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Fiber TV Install and Experience

kdawson posted more than 7 years ago | from the bye-bye-cable dept.

225

SkinnyGuy writes "The same guy who brought you the Fiber to the Premises (FTTP), FiOS broadband installation process, now brings you a detailed look at the FiOS TV install. He's thrilled and apparently couldn't be happier to say goodbye forever to Cable TV. There's a lengthy story and interesting slideshow." From the article: "I chuckled a bit to myself. After all these years of the phone company having to lease out and let competitors use its phone lines and utility poles, Verizon was using a competitor's wiring (and the work they did to run it into my house). Sorry, Cablevision."

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Frist Post (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17224558)

I am going to be looking in to this more as I am in am area that offers this FIOS service. Looks very interesting.

Re:Frist Post (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17224704)

i tried to install fiber tv and i ended up with the gout.

Re:Frist Post (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17225184)

What's the point of posting anonymously if you're going to mention your name in the subject line, Senator Frist?

Re:Frist Post (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17225708)

I did it because the Internet Usage Policy at my work won't allow me to log in...

FIOS is GREAT!!! (5, Interesting)

linuxgurugamer (917289) | more than 7 years ago | (#17224642)

I had FIOS installed a month ago. Right now only internet is available, I'm just waiting for Verizon to get permission from the state to start offering TV. I can't wait. Comcast thinks that they can do things with impunity, such as dropping channels, moving channels around, adding new service (and charging more), etc. The day after Verizon announces FIOS TV, I'm ordering it.

Competition is GREAT!!! (5, Interesting)

TWX (665546) | more than 7 years ago | (#17224854)

Honestly the problems with the cable provider have little to do with the technology and more to do with the cable provider having a de-facto monopoly on the distribution grid. Competition does wonderful things for forcing companies to provide what consumers want and to keep them in line, as consumers have the option of still getting similar services from someone else.

If too many people change to another provider as you have done then that provider might eventually take on the attitude that your old provider had. When that happens, assuming that there is another option then people will switch to that provider instead.

Re:Competition is GREAT!!! (3, Interesting)

metamatic (202216) | more than 7 years ago | (#17224918)

Indeed. I saw a report that statistically, towns which have 2 competing cable companies have cable rates that average 9% lower than towns where there's a cable monopoly.

Re:Competition is GREAT!!! (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 7 years ago | (#17225088)

Do they vary rates that much? In the UK, some areas have two cable companies (I think some even have three), and some have none. All of the cable companies, however, offer the same rates nationwide. I would have thought that they would at least keep them the same state-wide in the US.

Re:Competition is GREAT!!! (2, Informative)

Macthorpe (960048) | more than 7 years ago | (#17225244)

I assume you're talking about ntl: and Telewest.

The reason they have the same rates is because ntl: own Telewest...

Re:Competition is GREAT!!! (3, Interesting)

metamatic (202216) | more than 7 years ago | (#17225414)

I used to live in Cambridge, MA, right on the border with Somerville, MA. Our next door neighbors got their cable TV for $5 a month less than us from the same company, because they were in Somerville and had the option of moving to a competing company.

So yes, the cable TV companies really are that sleazy.

Re:Competition is GREAT!!! (1)

Slithe (894946) | more than 7 years ago | (#17225968)

So why couldn't you have just called and ordered their service? They probably had already laid the wires, so it should have been easy to set you up as well. Your local government fucked you over (as governments are wont to do) IMO.

Re:Competition is GREAT!!! (1)

metamatic (202216) | more than 7 years ago | (#17226662)

Because our house was legally in Cambridge, the cable company could make us pay the Cambridge rate. The competing service in Somerville weren't allowed to hook us up--I called them and asked. I pointed out that the cable ran to the corner of our house--the city boundary actually cut through the building. They said it didn't matter, they couldn't hook us up because we weren't legally resident in Somerville.

Re:FIOS is GREAT!!! (4, Interesting)

db32 (862117) | more than 7 years ago | (#17224962)

I can't wait for the phone companies to decide what VoIP networks are trying to take advantage of me and protect me with their own VoIP services. I mean I can't wait for them to try and "clean" up the internet so only fine upstanding companies in good standing can deliver their content to me...oh wait. I can't wait for them to decide what I can watch on TV...oh damn.

These companies are trying damned hard to be content providers because it changes alot of the rules, gives them ALOT more control, and basically lets them swing you around by your balls whenever they want and do it with the protection of the government. These companies are infrastructure, and need to be taught to stay the hell out of content. When they get in the business of content we get things like the Tiered internet, and commercials about how "Net Neutrality means the consumer pays more". I think them extending the fiber network to the home is definetly very cool, and definetly the way of the future, I just don't want them to be on either end of the fiber.

Re:FIOS is GREAT!!! (5, Insightful)

Control Group (105494) | more than 7 years ago | (#17225060)

Net Neutrality means the consumer pays more

I have to say, I was honestly shocked when I first saw this ad campaign. Perhaps my naivete is showing, but that's the only time I can recall seeing something I know to be a complete, bald-faced lie in an ad. Normally it's spin, shading, vague terminology, inapt comparisons, rigged tests, the works. But my jaw literally dropped when I heard that claim.

And of course, the problem is best illustrated by my fiancee, who had no idea why I'd be so amazed at such a statement until I explained to her what they were actually talking about.

We seriously need a contravening campaign - of course, good luck getting the cable company to show it.

Re:FIOS is GREAT!!! (1)

metamatic (202216) | more than 7 years ago | (#17225484)

Perhaps my naivete is showing, but that's the only time I can recall seeing something I know to be a complete, bald-faced lie in an ad.

I can only assume you haven't seen any political campaign ads.

Re:FIOS is GREAT!!! (-1, Troll)

Da_Weasel (458921) | more than 7 years ago | (#17226244)

Or a Bush speech about Iraq, terrorism, civil rights, or morals...lol

I shouldn't have been surprised, but I was. (5, Insightful)

Kadin2048 (468275) | more than 7 years ago | (#17225840)

Yeah I was pretty stunned by that, too. I guess I shouldn't have been, because it's probably going to work -- people don't expect commercials to flat-out lie to them, because of truth-in-advertising laws, so they'll probably believe that Net Neutrality is bad, because they saw it on TV.

