An Open Letter to Verizon: Fix Your DVRs
JohnCF
Contributor - Level 1

I have been a FiOS tv user now for over a year and have had to live with DVR and tv signal bugs no other service provider makes their customers live with.  I was a Dish Network subscriber from 1997 until last year and have friends who have long term experience with other service providers so I have a good foundation to work from.  I have worked in the IT profession for 30 years, have installed networks and datacenters, and have installed all my own cabling and satellite dish services in the past, receiving compliments from and exchanged tips and stories with installers and technicians.  My current signal from Verizon is at full strength, with no transmission issues anywhere between Verizon and my DVR.

Verizon is the late comer to the tv programming service industry and should have had a leg up on the competition. However, those of us who are FiOS tv subscribers know all too well that they did not exploit their advantage.  It almost seems as if in order to save as much money as possible, Verizon bought obsolete equipment and technology and goes to any length to avoid licensing any software functionality to include in their DVR software. The results are glaringly obvious:

1. Macroblocking and frame loss just like watching a poorly tuned satellite dish in a rain storm.

2. Pixelation seen in overly compressed low quality data streams.

3. Slow or completely unresponsive remote control functionality that freezes or hangs up for many seconds before suddenly responding to the last several commands pressed on the remote.

4. Very small hard drive sizes seen in non-HD DVRs; being used in "HD" DVRs to provide only a few hours of recording time.

5. Despite using SATA interface technology, poor data throughput from drive storage internal and external to the DVR.  Almost completely unable to handle recording to and playing from the external drive over eSATA when Dish Network does it over USB 2.0 with no signal loss, viewing issues, or DVR reboots resulting in the loss of a recording.

6. Minimal functionality available in VOD mode.  Play and Stop seemingly as the only options and playback that is stopped cannot resume where the viewing left off.

7. Rudimentary recording functionality that is unable to resolve recording conflicts and ensure that recordings occur later where a conflict has occured.

8.  Complete inability to roll out patches, fixes, and updates on a nationwide basis; requiring a full year to accomplish something all other providers do in at most one month.

This is my list of the most obvious unresolved issues Verizon has with their best DVRs and is unable to fix in any reasonable length of time for their customers. 

I have all these problems with my Verizon FiOS Motorola 7232 DVR and see no end to them any time soon. 

Verizon, if you are listening: Please fix these problems now. 

I have my doubts that anyone above Tier One even reads any of these posts....

11 Replies
Anthony_VZ
Master - Level 3

Sorry to hear about the problems you are having with the service. I have sent you a private message so we can get your account information and assist further.

0 Likes
retiredme
Specialist - Level 1

Your impassioned letter states very clearly some of the more glaring weaknesses of the VZ DVR, weaknesses that are (unfortunately) suffered by legions of VZ customers. Many suffering souls will not see your letter, let alone even know about these forums. Yet your letter serves a purpose - to highlight the inadequacy of the current equipment/software mix employed by VZ. These troubles are made even more embarassing by the capabilities of a system being offered by a VZ competitor which has SIX tuners, and can record 8 hours of programming on 4 channels for 8 days straight, and still have 2 tuners available for "normal" DVR functions. So, DVR technology can clearly be made to work.

0 Likes
charliewatts
Contributor - Level 2

I have ALL the same problems listed above.

DVR is often impossible to control.  

0 Likes
JohnCF
Contributor - Level 1

Anthony,

I have seen in the forums that you are responsive, and, usually helpful and I appreciate that.  However, I doubt that you will be able to help with these issues as they are related to obsolete hardware technology and software.  Sure, the latest IMG is miles ahead of the interface FiOS offered before, yet it is just window dressing for the most part with a few added features that were already available in most other providers equipment several YEARS ago.

My open letter is a continuation of my own efforts to call out Verizon on these continuing issues and encourage the company to give serious consideration to moving the latest technology gear into the system as soon as possible, and if needed, use a tiered upgrade purchase/rental system to make this happen for those customers who want this technology. 

I would gladly pay $200 up front and a monthly rental fee to have a dvr that provides 200 hours of HD storage, 3 or more HD tuners, and addresses all the signal and response issues found in my letter.  These dvrs already exist, yet Verizon does not seem interested.

The sad fact is that I can build my own Windows 7 DVR with a Ceton InfiniTV 4 quad tuner card and have everything I want for @ $500 and forgo VOD.  VOD is a cash cow for most providers, and yet Verizon would force VOD viewers away with the crude, rudimentary control of VOD programming and lack of content.

I would rather have Verizon equipment and enjoy quality service without worrying about my own equipment.  That however may just be a fantasy. I have also considered leaving live tv behind for good and simply buying seasons of shows on disk or from Amazon Streaming services.  It would eliminate all the noisy ads and finally free me from the massive scheduling headache using a FiOS dvr can give you.  Hmmm... life after scheduled tv sounds better than ever.  I hope it doesn't catch on for your sake.

Thanks again for chiming in with your response of promised help.  It is nice to see and I have responded to the private message, although I'm sure the outcome will not be successful in the end.

Good Luck FiOS TV - you are way behind your competitors.

0 Likes
mja351
Enthusiast - Level 3

its a good service the internet is great but the dvrs are the biggest hunks of junk if only they would partner with tivo they would have no issues then i press the remote and wait for it to do something ,i try to rewind and there is no buffer watching live tv in the middle of the night the box has the channel on it when i have it set to clock,. i could go on and on....... its not the fiber network its the hardware that is the whole problem and i have a brand new motorola hd dvr 2 mos old and its just like the old one but with bigger hard drive

0 Likes
retiredme
Specialist - Level 1

The current state of the VZ hardware/software mix is frustrating to many customers. VZ may be focused on their upcoming streaming service, in partnership with Redbox, which will be available to both FIOS and non-FIOS customers later this year for a rumored $6 per month. Nationally, quite a few customers are "cutting the cable" and going to all-streaming services like HULU, VUDU, Amazon, etc. But beware - some ISPs are beginning to levy a usage fee (about $20) on such customers, inaccurately called a "Netflix Tax", to keep the revenues flowing. Such a surcharge will make that $7.99 Netflix subscription more like $27.99.  I begin to wonder if VZ is all that motivated, then, to upgrade existing DVR technology in light of the big push to go to streaming. Interesting.    

