Review by Kramer
Good "Fantastic Internet, Good phone, Great TV"
- Location: Richmond,Henrico,VA
- Cost: $180 per month (12 month contract)
- Install: about 15 days
Bad "Multi-room DVR"
Overall "Highly recommended"
|Pre Sales Information:|
Value for money:
(ratings above consensus)
It was a bit problematic, but an online rep helped me through the process. Depending on what links you use, you may not get the best deal possible. I ended up ordering about $170/month worth of services for the triple play with 20/5 internet speeds. I'm supposed to get $150 back as well as another $5/month off for at least a year. I ordered the multi-room DVR, 2 SD boxes and a cheapo box for the kitchen. Verizon was very thorough about constant reminders for the upcoming install date. All in all ordering was a pleasant experience.
Install was performed at the end of April 2009. The appointment Window was between 8-5. The installer showed up around 9:30AM after calling me earlier. The first couple of hours involved running around the neighborhood checking things and then installing the ONT. For the rest of the day which ended about 6:30 pm the installer couldn't have been more helpful. I had pre-wired the house with CAT5 and RG6 quad shield, but the installer didn't like the RG6 barrels on the jacks and gave me a handful to change out while he worked on other things (I offered). Where I had put fittings on, I used compression fittings and he was happy with those. The ONT ended up being bad and then he couldn't make a connection to the Internet, but both issues were resolved after a lot of wasted time. I can't say enough good about the quality of the install and the helpfulness of the installer. He wasn't in any hurry to leave and he just wanted to make me happy. The work he did was neat and professional looking. I have zero complaints about the install.
The service when he left worked as expected, which was something new after coming from Comcast. Verizon somehow changed the order to include Cinemax even though I have a PDF of my order which does not show it. I'll keep it until at least the first bill or the day my wife notices the late night racy movies. It adds about ten more HD movie channels for five bucks a month. About two days later there was a massive outage in my area which apparently is very infrequent. That drove me nuts for a couple of hours, trying to figure out what on my end was causing the problem. If I could have signed on to DSLR, I would seen that it was a widespread problem.
The phone service is Verizon's and excellent. I just finally got verizon call Assistant installed and while you can't complain about the price (free), the software is terrible. I hope they work on that one. My second line is a Vonage line and that works flawlessly with FIOS. Avoid ordering Call Assistant before you get your first FIOS bill. Their system can't handle it without a tech manually installing it.
Nothing to talk about here. The speed is what they claim. Fast as %%#@
All in all I am very pleased with the TV service. The multi-room DVR is disappointing though. It is more like a beta version than something you can count on. I have constant problems with the skip ten function in remote rooms. Very often when I use the function, it goes into a FF mode that is difficult to stop. Even in the room with the DVR, I will sometimes see channel descriptions that do not match the channel being viewed. I don't use the skip function anymore other than in the room with the DVR. The remote room capabilities are lacking. You can delete a recording from China on the Internet, but you can't delete one from your bedroom 20 feet away? That is sort of lame. Last night the picture just froze, like I had hit the pause button. Changing the channel and then changing back fixed that. I would expect to see this hardware improve measurably as the work out the kinks and add features, but I am not impressed by the fact that they released this hardware in this state of development. It is my largest disappointment.
The media manager sucks. The first time I tried to play a tune, it locked up my DVR, to the point where pulling the plug was the only recourse. If I look at my photos they are at a low resolution. I'll use the PS3 for these functions. It works.
These are all complaints that need to be put in perspective. 99% of the problems I have had are with features completely unavailable with my previous provider, Comcast. If you compare FIOS to Comcast, there isn't any comparison if you have a HDTV. FIOS wins on every measure except perhaps with On-Demand content.
The quality of the picture is superb in both SD and HD. No complaints there. Audio seems to be a problem depending on what channel you are watching. Every once in a blue moon I will hear an audio drop out or see a video drop out, but the picture is really good.
I switched to Verizon from Comcast for a number of reasons. The final straw was after ten phone calls, Comcast wasn't able to deliver the channels I was paying for and had previously received. I was a happy triple play customer with Comcast, but they suddenly raised my rates and royally messed up my account. I would have kept their phone service on my second line, but they wanted $46/month to keep that active and that is an absurd price to pay. Comcast will get their act together with HD content and prices... and when they do, I will reconsider them.