Unless Google and some other deep-pocketed companies get together and start running some serious counter-advertising (and just running stuff on the Internet is not going to work; people who use the internet "recreationally" are almost all already sold on the idea of Net Neutrality, it's preaching to the choir), I think Congress is going to roll over and we're going to have a tiered Internet before people even know what happened to them.

I know a guy who works as an attorney for the telecom companies, actively working against Net Neutrality every day, and not even he would say something as cut-and-dried as "Net Neutrality means you'll pay more." Everything he says is the usual beating-around-the-bush lines that you'd expect, and that's the line I expected they'd maintain in the commercials. But they really decided to kick directly for the balls.

I suggest a counter-advertising campaign of "Telephone Companies Are Funding Al Qaeda" or perhaps "Comcast's Executives Worship Satan."

Re:I shouldn't have been surprised, but I was. (2, Funny)

Mattintosh (758112) | more than 7 years ago | (#17226312)

I suggest a counter-advertising campaign of "Telephone Companies Are Funding Al Qaeda" or perhaps "Comcast's Executives Worship Satan."

Ooh! Truthiness!

Re:FIOS is GREAT!!! (1)

DrSkwid (118965) | more than 7 years ago | (#17226278)

What happened when you complained to the advertising regulators ?

Re:FIOS is GREAT!!! (0, Troll)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 7 years ago | (#17225136)

gives them ALOT more control
Instead of capitalising your typos, perhaps you would make your point better if you simply corrected them.

Re:FIOS is GREAT!!! (3, Informative)

kilodelta (843627) | more than 7 years ago | (#17225678)

I'm so happy that Verizon has to ask for a franchise in every area in which they wants to supply video. Second - my cable provider is Cox. Not a bad deal at all and I loathe Verizon like there's no tomorrow. They've been responsible for all my major headaches from drowned DS1/HDSL carrier to botched installs, etc. Cox has its problems, don't get me wrong. But at least they're responsive. Here's what I suspect is going to happen. Verizon will roll in with nice cheap rates for voice/data/video and within a 6 to 12 month period those rates will rise sharply. Then once they know they've got you on a contract, you're up the creek without a paddle. It's typical incumbent behavior on the part of Verizon as they still play from the Ma Bell handbook. What they don't realize is that other players in the market don't play by the same book, hence why Verizon has lost 30-40% of its customers in the last couple of years. That's a pretty big hit and they're way over extended with the expense of stringing fiber. And they're cherry picking areas where they actually string fiber. That won't help them.

FIOS is GREAT -- no Verizon TV in most of PA. (1)

WidescreenFreak (830043) | more than 7 years ago | (#17226006)

Here in Pennsylvania our incompetent legislature decided to be a bunch of f**ktards and denied Verizon state-wide permission to provide TV over fibre. So, now Verizon needs to negotiate with all 660+ of Pennsylvania's municipalities individually. (Gee, I wonder if the fact that Comcast is headquartered in Philadelphia has anything to do with it.) This is different than what Verizon did with Texas and a few other states where they were granted state-wide permission to offer TV.

I just had FiOS installed this past Saturday and it definitely is incredible! I'm getting 15Mb down (confirmed) and 2Mb up (averaging at 1.8Mb up) for less than Comcast high-speed Internet. I wish Verizon would get to my municipality. I'm fed up with Comcast.

how is the compression? (3, Interesting)

alen (225700) | more than 7 years ago | (#17224662)

anyone know? On my Time Warner HD channels most shows are pretty good but a lot of times you can see pixels

Re:how is the compression? (3, Informative)

RebornData (25811) | more than 7 years ago | (#17224826)

For standard def TV, the compression is unnnoticeable... we switched from DirecTV, and it was a huge quality improvement.

On the other hand, some of the high-def channels do have very noticeable compression. I see it particularly when watching NOVA -- there are glaring blocky compression artifacts in complex, fast moving scenes (espcially scientific visualization graphics). However, this is not widespread- I haven't noticed it during major network prime-time viewing, nor with sporting events. So I'm guessing their throttling the bandwidth on the local PBS station (or get a very compressed feed from them).

-R

Re:how is the compression? (2, Interesting)

Jerf (17166) | more than 7 years ago | (#17225438)

Because of the fact that the harder you compress the channels, the more you can push down the wire, the cable companies have every incentive to push the compression to the limit, and then push a bit more. You have to be a videophile/audiophile to realize what is being done, but subjectively, everybody I've asked about this correctly does say that DirectTV does seem to lack a bit of the pop or crispness of the analog signal. And then there are the pathological cases where it's obvious that it sucks.

Unfortunately, despite the fact that digital should be wildly superior to analog, this drive to squeeze the life out of every channel means I am totally not looking forward to our all-digital future. I'd pretty much rather have sharp, full-bandwidth analog than digitally-washed-out HDTV.

(Early in the adoption curve you tend to see more bits thrown at HDTV. I'd bet HDTV looks a lot better right now. As more content goes to HDTV, expect to see the HDTV channels get degraded, too.)

Contrast this to DVDs and disc technology in general, where once you've committed to printing a disc of a certain kind (i.e., number of layers), you might as well fill the disc up completely. There is no incentive to skimp on the bits.

Re:how is the compression? (1)

metamatic (202216) | more than 7 years ago | (#17225554)

Our DirecTV SD channels are better than our neighbors' analog cable. I don't have DirecTV HD because they want $10 a month for the 1 channel I'd watch.

FIOS TV seems to have the same problem. It looks like it's exactly the same price as DirecTV, and still makes me pay for all the news and sports channels I never watch. Not really a compelling upgrade.

It doesn't have to be that way. (3, Insightful)

Kadin2048 (468275) | more than 7 years ago | (#17226290)

Because of the fact that the harder you compress the channels, the more you can push down the wire, the cable companies have every incentive to push the compression to the limit, and then push a bit more.

