Give me a reason to switch to FIOS
hackwriter
Enthusiast - Level 2

I've been hemming and hawing about going to FIOS for various services for quite some time, and I can't quite make up my mind.  I need some more information from people without a vested interest either way:

1)  Internet.  I currently have Verizon DSL, and it is OK, but I recently had to replace the modem, performance can be spotty, and I can't use the DSL to stream movies to my TV, it's just too slow.  This switch is a no-brainer.

2)  Land line phone:  Anyone who's ever lost power for a week knows that keeping a land line phone is necessary.  I like my good old fashioned land line.  I've read about "Freedom Essentials."  Is this a regular land line or FIOS?  What I don't like about FIOS land line is that it has the same power outages that say a cell phone has.  I know they guarantee 8 hours of availability, but if your power is out longer than that, y ou are scr*wed, right?  Can anyone clarify?

3)  TV:  Right now I have Dish Network.  I love Dish Network except for two things:  1)  Their VOD selection sucks, and 2) My HD service in summer is spotty because of trees.  Their DVR is awesome...plenty of space and easy to use.  I have a 2-room DVR where I can record on 2 TVs at once and then watch something pre-recorded.  Does the Verizon DVR do this too?  The biggest issue, though, is the disk space.  The Verizon DVR is kind of skimpy on disk space.  Can that be expanded via external drive?  Also...I have just bought a 3rd TV.  With Dish I need a new receiver, but I understand that with Verizon I could hang this off just one DVR with a set-top box.  I only need to be able to watch 2 things at once on 2 TVs, there are only two of us in the house.

I definitely want to get an internet/phone package, I'm just not sure of whether I can keep conventional land line.  I'm also not sure about bundling in the TV because of the skimpy DVR space.

Can anyone clarify whether I should switch?

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CapnCrunch
Contributor - Level 2

If price is an issue then you should review these monthly rates:

$120 Triple play package is $120/month for FiOS TV Extreme HD, FiOS Internet 25/15 (which I believe is now replaced with 25/25), and Verizon phone.  BTW phone has 24 hour battery backup for power outages.

Then the add ons:

+$23 HBO/Cinemax.

Here are the prices for various set-top-boxes per month

http://www22.verizon.com/residential/fiostv#equip

+$15 taxes and fees each month.

 ______

I personally am going to downgrade to the Prime HD TV plan and get rid of the home phone when my deal ends, just because I want to lower my bill.

The VOD selection is good with FiOS, but expensive.  

New movies are around $6 to rent.

I rarely use it because I can get movies much cheaper from kiosks or mailing companies (brand names left out for forum rules purposes)

Go here to check channel listings and compare them side-by-side.

http://www22.verizon.com/Residential/FiOSTV/ChannelLineUp/ChannelLineUp.htm

Lastly you asked about DVR space.  The current Verizon DVR's allow 20 hours of HDTV recording.  For now that is what we have to deal with unless you look at 3rd party options for DVR which will be more expensive.  More info. here:

http://forums.verizon.com/t5/FiOS-TV-Technical-Assistance/Alternative-DVR-Options/m-p/146193

Good Luck!

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GaryDoug
Specialist - Level 1

1. No-brainer like you said.

2. If power goes out, yes.. you are screwed (several hours later). Of course this is no different from a copper landline with a digital cordless phone, same issue. You would need an old fashioned "bell-ringer" phone to keep talking with the power off. I used to keep one for just such emergencies. The after many years of un-use, I threw it away.

3. You can add almost as many STB's as you want to rent (or TV's with just local channels) by just splitting the cable more times. At some point you will run out of signal strength with too many splits. I don't know what that number is, probably at least 10. The reason you would need a new receiver with Dish (or DTV) is because of limitations of the antenna.

Added external disk space for the Verizon DVR's may be coming soon, but then I have heard that from multiple cable companies for years now. Believe it when I see it.

