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I have recently tried both the VMS-1100 DVR and the VMS-4100 DVR. In addition to feature and performance differences (e.g. the VMS-4100 has: 4K support; faster menus; bluetooth remote with voice search and commands, instead of conventional IR remote with many buttons and spelled search), I also encountered some problems that perhaps others can learn from, and add their experience to the discussion. The info below is pertinent for many who are considering upgrading (or downgrading) their DVR.
The VMS-4100 would not pass through / encode / decode DD 5.1 surround sound channels properly, which some techs confirmed -- it deletes (at least) the center channel, which makes it almost useless for surround sound. Needs to be fixed, and hopefully will be fixed soon. More information from others with the same problem at: https://forums.verizon.com/t5/Fios-TV-Technical-Assistance/FiOS-TV-One-VMS4100-Audio-Pass-Through-On...
I myself went back to the VMS-1100 for now (the tech was lucky to still have one in the truck) just to be able to have surround sound work right. But later I noticed some HD picture quality issues with the VMS-1100, where dark areas in particular had a lot of cloudy artifacts and banding. This is apparently much improved with the newer VMS-4100, but I did not get a chance to test it myself. I found more information at the following thread (among others): https://forums.verizon.com/t5/Fios-TV-Technical-Assistance/Poor-Picture-Quality-on-Quantum-TV/td-p/8...
If you have information to add related to the links above, then I encourage you to post there on the appropriate thread. If you have other points of comparison to share, related to your experience with VMS-1100 vs. VMS-4100, then I hope you will add your posts here, to help inform the community. Both units provide a lot of capability. 🙂
I have to assume you are using a 4K TV with the VMS 1100 now. The 4100 was capable of upscaling 1080 to 4K, and has a pretty good detail and color enhancer built in that the 1100 doesn't. What you are probably seeing is upscaling artifacting from your 4K tv as it upscale the 1100 boxes 1080 to the 4K it needs to display. Do 1080 Bluray discs look much better than the Fios feed? Are you going through an av receiver that may be processing the video signal? Is your tv set to auto color space and SDR? Is the tv applying any large amounts of sharpening or noise filtering? Check in the 1100 menu and make sure the sharpness is not way up. You could also check in the service menu on the 1100 to see if the HDMI settings are for 1080p, 1080i or somehow went to a lower resolution or 4:2:0 color.
I saw the picture quality issues with the VMS-1100 on a native resolution 1080p HD TV (not 4K or HDR), with various recorded and live HD content from Fios TV, no receiver or switch in between, just direct HDMI to TV. This occurred with the VMS-1100's sharpness setting at 3 (medium, default), but with other sharpness settings as well. Its Video Format setting is 1080p 16:9 as it should be.
Although I have not been able to try Bluray disc, I did swap connection to my computer graphics card (no changes to TV settings), and using some good Youtube test videos at 1080p 60fps (like https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Y9nX0QHqzA), I saw very crisp picture quality, with none of the cloudy artifacts in dark areas like I saw with HD content from FiOS TV. (With the FiOS TV content, when close to the screen, it looks like I am watching the film through a dirty window, but the dirt shifts from scene to scene. Note that bright content isn't generally a problem, it is the darker scenes where the problem is most noticeable.) With the computer test, I did see some reasonable and predictable banding where the content had very fine gradients (since no 4K or HDR), but not the bigger splotchy banding that I see with some of the FiOS TV content.
I thought that perhaps these are just sad compression losses with FiOS TV content, as I am new to FiOS TV. But some others have reported that the VMS-4100 resolves picture quality issues like this (unfortunately with a surround sound issue instead). So unless the newer boxes are getting a less-compressed stream, it appears to be an issue with the VMS-1100 itself. Can anyone say whether the streams going to VMS-4100 boxes are tailored to be less compressed than those sent to VMS-1100 boxes? I would assume they are the same stream, and the rest is what the box is doing.
Same stream, but the 4100 has much better processing and enhancing built in. If I can picture what you are saying to does sound like noise from the compression the 1100 box doesnt handle well. Never had an 1100, went from 7000 series to 4100, which does have better PQ, but as you said, poor audio. Tough decision for now, but I have been told Verizon is working on the audio passthrough option. No timeframes yet....