At least as I understand it, most Video-over-IP systems (which may or may not include FiOS, I don't really know that much about how it works) ought to be a little more resistant to that, because they don't transmit all the channels simultaneously as cable does.

There is an incentive to over-compress on cable TV systems because that's the only way to add more channels. If you want to go from 150 channels to 300 channels, and you're already using all the bandwidth, you need to compress each one at 2:1 in order to squeeze more in.

IP based systems don't work this way, because they only transmit down the wire the channel that you're watching. That's not to say that your entire connection is used to transmit that one channel (because that would prohibit having more than one tuner per household, or doing things like TiVO-style watch+record or PiP, which would put them at a disadvantage compared to cable), but it's not transmitting all the channels, all the time. When you want to change channels a command is sent upstream and you get a different feed hooked up at the head-end. So each channel can take a much larger percentage of the total bandwidth than on a cable system, at least theoretically. I think in practice, both IPTV companies and cable companies will compromise on some sort of de facto standard quality, which they think is just enough to not cause a person on a SDTV to get too pissed off. That's the way they work -- they'll deliver the bare minimum necessary to prevent people from switching, and not an ounce more.

Reading the FiOS article [wikipedia.org] on Wikipedia, it seems as though Verizon's system in addition to the upstream and downstream data channels, also has a separate and distinct channel (1550nm) for RF video overlaid on an optical carrier. So conceivably they could be using data circuits for switching, and then send the video down the RF channel. This seems somewhat unlikely, but who knows.

In theory anyway, a circuit-switched system like that offered by optical fiber could give more quality with an equal or greater number of channels than conventional cable. It also makes the addition of On Demand services or additional channels relatively simple, since an additional channel doesn't require an allocation of 'to the curb' bandwidth when it's not being watched by anyone. In practice though, I expect Fiber-based and coax-based TV services to sink to the same levels of mediocrity.

Re:It doesn't have to be that way. (4, Interesting)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 7 years ago | (#17226646)

Reading the FiOS article on Wikipedia, it seems as though Verizon's system in addition to the upstream and downstream data channels, also has a separate and distinct channel (1550nm) for RF video overlaid on an optical carrier. So conceivably they could be using data circuits for switching, and then send the video down the RF channel. This seems somewhat unlikely, but who knows.

My understanding is that it's not switched per say. Each fiber coming out of the CO is passively split into X number of fibers (32?) in the neighborhood that then go to the individual houses. Downstream is sent to everybody (encrypted - your terminal ignores packets not addressed to it) and upstream is shared with a TDMA scheme. With that setup I would assume that all the channels are being pushed down that fiber all the time -- regardless of what the end users are watching.

Quantum fibre TV (3, Funny)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 7 years ago | (#17224684)

You turn on your tv to watch your favorite show only to discover that channel surfing collapsed the wave and moved it to a different day.

Damn fibre!

In reality, we have had fibre for years here in england (NTL) and its nice and stable (apart from when its not).

Re:Quantum fibre TV (1)

Ramble (940291) | more than 7 years ago | (#17225282)

"In reality, we have had fibre for years here in england (NTL) and its nice and stable (apart from when its not)."

What on Earth are you talking about? NTL is a cable company, not fibre, no NTL connected house is connected by fibre. The only similarity is that it offers TV/Phone/Internet in one package.

Re:Quantum fibre TV (1)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 7 years ago | (#17226034)

Our streets are lined with fibre and I have had fibre into my home for years.

More info here [ntl.com] :

# We provide the latest services through our state-of-the-art fibre optic cable network. You don't need a dish and installation is easy.

Re:Quantum fibre TV (1)

prog99 (319739) | more than 7 years ago | (#17226426)

I thought the fibre went as far as the green box on the street and from then it was copper to your house?

Am I the only one? (4, Interesting)

drwtsn32 (674346) | more than 7 years ago | (#17224694)

I love my cable company. In fact I am considering switching *away* from Verizon telephone service and getting Charter's phone service. I have digital cable through them (including about 10 HD channels and on demand), plus 6M/1M internet service. Everything works great, and when I call to make adjustments to my service they are always very helpful.

I feel sorry for this guy moving everything to Verizon. My experience with them has been less than stellar.

Re:Am I the only one? (1)

drwtsn32 (674346) | more than 7 years ago | (#17224724)

Oops, I actually have 10M/1M service, not 6M/1M.

Re:Am I the only one? (5, Funny)

DragonMageWTF (887275) | more than 7 years ago | (#17224810)

But at least he can take comfort that their (Verizon's) math will be spot on.

No problems with Comcast (1)

everphilski (877346) | more than 7 years ago | (#17224906)

I had Comcast for 2 years before I moved (to an area they don't service yet... now I have Knology, which is more expensive and flakier :/). I had no problems with them. The only time service dropped for anything other than a power outage was due to a bird nesting in the cable box - and it was fixed promptly (the next morning, as I left for work).

My only complaints wrt cable in general is not being able to get internet apart from television. As little TV as my wife and I watch I think we could get by without the $39.99/month television bill.

Re:No problems with Comcast (1)

TransDermNitro (264204) | more than 7 years ago | (#17224954)

Sign up for Basic Cable then. It's only $12.95 a month. Carries only what's over the air plus a couple others and carries the HD signals of the over the air, but you'll need a QAM tuner to decode them.

Re:No problems with Comcast (1)

winnabago (949419) | more than 7 years ago | (#17225386)

This is exactly what I do, even though I am able to get many local digital stations through the ether, with my lil antenna. In a city, this can work quite well. To check any location, I use antennaweb.org, which is still going strong and quite accurate.

I just wanted to add to your description, for those in the market for this option, in that you will have better luck searching for "ATSC tuner". Not even the best Radio Shack staffers will understand QAM. And Comcast calls it "broadcast cable", be persistent if they give you trouble.

Re:No problems with Comcast (1)

winnabago (949419) | more than 7 years ago | (#17225544)

And here's a link [mydtv45.com] , although I don't use this one, so I can't vouch for it.