Don't expect to have no issues with Verizon; no system is perfect. Fortunately most of the issues seem to be related to customer support and not hardware. I think VZ has the philosophy that customer support is a non-value-added segment of the business and it's better to put more money and effort into design and technology.

lasagna
Community Leader
Community Leader

GaryDoug ... since you mentioned you weren't sure of the number of boxes ... the limitation at least for a base configuration on STB's is 6 boxes.   This is a function of the number of nodes which can exist on a single MoCA segment (ONT, Router, and six boxes -- for a total of 8 nodes).    There are things which can be done to bridge that gap -- so it's not a hard limit.

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GaryDoug
Specialist - Level 1

Thanks lasagna,

I forgot about the router limit of 8 nodes. Of course the number of non-STB/DVR box TV's connected (locals only) could be higher.

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lasagna
Community Leader
Community Leader

Correct ... limited only by the strength of signal issue you cited previously.

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lasagna
Community Leader
Community Leader

I'll try to specifically address your questions ...  full disclosure, I'm a "satisfied customer" at the moment, so my experience reflects that view.  Others here may take a different view, but I truly believe they don't represent the vast majority of FiOS customer's experiences.

1.  No brainer.  Even the lowest FiOS connection speed runs rings around DSL.   Don't let the complaints which target this forum necessarily sway your opinion -- for the vast majority, FiOS Internet performs wonderfully.  Best part however is that fiber is not subject to the same environmental issues that DSL suffers from.

2. I've heard mixed reports on the ability to keep a copper-based land line with a FiOS installation.   All those I've talked to personally have told me that everything goes over to fiber when they do the install -- which makes sense.  You want that anyhow.  The way FiOS works is that there is a small powered device (called the ONT) which is mounted near where the fiber enters your home.   This device has a battery backup unit attached (mounted inside near an outlet).   When the power fails, the battery unit provides power specifically to enable the phone to function for a period of time (up to 8 hours) after which time the power fails and you lose service.   You have options here ... purchasing a spare battery or two which you keep charged for emergencies (they cost $50 from Verizon, but can be had online for as low as $15 for other sources) or purchasing a UPS (from an office store, big box electronics, or online) into which you plug the battery backup (size of the UPS will determine the length of time it works).  The ONT doesn't draw a lot of power, so a good size UPS can easily last for day or longer.    My backup plan here is much simpler however -- I have a rapid-rate car charger for my cell phone (and since my cell phone is an iPhone, I also have one of those little battery booster widgets that take two AA batteries and provide a a couple of full charges per pair of batteries).   I don't use the FiOS phone service however, I have a VoIP provider which works over the internet -- much cheaper.

3. VoD is better with FiOS.  Jury is still out for me on if it's better than Comcast VoD offering (since I haven't had them for over 2 years).  FiOS boxes are not "multi-room".  You need one STB per TV.   The DVR's have dual tuners -- so you can record two shows and watch a recording simultaneously.  Non-DVR boxes are single-tuner at this time.   FiOS has a "Home Media DVR" offering which allows any non-DVR STB to see the recordings on one designated DVR in the house and watch them.  You can only watch one HD and one SD recording simultaneously using this method from remote boxes (interesting discovery someone posted about on these forums), so beware of those limitations.    Biggest knock on FiOS here is capacity -- pretty substandard by today's measures.   You can not add external storage to the current generation of boxes.   There have been rumors (actually, they may now actually be announcements) that coming late this year / early next we'll see new DVR's which have higher capacity and support eSATA external drives.  Keeping our fingers crossed here.   Oh ... and since the signal is delivered via Fiber -- snow, trees, and other weather don't play havoc with the signal.

In general, I did the math when I switched from Comcast (where I didn't need an STB on every TV for "standard" channels) to FiOS (where I now have an STB on all my main TV's -- 5 total -- including one Home Media DVR) and I get more selection for less cost (at the time I switched, Comcast had just raised their rates for the 3rd time in a year and FiOS delivered more selection at the same amount as my old Comcast rate).  Since I've not been on Comcast now for over two years, that information may be dated -- so YMMV.

Hope that helps.

Justin46
Legend

Hackwriter,

You have gotten some very accurate feedback on FiOS from others. But let me give you mine from a long-term very satisfied user perspective.