Verizon gets an all-around A minus on their FIOS service from me. I haven't been billed yet and from what I hear, that could measurably drop their grade. If the multi-room DVR were something other than an experiment being played on me, I would give them an A or an A plus. Its a really good service and I highly recommend them for now.
Notes I gave a 5 rating for tech support. While the installer needed support to get things working, I have not as of yet. I really can't rate that properly.
Note: A few days later I received my first bill. It was accurate with the exception that they promised a $5/month reduction for online ordering and I didn't get it. They are telling me that can take a few billing cycles to kick in. I am going to request that they credit me for it until it does show up.
The One Year Later Update
One year later I am even more impressed with FIOS. Verizon has developed the product quite well. I just installed an Android application on my cell phone that lets me easily program my DVR from my phone. My only complaint is that I have yet to figure out how I might control 2 DVRs from the application. That doesn't look possible, but I could be missing something. I have had zero service interruptions in the last year. The last interruption was two weeks short of a year earlier and happened while I was out of town, but my family remained home. It was easily solved online. FIOS is a fantastic service.
My only complaints with FIOS are 1) The extremely small capacity of the DVR 2) The high rental cost of HD boxes. I assume Verizon has addressed or will address the first issue in good time. The second issue is not limited to Verizon. Walk into any store in America and try to find a TV that doesn't display HD programming. It is time for Verizon and all the cable companies in America to stop charging extra for HD hardware. Five or six bucks a box is reasonable but ten bucks isn't. 3) The high cost of the service. Not that I don't think FIOS is worth every cent you pay for it compared to the alternatives, but I am dismayed that Verizon has basically stopped introducing the service in markets where it hasn't already penetrated. If Verizon wants a greater than 50% penetration rate in existing markets, it has a lot of work to do. High early termination fees (any early termination fees for that matter), reduced incentives, poor distribution of customer service centers, bad marketing, and poor pricing models aren't making the task any easier.
To summarize, the only complaints I have with FIOS, I would have with any cable provider. The upside of this service is overwhelming. It's an amazingly reliable and robust technology.
Well, two years have passed and it was time to update my FIOS contract. I had to negotiate a little but I basically increased my speed to 35/35, upgraded my TV offerings and kept the phone service for about 5 bucks more a month than I had been paying. I can't complain about that and the price is locked in for two more years. I'm very happy!
Technically FIOS has been superb with one exception I will get into later. To the best of my knowledge, I have not lost CATV once in the two years I have had it. I haven't had any issues with CATV. I could probably count the Internet outages I have had on less than one hand and in every case it was simple to fix usually by rebooting the ONT.Phone service has been boringly stable. I have had an occasional issues with Verizon failing to Email me notification of voice mail. The phone line is so cheap, I can't justify going to Vonage which I do use on my second line.
As far as CATV and the multi-room DVR there is a huge limitation here that apparently is not the case in all areas. I can only have one HDTV stream going from the DVR at one time. We have 3 HDTVs and it has been a problem. Thankfully it has been a minor problem because the number of people living in my home is something like 2.75 in any given week and my wife watches little TV. This could be a huge problem for a larger family and I am amazed that Verizon hasn't addressed this limitation. The only solution is one I used for almost all of the two preceding years, which is to have multiple DVRs. The Verizon multi-room DVR usefulness is severely diminished by this limitation. I have also experienced this limitation with On-Demand viewing.
I recently switched from multiple DVRs to the new 500GB 7232 DVR. I like the storage capability and only use about 60% of it at any one time. I may not even bother to add an external hard drive when that possibility arrives. I haven't had any major issues with it other than the HD streaming limitations mentioned above. Two years later and you still can't remotely (from another set) delete or initiate recordings on the multi-room DVR. That doesn't make any more sense than two years ago when you could initiate a recording or delete one from a remote island in the Pacific, but not your home. Verizon is slow to initiate new features, but when they do, the features work pretty well.
All in all FIOS is fantastic product limited only by the glacial pace which Verizon improves it. I wouldn't consider switching to some other technology, even if the price were half that of FIOS. Good stuff!
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updated 3 years ago