8VSB != 256-QAM (1)

Kadin2048 (468275) | more than 7 years ago | (#17226596)

I don't think that an ATSC tuner will decode in-the-clear QAM channels, if it's not a hybrid ATSC/QAM device. A lot of HD tuner cards for PCs will do both, but some won't. I have definitely seen ATSC tuners that would not do QAM, because they were only designed for decoding 8/16-VSB and not 256-QAM. Asking for an ATSC tuner when you want something you can plug into your cable line to decode unencrypted QAM broadcasts may be setting yourself up for disappointment.

If the terms that Radio Shack staff will understand are going to be the most specific ones we can use, we are seriously in trouble. I'll bet half the people at my local store couldn't tell you the difference between a resistor and a capacitor if you put a gun to their head.

Re:No problems with Comcast (1)

everphilski (877346) | more than 7 years ago | (#17226528)

Knology has basic cable?

Re:No problems with Comcast (1)

GeckoX (259575) | more than 7 years ago | (#17225212)

Is it not illegal to force an unrelated service on someone?

I'm quite certain that in Canada at least this is the case. The cable companies were forced to provide internet service with no requirement for paying for cable tv as well. This happened years ago now.

Re:No problems with Comcast (1)

misleb (129952) | more than 7 years ago | (#17225656)

Is it not illegal to force an unrelated service on someone?


Why would it be illegal? You're not being forced. You don't have to buy their package. It isn't like TV is an essential service. And if you don't want their internet, go DSL or dialup.

It would be GREAT if cable companies would offer much more granular service, but the reality is that they don't. If I want cable, I have to pay for 100+ channels even though I'd only watch like 4 of them. I don't have cable (or any other TV service) for that very reason, actually.

-matthew

Re:No problems with Comcast (1)

GeckoX (259575) | more than 7 years ago | (#17225902)

Um, being forced to pay for phone service you don't want to get internet service...but that's somehow not forcing...hmmm, I'm having trouble following that logic.

Particularly if you live somewhere where it's a one corp show.

Forcing a minimum TV subscription to get TV service, not the same thing at all.

Are you actually suggesting you see no problem with this? No wonder they do it, because there are enough suckers out there to buy into it with no questions asked.

That's fine and all, but what is the point behind trying to convince people that this is _right_? Please stop already.

Re:No problems with Comcast (1)

OldeTimeGeek (725417) | more than 7 years ago | (#17225360)

According to the Comcast rep I talked with, you can get Internet service without the cable box. It just costs you more than the normal $59. I didn't ask how much, 'cause I already have Comcast cable, but I figure it's about $5/mo for account fees, about $1/mo for the the little $2 splitter that they use and another $10/mo for the "we really don't want to do that but we have to and we're gonna make you pay for us to be flexible" fee.

Re:No problems with Comcast (1)

massysett (910130) | more than 7 years ago | (#17225872)

You can get Internet only. However, the surcharge is slightly *more* than it costs to just get the basic cable (which has the major networks, public access, and CSPAN.) So you might as well just get the basic cable. Seems to me to be some sort of scheme Comcast uses to push up its subscriber numbers.

Re:Am I the only one? (1)

gertam (1019200) | more than 7 years ago | (#17224938)

I would never do business with Verizon because years ago, when I canceled my landline phone service to switch to cell only, they gave me 1 week to pay the last bill before they sent a collection agency after me. The agency had the balls to call me AT WORK. I was furious. I will NEVER do any business with Verizon again.

Re:Am I the only one? (1)

chrismcdirty (677039) | more than 7 years ago | (#17224960)

Where I live (northern DE), our only choices so far are Comcast for cable, Verizon for DSL or fiber in most neighborhoods. Neither of them have great customer service, so it comes down to whichever one is less expensive.

Re:Am I the only one? (1)

Control Group (105494) | more than 7 years ago | (#17225004)

I, on the other hand, have had a strikingly different experience with Charter.

I've had them for about a year and a half now, since moving to Madison. Up until last month, their digital cable UI was, in a word, awful. One time slot on screen at a time, the left third of the screen taken up with banner ads, and no way to see what was going on in the show that you were watching at the time. Thankfully, this has been updated to a better system.

It still doesn't default the channel menu to the channel you're currently on, so you have to either curse down to it, or enter the digits. And, since the response time of the box to the remote is so slow, either is an unnecessarily painful process.

Their pricing is asinine. For a 3Mbps/768Kbps connection, they want $52.99/mo. If you bundle it with mid-tier (no premium content) digital cable and Charter's VOIP, you can get the whole package for $99.99. Plus fees and taxes. Plus rental on a second box, plus additional rental on the HD box for the main TV. Plus an additional fee (~$10, I think) for HD content (all eight channels of it, including the ones I can get in higher quality OTA). So it comes in at ~$130.

The VOIP service is crap, compared to POTS service - I haven't used other VOIP solutions, so I can't speak to them. Dialing the voice mail is a 14-keypress operation (10-digit phone number, wait for the prompt, 4-digit passcode. There is no way, according to the tech, to shortcut this process, even from the home handset). When answering calls, there's ~2 seconds of line noise before thing sync up. Luckily, we only got VOIP because, as part of the package, it doesn't cost anything extra - my fiancee and I use our cells as our primary phones.

Their service has been far less than stellar. Last time I called (to troubleshoot an issue with our box; they, apparently, hadn't listened to the tech when he told them to set us up with an HD box), I was on hold for 90 minutes. Their setup process for email addresse on their web site failed every time I tried it. Emails to their support staff resulted in no response for three days. After three days, I got an automated email apologizing for them not getting back to me. When I tried calling in, I gave up after 60 minutes of hold time. A second email to support turned out the same as the first. I admit to a degree of laziness on this one, I've since given up trying; I don't want a charter.net email address that badly.

Unfortunately, we're only planning in staying in our apartment until next summer, and all their "competition" requires 12-month contracts. So they are, currently, the lesser of two evils. But that doesn't make them any less evil.

Re:Am I the only one? (2, Insightful)

vertinox (846076) | more than 7 years ago | (#17225006)

I love my cable company. In fact I am considering switching *away* from Verizon telephone service and getting Charter's phone service.