Just for background, I have had FiOS internet and phone for a little over 5 years, and in another month will have had FiOS TV for a full 5 years. During that time, I can truthfully say I cannot remember a single time when I have completely lost any of the three services, except when we lost electric service for about 6-7 hours; yes, there have been 2 or 3 times when email didn't work or was slow, and occasionally one or more TV channels did not work. But for me, the reliability has been outstanding, and that is something I cannot say about the cable TV and internet service I previously had, 2-3 outages/week. Also, my current FiOS bill is $178/month; that covers 25mb internet down and 15 mb up, Freedom Essentials, and the 2009 verison of the Extreme HD TV package with the Movie Package, 1 HD DVR and 2 SD STBs, and $26 in state and local taxes (mostly on the TV and phone service). I am almost to the end of my one year package commitment, I am considering a) switching the phone to Verizon's Digital Voice service to save on taxes or b) dropping land line service completely, and c) I will look at the most current TV offerings to see if I want to change anything there.

To your points:

1) Internet: As you said, no-brainer. While I have 25/15 mbs service, the actual these days is consistently closer to 30/24 mbs. Very reliable, very fast. Recently there have been some areas of the country that have experienced some email issues, I have not experienced them here in North Texas. Also, I did have some issues with the Verizon DNS servers a couple of years ago, I switched to OpenDNS and have not had any DNS problems since.

2) Land line phone: Totally satisfied with Freedom Essentials, which basically is POTS over fiber to the side of your house. Very reliable, excellent sound quality. I initially had concerns about the FiOS phone only working for up to 8 hours during a power failure, has not caused us any problems so far, but still a concern. Have considered getting a UPS to power the ONT but have not done so yet. Also, we do have cell phones, so if I can just convince my wife we really don't need to have a land line any longer I may drop it to reduce cost, as both of our sons have done.

As to keeping your phone on copper, I know from internet postings that some people have been able to convince Verizon to do that. I don't know whether Verizon will still do that, but it certainly can't hurt to ask them to.

3) TV: Once again, very satisfied, but with a few "wish it was better" issues. I am very happy with the channel lineup, including HD, but of course like most I would like to see more HD channels. The Guide data is fairly often inaccurate, I wish Verizon would switch to a different data provider. And yes, the DVR hard drive is too small, but in the last week there have been some pretty "official" statements from Verizon that we will be able to attach external drives soon.

Be careful about how many STBs you need. In my view you really need one STB per TV, but that is not strictly true as you can connect two or even three TVs to one STB (all TVs see the same channel). But if you want the flexability to watch what you want on any TV, including things like the premium channels you may get, then I think you should plan on getting one STB per TV (if you later decide you don't need all of the STBs you can easily return one or two).

OK, that is what I think. As I said at the beginning, I am a very satisfied customer, and plan to keep FiOS as long as I live here. Hope this helps.

__________________________________
Justin
Verizon FiOS TV, Internet, and phone
QIP6416-P1, IMG 1.7.1, Build 09.97
Keller, TX 76248

GaryDoug
Specialist - Level 1

I don't know why he could not keep his old POTS line. I did for a month before deciding to cancel the old line. They were perfectly happy to let me pay for both. (That decision was a bit of a mistake because the switchover went badly and took several days.) Two months later, I still have the copper line from the house to the pole and the TNI box on the side of the house. Someday they might come get it.

He could just sign up for Double Play (TV + Internet) instead of Triple Play couldn't he?

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spacedebris
Master - Level 2

@GaryDoug wrote:

I don't know why he could not keep his old POTS line. I did for a month before deciding to cancel the old line. They were perfectly happy to let me pay for both. (That decision was a bit of a mistake because the switchover went badly and took several days.) Two months later, I still have the copper line from the house to the pole and the TNI box on the side of the house. Someday they might come get it.

He could just sign up for Double Play (TV + Internet) instead of Triple Play couldn't he?