0 Likes
daykin1
Enthusiast - Level 1

We recently moved to a new house. I was very excited to hear that FIOS was available in the neighborhood. So much so that I questioned why many of the neighbors had dishes mounted to their houses…why would they want that old technology with fiber optic services available? Now I understand.

Many of the FIOS features I was excited to receive have turned out to be just “okay”.  The video on demand only has 2 or 3 of the latest episodes of the few shows they carry.  For some reason I expected the ability to watch full seasons.  The DVR provided would have been acceptable in 2002, but today is pretty sad. The channel arrangement makes very little sense…overall FIOS TV seems to be in a beta stage and not ready for the masses.  

On the plus side the internet is nice 🙂

0 Likes
mdr227
Contributor - Level 1

I certainly feel your pain.   We've been with FIOS TV for 3 years and have had many frustrations with it.   Unfortunately we don't have many other options other than going back to Dish or Direct TV.   The biggest irritation we've had is with your #3.

(3. Slow or completely unresponsive remote control functionality that freezes or hangs up for many seconds before suddenly responding to the last several commands pressed on the remote.)

A few months ago it had gotten so bad that watching TV was impossible (other than the channel the box was on).   This would happen with all of our STBs and DVRs (we have many of them) throughout the house.   I had a technician out over and over again that changed out everything (connections, outside equipment) and finally it seemed to be working OK until just the last few weeks it's started up again.   Try calling Tech Support and you are on the line forever and they walk you through the same things that I have done over and over again and have told them have not fixed the problem.   It seems as if nobody puts in any notes on your trouble tickets so everytime you call it's back to square one.   I am at the point where I am going to start calling the technician directly on his cell. 

0 Likes
CadillacKid1
Newbie
I 100% agree with this letter and have had basically all the same issues. For a fully fiber optic network. The quality of hardware is laughable. I will not be renewing when my contact us up. Extremely disappointed, especially for how costly the service is.
0 Likes
tns
Master - Level 2

Can't agree with most of your letter.

1. Macroblocking and frame loss just like watching a poorly tuned satellite dish in a rain storm.

Get your system checked out.  Somethings is wrong, probably before it reaches the dvr

2. Pixelation seen in overly compressed low quality data streams.

Same as one.  Except for a few progam providers who are providing lousy signals to everyone, Fios channels are not overly compressed by Verizon.

3. Slow or completely unresponsive remote control functionality that freezes or hangs up for many seconds before suddenly responding to the last several commands pressed on the remote.

Apparently a recent problem such as this is true in some areas.  Its being worked on.  I only see maybe one such delay every few weeks.  Saw it frequently with various Dish DVR's.

4. Very small hard drive sizes seen in non-HD DVRs; being used in "HD" DVRs to provide only a few hours of recording time.

They worked on it alright.  SD DVR's are no longer being manufactured, and almost never given out.  Switch to one of the newer larger HD DVR.

5. Despite using SATA interface technology, poor data throughput from drive storage internal and external to the DVR.  Almost completely unable to handle recording to and playing from the external drive over eSATA when Dish Network does it over USB 2.0 with no signal loss, viewing issues, or DVR reboots resulting in the loss of a recording.

Dish networks solution is different and interesting.  They do not record to the External discs over USB.  Instead they allow you to request an archive to the disc of a program already recorded.  Verizon Fios solution instead tries to use it as the primary drive.

6. Minimal functionality available in VOD mode.  Play and Stop seemingly as the only options and playback that is stopped cannot resume where the viewing left off.

The limited functionality is at the program provider's insistance.  Some programs have full functionality.  Not sure why it cannot alway resume where it left off (it works most of the time but not always, and they are aware of this and working on it.)

7. Rudimentary recording functionality that is unable to resolve recording conflicts and ensure that recordings occur later where a conflict has occured.

Never had a problem here, but then I always check to see that the day's scheduled programs are up.  A habit I got into with DISH because I often had problems with them.  Possibly due to the guide info provider (FYI), and I'll agree they might do better to dump FYI and get another source.

8.  Complete inability to roll out patches, fixes, and updates on a nationwide basis; requiring a full year to accomplish something all other providers do in at most one month.

The last rollout of patches occured exactly on schedule, and in roughtly two months.  Yeah the previous one took about 7 months (Only over a year of you count the Beta they decided to do).  Complicated by one restart after a number of serious problems were reported, one strike, and a couple of delays while network changes not related to the update had to occur.

0 Likes
doropallo
Contributor - Level 1

I agree with OP on many topics, coming from Dish that had 3 tuners I thought I could make up the difference with VOD, but that is mostly a joke.  I know it is the provider that mandates it, but not allowing a user to fast forward and keeping the show at an hour is ridiculous, that is why I would just record it if I had an open tuner.  Fast forwarding with a visible commercial means you still see it, recording it and using the 30 second skip means I don't.  How stupid.  Both Dish and Direct are coming out with 1TB DVRs and more tuners, so the useless VOD really isn't attractive, when it works.  Can't count how many times we tried to use but our request couldn't be processed at the time, after spinning for a minute or two.  Some state of the art network.

0 Likes