It appears you haven't had to deal with Comcast.

To make a good Slashdot analogy.

Comparing Comcast with Verizon is akin to comparing Sauron with Saruman.

Sure they are both evil, but I'd rather deal with Saruman if I had to choose one or the other. Considering he is more human and would be satisfied with mortal acquisitions rather than Sauron's desire to destroy the world as we know it.

Hope that made sense.

Re:Am I the only one? (1)

sammy baby (14909) | more than 7 years ago | (#17226352)

I have to say, I've had the opposite experience. Many times in the past I've felt like Verizon was screwing me simply for the enjoyment of it. While I've had tons of problems with Comcast in the past, calling their tech support has always resulted at the very least in a "we're lowering your bill this month by X," result, where X = whatever service isn't working right.

If I have to choose between two incompetent bureaucracies, I'm going to choose the one that doesn't punish me for it.

Re:Am I the only one? (1)

bahwi (43111) | more than 7 years ago | (#17225032)

Everyone is good and bad depending where you are. I had comcast, never had any trouble, then Time Warner got into the market here in DFW and when they switched us to "RoadRunner" I had no internet for a week, and the programming update reset my HD box to only output non HD controls(so no guide or menu whatsoever on the HD output). Calling them ALL WEEK I spent on hold for about four hours, and I never got to talk to anyone useful. Eventually my internet came back up, it was out Friday night thru Monday afternoon, not the first monday, the next Monday, so really a little over a week. When I did talk to someone, "We're upgrading our service right now, there may be outages" doesn't excuse a week without internet at home. I had to dial up through T-Mobile, which, as you know, does not compare to Cable or DSL. I work from home, so I'm kicking them to the curb, getting Speakeasy DSL for Biz, which has been on order for well over a month at this point.

But I loved comcast. Oh, and when Time Warner became comcast down in Houston, no problems what so ever.

So, it's different everywhere you are. Yeah, it's "migration pains" or whatever but a busy signal for a week, no internet, and no one who could tell me why or give me an ETA, is not acceptable. Cable TV goes out with it, because I haven't been able to watch it catching up on work. I'll just get a mac mini and an iTunes subscription thank you very much.

But, if I still had comcast, I'd still be with them. Although FiOS is supposed to be much faster. (ooh, and now that my internet is working again with TWC, it's about 3/4 the speed it once was).

Re:Am I the only one? (1)

Johnny_Law (701208) | more than 7 years ago | (#17225084)

I love my cable company. In fact I am considering switching *away* from Verizon telephone service and getting Charter's phone service. I have digital cable through them (including about 10 HD channels and on demand), plus 6M/1M internet service. Everything works great, and when I call to make adjustments to my service they are always very helpful.

I feel sorry for this guy moving everything to Verizon. My experience with them has been less than stellar.


You arent the only one, but depending on the individual area the phone or cable lines or packages might be better or worse than other areas.

In my area the cable lines and their associated signal have great uptime, but there is a lot of bleed through from local OTA channels. If a FiOS or FttC option were available I would consider it because the current options leave a lot to be desired.

Between the two major satellite companies, a local cable company, and a phone company everyone should soon have at least 4 options for TV (and phone) service. Competition is good, and hopefully they will force each other to make better product offerings.

Re:Am I the only one? (1)

HeaththeGreat (708430) | more than 7 years ago | (#17225178)

Where are you located?

St. Louis Charter completely sucks. They have friendly customer server, but their DVR boxes are awful, and their internet is not reliable. I'd love to drop them, but its the best I can get in my location.

I used to live in Kansas City, and Time Warner Cable was great out there. I really miss them.

Re:Am I the only one? (1)

rtjohn (672608) | more than 7 years ago | (#17225522)

I'm in St. Louis also and i have had a SBC/Yahoo Dsl 3m/374k connection for almost 7 years and I've never had an outage. Never tried Charter I don't want to risk getting a crappy service.

Re:Am I the only one? (1)

derF024 (36585) | more than 7 years ago | (#17225240)

I love my cable company.

You've obviously never had to deal with Comcast, Time Warner, or Cablevision. Compared to those three, dealing with Verizon is a dream.

Two years ago I had Comcast for Internet and TV and was constantly fighting with them regarding both services. The Internet was dog slow and would routinely drop out for hours at a time. They'd simply acknowledge that they were having problems in my area and that the problem was being worked on. After about two months of that, I switched to Speakeasy for DSL, but had to stick with Comcast for TV since there was no other option. The Comcast digital TV service was snowy on every local channel, and I was told that that was the best quality service they had, and it had nothing to do with my TV or the lines inside my house. All this, and I was paying $70/month just for standard cable.

I switched to FiOS internet when it became available about 6 months ago, and to FiOS TV last month when it was approved by my town. FiOS TV ($30) and FiOS Internet ($40) are both way better quality than anything Comcast would ever offer, and Comcast would be charging me $120/month for similar services.

My past experiences with Time Warner and Cablevision were better, but still not as good as Verizon. Cablevision's Optimum Online was *fast* but routinely dropped out and was expensive as hell. Time Warner's Roadrunner was dog slow but reliable and affordable.

-Fred

Re:Am I the only one? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17225582)

So you are the guy that is paying for Charter to call me 14 times a day to get their service. Thanks a lot buddy.

Re:Am I the only one? (1)

massysett (910130) | more than 7 years ago | (#17225934)

I know it's popular to bash cable operators, but I've never had any major problems with Comcast. No company is perfect. Their tech support generally is incredibly stupid. Fortunately it seems their network engineers are more on the ball, as outages are rare and seldom last long. I would switch to Verizon if I had that option, because their upload speed is faster. Unfortunately the FiOS is not available in my apartment building, even though fiber is in the area generally.

Re:Am I the only one? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17226240)

I agree. It will be a cold day indeed before Verizon gets another penny of my money. Comcast isn't anywhere near as evil or annoying as Verizon.

Am I the only one? Yes you are (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17226382)

My cable reception (comcast) was lousy, getting worse over the last year. Reception on some channels was bad enough that TiVo couldn't record shows. Also almost every show had an audio lag at some point.