Verizon doesnt want you to keep your POTS line. Its too expensive to maintain, its antiquated, and its worth more as scrap. So when they install FIOS, officially POTS is no longer available and in some area's they actually remove the old copper lines. Now in a few area's they will let you have "mixed" service. Fios for Data and Video, and copper for phone. But this is exception rather than the rule however. Now if you have a documented medical condition. Something like a heart monitor or life alert system or something like that, they will give you an exception to keep the old copper line. But this must be well documented. Also in some cases, law enforcement will require copper lines, usually for home arrest ankle bracelet systems. So you could always get arrested to keep your copper line. LOL!  But in most cases, you will not be able to keep the copper lines. In fact most new construction area's within the Verizon Fios footprint will not even have copper installed to the neighborhood. Fiber is not even a choice in those cases, its a requirement.

alden
Contributor - Level 1

I have Verizon ladline Freedom Essentials, Verizon DSL and DirectTV. And I will gladly, without a second of doubt switch to FIOS when it will be available . ( actually Sept. 1 it will be avalable for me).

1.  DSL.

the worst service you can imagine. Very slow ( max. I can get is 700k because I am very far from station), very unreliable, just terrible. Plus I am loosing it from time to time because really old undergound wires and despite my many attempts to force verizon to fix the problem by replacing underground wires - nothing happens. So FIOS Internet 25/25 is like comparing brand new Mazeratti and beaten down, 30 year old, million miles on it, Oldsmobile.

2 Landline telephone. generally OK as phone is not as sensitive to old cooper wires as Internet.

3. DirectTV is good enough but rain/snow/high wind sensitive. Heavy rain or snow and signal lost. I would not tell it's happening often but still it's happenning. I watched FIOS HD at my friends house and I can tell you pic. quality is really

amazing, vizibly better then DirectTV piture.

Finally cost.

I compared all the prices I am paying now with what I will pay after switching to FIOS. Pretty much the same prices what I am paying now +/- $10 when I switch. But the difference with Internet spped, more channels with FIOS TV then with DirectTV, for me is no brainer. The only complaint is really outdated DVR with only 20 hours recording of HD, but considering that 1.9 soft will finally support external.ESATA HD and new 320MB DVR is  coming soon this is solvable problem.

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funhouse69
Newbie

I have been a FIOS Voice / Internet Subscriber for about 5 years now... When I first signed up they did not offer TV in my town due to an issue with the town asking for outrageous demands so I ended up going with Direct TV which at the time had the best HD Service and of course after signing up with the 2 year commitment Verizon offered TV within months. Since I went with Direct TV I wasn't in any hurry to switch since you have to invest a pretty good amount of money in the hardware.

Anyway after years and years of being with Direct TV and my DVRs starting to have issue and not wanting to invest anymore money on them I am looking to switch over but also had some questions.

I did see the Engadget article about the expected updtates / capabilities coming sometime in the 4th quarter. At this point there is no way I could live with the stoarge offered on the DVR since I have 3 Direct TV DVR's all of which have 750GB or larger external drives on them with none of them having more then 50% free space so I will have to wait until the upgrades become offical

One thing I haven't seen mentioned is wether or not the HD DVRs have DLB (Dual Live Buffers) or not. this was something standard on my old TiVO's (which I miss dearly) and Direct TV only added this functionality recently but their DVR's are so underpowered and sluggish as it is, this only makes it worse.

Just in case I am not describing this properly DLB means you can switch between the two tuners and each one keeps buffering in the background so you can rewind / pause each of them up to the limit of the buffer which for Direct TV is 1.5 hours.

Thanks in advance

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alden
Contributor - Level 1

For funhouse69

As fas as I know there is no DLB function on Verizon DVR, and I doubt this function will be in newer DVR which suppose to come end of this or early next year.  maybe new 1.9 software which is also coming soon may deal with this?

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spacedebris
Master - Level 2

Ok how about another opinion from another happy customer.

I have two services. As I maintain two houses.

In house 1 I have Verizon Fios for everything except for phone. Quite frankly, I have been using my cell as my primary phone so much that I almost never used my landline. So I just shut it down completely. I can charge my cell in my car or with my generator, so phone service is not a concern

In house 2 I have ATT DSL for internet and Direct TV for video. (Verizon not available here) Again no home phone, just cell. I've got what they call "dry loop" DSL that does not require a home phone.

