content. I am trying to be patient but it seems like the rushed a lot of this and did not think it through. I am unable to go frame by frame and I can not “skip” back to live TV. I have to fast Forward until I get the real time programming. Comcast was much better in these areas not to mention everytime I called I was able to get a live person. I guess I will be patient but my patience is running out…..

  69. @Michael:

    If you press the “FIOS TV” button in the middle of the remote, it skips to live tv. Hope that helps!

  70. Yes- Thanks! It works Perfect. Now if they update the Info on the Menu – It would be even better! How do you like your FIOS?

  71. @Michael:

    I’m actually pretty happy with it. It’s got the same set of channels as Comcast had, solid picture quality when the networks provide it, and reasonably good customer service. HD On Demand would be my big request, that’s really a big missing feature, but I have a Blu-Ray player so it’s not killing me. Overall it’s pretty solid, AND it’s a LOT cheaper than Comcast was. I’m paying $40 less a month now, and that’s with the pretty fantastic Starz lineup, which I couldn’t afford with Comcast.

  72. Does anyone have issues with blurry VOD picture? Not extreme…just slightly out of focus….enough to annoy you. And of course, the occasional pixelation.

    Also, calling Tech support seems a waste………I have considered swithing over the sat but don’t like the thought of losing picture at the hint of bad weather…..Texas in the spring can be a nightmare at times.

    Thoughts…do I ride out the storm? I do see that they have the potential to be great….will they ever suceed?

  73. I called Verizon FIOS to order phone, internet, and cable prior to my move in. My Consumer Order Summary was dated 3-28-08, and the scheduled installation date was 4-7-08. I reviewed the e-mail and all looked well. I move into my new house and install date comes. They setup an 8 AM-noon window. I already had the Optical Network Terminal unit (ONT) in my house, so I figured this would be cake for them. I am a Sys Admin at an ISP, so the internet stuff I could do myself with ease.

    On install day, no one showed, no one called. I had my mobile with me at ALL times. So around 1:30 PM I called Verizon to see what was going on. If something came up, I had a week off to move in and if they needed to come by in a day or two, I was totally cool with that. After about an hour on hold I got in touch with a “state level??? dispatcher. That said that there were “no facilities available for my order??? and I was called. Nope, I wasn’t called; they did have my cell (which I had with me all of the time) in their records. I wanted them to come out later in the week if possible since I was home. They said that their next available time for me was 4-12-08, which was a day where I was going to a wedding. The next available time after that was at the end of the month, on a work day for me.

    Basically because they did not show up, or even notify me with a reason, they put me at the back of the line. I was trying to escalate my request and the support only gave me unreasonable dates and that “no facilities available for my order??? BS. I later wanted to get my copper line put back so I could at least get phone service, and after a long wait in hold they gave me the end of the month as a date. Basically I was being run around in circles and being shoved to the end of the line because Verizon screwed up my installation. I was told the only way I could get it sooner is if I “knew an installer who’d do me a favor,??? and I was pretty much screwed with the window of time I had to get the service installed. The salesperson fed me a load of bull and the installer didn’t even call me with a reason. I tried to figure out what “no facilities available for my order??? meant, and why this was such a problem since I already had the ONT in my house. Half of their work was already done.

    The same day, I called a local cable company who installed my phone, internet, and cable the next day. They showed up on time and did the normal pre and post appointment verification. I unplugged the ONT in my house and let the battery go out. Verizon gave me such a lousy customer experience I swore I would never do business with them, and be sure to let other people know about their awful customer service and commitments they setup and do not honor. Verizon screwed up prior when they bought Bell Atlantic, and screwed up our perfectly find DSL service I had around 98/99. My money is going to a competitor, and Verizon won’t see it because they have abysmal customer service. I am certainly interested in fiber optic lines connected to my house, but so long as Verizon is the only provider, I will happily do without.

  74. Has anyone figured out how to extend the FiOS Internet? A confirmed solution would be very helpful.

  75. William R. Cousert May 22, 2008 at 3:59 pm

    When will Media Manager be able to play our own video files?

  76. Love Fios so far. It has less HD channels than Cox in NoVA right now, but come Sept 22nd that will no longer be an issue. No problems with the DVR, and love the media manager feature. I only have 1 HDTV currently, but I am reading that you can now watch a recorded HD show on a HD STB in another room. If this is true, that will be great to have when we get another HDTV.

  77. does any one know hot to a hack a Motorola QIP2500-3or how to view more channels

  78. ‘Bout time.
    The last update this week finally restored the reminder function to usefullness. It actually changes to the channel you set the reminder for, what a concept, and it only took them nine months…

  79. I can’t really say I’m overJOYED with the speeds, but it sure beats Comcast. It’ll do pig. It’ll do.

  80. When will the Media Manager allow for playing video?
    Also, I reside in Southern Mass and would like to have a Providence RI TV station as part of my lineup….instead of a Manchester NH station!!!!!!

  81. I had fios installed on april 16th. The cable box was not shut on the outside of my house due to too many wires inside and nothing was done about it. The technician told me that he would run the cable under the siding and it is on top of the vinyl siding and nailed on.
    In addition the technician took the liberty while doing what he needed to do on the computer by visiting a large number of porn sites, which popped right up on my brower history list when he left my home.
    As far as the picture, apparently, you have to pay extra for each HD channel to get the channel in HD, even though I had the HD box installed. My Comcast service provided all the HD channels in HD on my HD set.
    I am cancelling the Fios and going back to Comcast. My deepest regret is that I took off a day of work to have someone drill alot of unsitely hole in my house and violate me by using my computer to view porn. No one told me that I would have to hover over the technician to make sure he was “good” while he was here.
    No to Verizon Fios, you really can’t trust anyone anymore to do the right thing.

  82. thomas odaniels April 4, 2010 at 5:08 pm

    lol you guys are so funny its tv and internet…and phone…i spent 1/2 an hour reading all your posts…
    hee hee hee…have fun bitching while i watch tv
    and use my internet and dial somebody worth talking to…lol
    really!

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