I've got fios (verizon) now. Every channel is crystal clear and the sound is great. The fact that the package of 180 channels I have is cheaper than what I was paying for far fewer cable channels is also nice.

Known Carcinogen? (5, Funny)

Average_Joe_Sixpack (534373) | more than 7 years ago | (#17224744)

My cable representative told me that FiOS causes cancer ... is this true?

Re:Known Carcinogen? (2, Funny)

Gospodin (547743) | more than 7 years ago | (#17224848)

Warning: Using FiOS may result in drowsiness, loss of appetite, nausea, uncontrolled bleeding, headaches, back pain, skin rash, hair loss, itching, athlete's foot, sore throat, blurred vision, tinnitus, and/or dry mouth. Do not use FiOS before operating heavy machinery or driving. FiOS should not be used with meals.

Re:Known Carcinogen? (2, Funny)

Tumbleweed (3706) | more than 7 years ago | (#17225064)

Also: FiOS may stick to certain types of skin.

Do not taunt FiOS.

Re:Known Carcinogen? (2, Funny)

WidescreenFreak (830043) | more than 7 years ago | (#17226106)

That might be true; but based on my experience with Comcast if you stick with cable you're likely to get an insatiable yet uncontrollable need to bend over and grab your ankles resulting in a severe case of rectal bleeding. Just by coincidence, this malady often flares up on a monthly basis when the cable bill arrives in the mail. Must be an allergic reaction to something in the ink that they use.

Monopoly (2, Insightful)

PaisteUser (810863) | more than 7 years ago | (#17224844)

Didn't he tell Cablevision in TFA that he wanted to get away from a monopolistic operation? Isn't Verizon just another monopolistic company that wants to lock you in?

Re:Monopoly (1)

skiingyac (262641) | more than 7 years ago | (#17224882)

2 big companies offering the same services (finally) != monopoly

Whether they will engage in price fixing is of course another story.

Re:Monopoly (1)

Morinaga (857587) | more than 7 years ago | (#17225782)

They don't have to engage in price fixing technically. They can play the same game that other services and retailers do and just play the one-up game on costs. Cable already does this with satellite.

Oh, here's your price hike Verison customers. http://www.businessweek.com/ap/financialnews/D8LRI M5G1.htm [businessweek.com]

Re:Monopoly (2, Interesting)

michrech (468134) | more than 7 years ago | (#17224972)

Didn't he tell Cablevision in TFA that he wanted to get away from a monopolistic operation? Isn't Verizon just another monopolistic company that wants to lock you in?

The fact that his cable provider now has competition in the TV area (and possibly phone, I don't recall from his previous article) automatically removes monopoly status from them. They now have incentive to improve service, rates, offer new technology, etc, where they had none of this incentive before. This can be very good for his town.

If CableVision doesn't improve, they will quickly see their customer base dwindle and it will be their own fault.

FIOS (3, Insightful)

RaboKrabekian (461040) | more than 7 years ago | (#17224920)

Every time a story mentions FIOS I have to post to say how desperately I want it. I [i]hate[/i] my cable company with a passion (Cablevision), and I can't install a dish. I'm in Brooklyn and am counting the days until FIOS is available.

Unfortunately, I have no idea how many days that will be.

Re:FIOS (1)

nine-times (778537) | more than 7 years ago | (#17225166)

Yeah, I have Cablevision in Brooklyn. The TV portion of the service is pretty bad. The Internet portion is fast enough, but they make you pay extra for them to allow ports 25 (either direction) and 80 (incoming), and you can't get a static IP under any circumstances. It's retarded.

Re:FIOS (1)

RaboKrabekian (461040) | more than 7 years ago | (#17225378)

Their customer service is terrible and I really just want to get away from them. FIOS has everything I want (minus NFL Sunday Ticket) and is cheaper and by all accounts better. I can't even seem to get Verizon DSL, though, so I have a suspicion that FIOS isn't anywhere near being available.

Re:FIOS (1)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 7 years ago | (#17225638)

I used to love NFL-ST. Then DTV slowly jacked the rates up to $300, and tacked on another $100 if you wanted it in HD. For $150-$200 it was kind of cool. For $400 I'll go do something else on Sundays.

FiOS much better than normal Verizion service (2, Interesting)

muyThaiBxr (141607) | more than 7 years ago | (#17224978)

I just made the switch to FiOS... I'm pretty happy with it.

So far, it's been like dealing with a totally different company when dealing with anything related to FiOS. They show none of their old nickel-and-diming that they did on the normal phone service, and they have been very responsive.

Not only that, when they got to my house, we didn't have a fiber drop to the house (it was at the end of the block), so the tech called his boss, who sent a truck full of people to dig the trench and run the line the rest of the way to the house (across several neighbors' yards). When they were done they cleaned it all up so well you wouldn't even know they had been there.

The combined install time for Cable and Fiber was about 6 hours I think, but I wasn't there for the whole thing.

Re:FiOS much better than normal Verizion service (1)

pid-3 (981944) | more than 7 years ago | (#17225142)

I've had FIOS for phone service for about a year and got the TV service about 4 months ago. I like them both very much and I think the TV picture quality is much better then Comcast. I get about 24 HD channels with a HD DVR and it's about 25.00 less a month then the equivalent Comcast service.

Meaningless for rural residents. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17225018)

We have yet to even see coax cable run where I live. Fiber? Pie in the sky man, pie in the sky.

This is only significant for people in modern urban areas.

Sometimes I think it might be best if I stopped fooling myself and move out past the power lines altogether. I think my quality of live would improve.

post captcha: "isolates" - sometimes I'd swear the damn slashdot captcha is psychic, its creepy.

business service and FIOS TV (0, Redundant)

SuperBanana (662181) | more than 7 years ago | (#17225034)

I've heard that you can't get business service and FIOS TV, because the TV box for some reason doesn't like having a static IP instead of DHCP. A friend was told that if he wanted TV and business service, he'd have to have two FIOS terminals installed, and it wasn't clear if that meant, for example, being billed for two complete sets of service, or what.