Now with Verizon. I am completely satisfied. No other service has ever given me the reliability that Verizon has. And I've had quite a few. For the internet. This like everyone said, is really a no brainier. Anyone who actually uses internet for something more than just browsing or email will see this immediately. The ATT DSL is inconsistent on speed, is constantly going down or they are having routing issues on the ATT network. Its so bad that I'm actually considering switching to Comcrap for internet at that house, and that should tell you something Smiley Wink. My Fios internet and I've had it for nearly 3 years now has always been reliable and I've never had cause to even question my speeds. Now of course there are the occasional internet fluctuations but you get that everywhere, thats just a fact of life with internet. But nothing that lasted more than an hour or two at a time. The email, I dont use Verizon email. I have Yahoo and Gmail and are completely happy with them so why change? LOL. Anyone not happy with Verizon email, dont use it. There are dozens of free email systems out there, find one you like and go with it. Its not like Verizon or any ISP forces you to use their system you know.

On the TV side. With both DTV and Verizon, I have every channel with the exception of the Adult channels and Specialty Sports packages. So all these "Channel re-alignments" going on do not affect me.

DTV has the advantages in Sports. Especially with Football. I have had DTV for going on 12 years now. I am completely satisfied and would happily recommend them. Now I also live in California, we do not have weather. So I dont have to worry about rain or snow knocking out the signal. They have large storage on the DVR, although I do not like the menu/guide set up on DTV. But this is just a personal thing.

Fios has the advantage in Picture and Sound quality. Nothing beats Verizon's picture in my opinion. DTV is VERY good, but when seeing it side by side with Verizon, there just is no comparison. Verizons VOD is also much better IMO.

They both have great channel selections and HD content. I'd say DTV has a slight advantage in the number of HD channels, but only a slight advantage.

Now all that being said. I dont leave either setup as "stock". I treat my home systems the same way I treat my truck. I buy the stock version then customize it so it is the way I want it. On both Verizon and DTV, I prefer TIVO for my DVR. So I replaced one DVR in my Verizon house with a TIVO, and two of my DVR's with TIVO at the DTV house. Also in my Verizon house, I dont like the Verizon router, so I went out and purchased the equipment I needed to be able to use my own router. Now I did loose the ability to program my Fios DVR from the web page and I lost the caller ID on TV, but I didnt want them anyway so no loss as far as I'm concerned. So I dont have a "Fios" setup or a "DTV" setup. I have hybrid connections at home. But this depends on how much work you want to put into it.

Hope this helps.

barowolf
Newbie

 I would think twice about switching to FIOS.  I have DISH at my vacation home and it works fine with the exception of when a particularly nasty storm blow over, I can lose picture for a few minutes.  Worst case is, I go to the DVR then.

I have FIOS at my home and am going to switch to Comcast.   FIOS is good as long as you don't have a  problem.  But once you do,  its almost impossible to get a live person to address the issue.   To wit, the wind blew down the service loop to my house.   Service was still on but the wire was on the ground across my yard.   I went online to get a number to call, they route you through this whole testing routine, only to tell you what you already know.  That the service is working and they won't generate a repair ticket.   I saw a service tech on the street  and alerted him to my problem and he told me that he cannot fix anything without a ticket.   And, he couldn't generate a ticket  for me,  I would have to call it in.   He couldn't give me a number to call either.    I finally wrote to a Verizon office and ultimately got some one to call me and send some one out to fix it. 

Subsequently, I had an issue with the Control box in the basement.  It was making a beeping noise, again, I was put through this awful diagnostic routine online, only to be told that the control box has a battery for when the power goes out that will keep my phone working and that that battery was bad.   They wanted me to buy another one for $45 and these batteries only have a 90 day warranty.   the original was only about a year old when it expired.

Another time, the TV remote went bad,  I went on line again and just wasted a lot of time, only to be told that it would cost me an addition $15 dollars for a new one.   What the heck am I paying a monthly fee for?

Anyway, I would keep the land line and look for another cable provider.   I am.

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LawrenceC
Moderator Emeritus

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