Sounds like either a typical technical blunder, or a great way to discourage home users from getting business class service.

Anyone?

Redundant (2, Funny)

djtachyon (975314) | more than 7 years ago | (#17225504)

I like your signature. I like your mod rating too.

metamoderation (-1, Redundant)

SuperBanana (662181) | more than 7 years ago | (#17226492)

...and I enjoy seeing what happens to the moderators who get meta-moderated into oblivion and lose their mod points. Unless it's the slashdot editors, trying to be funny.

My comment wasn't even remotely redundant- neither the article, nor any posters, mentioned this problem with FIOS TV.

Moo (1)

Chacham (981) | more than 7 years ago | (#17225040)

Fiber TVs?

Great! Now my TV dinners have fiber too.

Can you switch phone company later? (3, Interesting)

stilz2 (878265) | more than 7 years ago | (#17225076)

This is a little off-topic, but I guess it'd be helpful for those thinking about switching such as myself. There is a little disclaimer at the bottom of the FiOS ordering page, saying that once switched, we can't go back to DSL again because the wiring has been changed. Does this mean that we can't ever have DSL again even with another phone company, say AT&T? What about the phone service? Thanks.

Re:Can you switch phone company later? (1)

krakass (935403) | more than 7 years ago | (#17225376)

I don't have FIOS so I'm not talking from personal experience, but from what I've read, they remove the copper wiring when they install the fiber. So you no longer have the option. I'm not sure if you can tell them to leave the copper wiring there.

Re:Can you switch phone company later? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17225516)

The disclaimer is because the default FioS install is to also put your voice service over fiber, so that you are completely disconnected from the copper infrastructure. Verizon for at least the near future will not allow any company to provide any service over the fiber. However, I do believe you may request that your voice service not be swtiched over, and remain on the copper lines, despite having the fiber run to your house and using internet over fiber. If you have any future desire to go with non-Verizon DSL I would suggest exercising this option (not 100% the option exists, but pretty sure).

FYI - I've been able to ditch Comcast completely, now running FioS internet and TV and loving it.

I can't get FIOS (1)

kimvette (919543) | more than 7 years ago | (#17225146)

I can get FIOS neither at my office nor at home.

Verizon will only install FIOS in single-tenant buildings. I rent an apartment, and I rent space in an office suite. :(

WTF Verizon? Every time I try to come back there is always, ALWAYS a technical reason I can't come back.

And every time you send your reps to my place of business to sell me services, I inform your rep that you can't deliver what you're offering, they call to confirm (actually they call to prove me wrong and try to sell me the service) and find out that I've already inquired about the service and can't get it unless in a single-tenant building and/or (in the case of HIGH-speed DSL) am willing to settle for five or fewer non-consecutive IP addresses.

Government-guaranteed monopolies suck.

Re:I can't get FIOS (1)

Capt James McCarthy (860294) | more than 7 years ago | (#17225374)

Be thankful. Verizon is another Cable Company. They are crap. I guess I'm on of the only few who like to chose what I put up/down the bandwidth I am paying for. That is why I use Speakeasy. Wanna run a mail or web server on your home network? Not on Verizons network. I had a party when I got speakeasy's voip in the house and was albe to kick Verizons off of my property.

What's the point of FIOS TV... (1)

NoMoreNicksLeft (516230) | more than 7 years ago | (#17225188)

If you use coax to hook all the TVs up? Screw that.

Verizon oughtta start pumping out multicast MPEG2 over IP, and give everyone a small IPTV reciever with fiber gigabit port on the back. So. Fucking. Lame.

Re:What's the point of FIOS TV... (1)

geekboybt (866398) | more than 7 years ago | (#17225970)

I'm gonna guess it's because the coax is cheaper, already there, and has plenty of bandwidth within the house for what it needs.

Plus, it's digital anyways - why does the medium matter, as long as it works? The quality is the same.

Re:What's the point of FIOS TV... (1)

NoMoreNicksLeft (516230) | more than 7 years ago | (#17226584)

The "already there" stuff was bad. It's actually more expensive in bulk. And there is no such thing as "plenty of bandwidth".

DVD's are digital, too. And yet we're already seeing a format shift again, though they've only been around half as long as VHS was before it.

If you install fiber now, you never install anything again. Ever. The same glass that they run gigabit (or more likely in Verizon's half-assed case, ATM25) over will do terabit as soon as that becomes affordable. His grandchildren would be using it for petabit 50 years from now...

Cablevision is Scared (4, Interesting)

djtachyon (975314) | more than 7 years ago | (#17225350)

I have been living in upstate Jersey for about a year now. I have seen Cablevision frantically try and upgrade their systems to compete with the invading FIOS. My speeds on Cablevision tests at about 13Mb/1.8Mb which is close to their advertized 15Mb/2Mb. So not bad.

But, they have throttled me 3 times and have told me next time they will either not release the throttle or terminate my account. They have told me the throttle is a function of the processor load on the managed switch over time (wtf?). So I have to be very careful now. I have been referred to a section in the contract I was forced to agree to that states something very vague along the lines of "Cablevision reserves the right to do anything we want".

Verizon save me!

Verizon FIOS Speeds (1)

djtachyon (975314) | more than 7 years ago | (#17225402)

Oh by the way .. Verizon is still topping them. The local speeds for FIOS are 20Mbit/5Mbit for $45/mo.

Re:Cablevision is Scared (1)

Nasarius (593729) | more than 7 years ago | (#17225690)

But, they have throttled me 3 times and have told me next time they will either not release the throttle or terminate my account.
Yeah. 15KB/s up just isn't fun. I'd love to know if Verizon/Fios does this too. DSL isn't an option where I live.

Re:Cablevision is Scared (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17226248)

You weren't forced to agree to anything.

I've been working on this stuff for two years... (2, Interesting)

Jaysyn (203771) | more than 7 years ago | (#17225560)

Right as this article was posted I was starting to draft the fiber distribution plans for an area in the Journal Square C.O. in Hoboken, NJ.

yes please mod up his verizon bash...as we all.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17225668)

know this place hates the man...so which is going to be? do you hate the cable man? or the phone man?

well in my case they both consistently have offered exceptionally high quality service.

Why am I switching from cable man to phone man? Speed and price. I get 30/5 for 55$ and i can get better quality tv service for 35$ less per month with more channels and more premium content. I don't know about you but paying 65$ vs 100$ per month is very appealing.

And in case this was news.... for every horror story this is a highly successful story. I feel sorry for the man going back the cable man and his decade old infrastructure and capacity. For me I'll go the fiber phone man with virtually unlimited capacity....

Must Be Nice (*wistful sigh*) (1)

ewhac (5844) | more than 7 years ago | (#17225870)

So when can us schlubs on the San Francisco peninsula get fiber? The best we can get around here is 6000/768 DSL, or 8000/768 cable (but Comcast are jerks, and their TOS are laughably unrealistic, so they don't get my money).

Please dig up our street. I won't mind, honest. It won't even be that big a deal. Pacific Bell's... er, SBC's... Um, AT&T's central office is just a block and a half away.

Schwab

So what's the IP bandwidth like? (2, Interesting)

Animats (122034) | more than 7 years ago | (#17226038)

The article is all about receiving one-way broadcast video content. That's fine for the couch-potato crowd, but what do you get in Internet bandwidth?

Re:So what's the IP bandwidth like? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17226150)

I've got the 5 megabits/second FiOS, and it is absolutely, totally, solidly rock steady. Hasn't even gone bye-bye once since it was isntalled (both previous high-speed solutions, cable and DSL, did about once every few months). Niiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiice.

Fiber or HDTV (2, Interesting)

rizzle (848961) | more than 7 years ago | (#17226138)

To me, this guy seems to be mis-attributing his excitement to Fiber, when he's ready just excited to be getting HDTV for the first time.

That said, getting an HD feed is always great (especially the first time you see your new HDTV the way it was meant to be displayed).

Outside? (1)

anonieuweling (536832) | more than 7 years ago | (#17226222)

Why are the fibers etc mounted in a box outside of the home and then is the signal led into the home? This would be the same as hanging my NT-1 (for ISDN...) on the sidewalk.: not too wise.

Similar experiance (3, Informative)

jandrese (485) | more than 7 years ago | (#17226242)

I had FiOS internet installed a couple of years ago and the TV service installed over the summer in my home. I'll focus on the TV like the original article. I don't have a HD set, and I already owned a TiVo (with the lifetime subscription) so I just got the regular tuner box, not the DVR. Installation was pretty straight forward. My ONT was a little too old (it didn't have the sort of DOCSIS-like support that the modern ones have that allow the tuner boxes to call back and set up streaming video sessions), so I had to have a separate box installed on the network. It wasn't a problem, but it's the second wall plug Verizon has needed for FiOS (the first being on the ONT itself). Install took a couple of hours all told and the tech was very well informed and friendly. He didn't mind that I was using a TiVo instead of spending the extra $12/month for their DVR, he even supplied the somewhat oddball digital optical cables needed to connect the box to my receiver.

The box itself isn't bad. It has a program guide and a reasonably extensive selection of PPV and Video on Demand. There is even a decent amount of free VoD options. That said, the quality of the VoD is not all that wonderful (even at SD resolution), and the ones that they're actually trying to sell are grossly overpriced. For stuff you can purchase, the cost is generally in the $10-$15/hour range, and for something that you can only view for a couple of hours and has somewhat crummy quality I can't see myself ever using it. Frankly, even the free VoD offerings aren't all that compelling and I've used the feature a grand total of twice--both times I was just playing around too. Example free VoD things are: One of the better sketches from the latest Robot Chicken, A discovery channel program about something or the other, some music videos, ads for videogames, extremely patronizing "help on making the most of your FiOS service" clips, and so on.

Some bad news: The box has USB and serial ports on the back, with an optional ethernet port. All impressive features that could set it apart from the normal cable boxes, all disabled. Yes, this means if you want to use a TiVo you have to set up an IR blaster. I believe the serial port was disabled entirely out of spite. If you don't use the router they gave you when you got the FiOS install it is very difficult to get the VoD working. The router they give you is a buggy piece of crap Linksys DI-604. I had to swap out the router because it was constantly generating packet storms over my FiOS link, and I still haven't managed to get VoD working again.

Overall, I prefer Verizon over the old Cox service we used to have. The base price is slightly cheaper, but since we didn't have to rent the box from Cox the price is a wash in the end (although Cox bumped their prices a few months ago around here, making FiOS cheaper again). One interesting thing with their plan is that they offer several ala cart options, typically for foreign language channels. While they're somewhat pricey ($7-$10/month for each channel), Cox didn't offer them at all. The HD selection is much better than Cox, not that I care yet since I still only have a SD TV.

From what I understand, Verizon is dragging their feet on coming out with a Cablecard for FiOS TV, which is a real shame because I hate cable boxes and I don't really care about their VoD options or guide. IR blasters suck.

Oh, about the guide: Unlike TiVo they apparently don't have a staff that double checks the guide info they get. It's not unusual to fire up a show on the TiVo and notice that the guide information that the TiVo recorded on the bottom of the screen is wrong or generic.

Cable Really is Fiber in Disquise. (1)

Georgyo (773211) | more than 7 years ago | (#17226494)

What many people don't realize is that cable vision has an all fiber network. And watching that guys setup, fios is the uses the same method as CV. Cable Vision just does the fiber to coaxial at the pole. If was a fiber line that went directionally into the home and into my modem I would be impressed. Also I made add that I get 30mbps (3.2MB/s) down and 3mpbs(340KB/s) up with CV for 55.

Also verizon brings me nothing bad news. I had verizon dsl, I switched to another caires business class, and as I was canceling my verizon setup they said they where going to give better speeds for cheaper. Believing this, I canceled my business class order. Verizon lied. I was still the same speed. 45 dollars a month for 60KB/s down 10KB/s up.

After looking at the pictures of the install, I am disappointed at verizon. I though it was fiber to the home, not fiber to the outside of my house.

Also if any has a brain think of what happens in an apartment building.

Fios is bad.
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