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Tomel

join:2007-11-07
Midlothian, VA

Total Cost of FIOS Bundle???

Help! Help! Help! As someone who's never paid for TV in the past and as a senior citizen who would like to make my retirement income go as far as possible, I'd really like help from folks who know the score and don't have an incentive to pick my pocket.

Here's my current situation: I've always been an OTA TV viewer and, being located close to the broadcast antennas, use rabbit ears on the three HDTV's in my household. My house does not have any wiring for cable. I currently have Verizon 768 kbs DSL which is connected to my desktop and is distributed to my wife's desktop and a laptop via a wireless router. Our current telephone service is the very basic Verizon landline service. My wife and I are each often surfing the internet at the same time and simultaneously watching different TV's in the background. Sometimes one of us might also simultaneously be on our landline telephone. We also frequently record programs for later viewing, sometimes recording as many as three shows at a time using a combination of VCR's and DVD Recorders (two of the DVD Recorders have ATSC tuners). Two of our HDTV's have both digital and analog tuners, while the third HDTV has only an analog tuner and is fed a digital signal through a setup box (the LG 3510 A).

Now my questions.

o BEFORE I decide to sign up for FIOS, will I be able to get Verizon or their local contractor to come to my house and go over with me how they plan to run lines to distribute signals to my three TV's and provide the internet connection to my computer? I've read about installation horror stories where unsightly exposed lines are run both outside and inside the house. Before deciding to sign up for FIOS, I'd like to have an understanding and agreement with Verizon on how they plan to wire my house.

o Understanding my current situation as described above, can someone help me get a handle on the total installation and ongoing cost involved (not considering short-term promotional things). I'd like to fully understand all costs involved, including any equipment I might have to rent. I want to get the basic FIOS TV package with high definition. I don't care about recording in HD and would like to use my existing recording equipment if that's possible, rather than renting DVR's from Verizon. I really want to understand the entire cost picture before talking to a Verizon sales person, since their objective will be to sell me everything they can rather than meeting my needs in the most cost effective manner.

o Are there any other expense related questions that I'm forgetting to ask?

Thanks.

KenAF

join:2006-01-23
Arlington, VA

4 edits
I don't think you can have a pre-installation appointment to discuss wiring options beforehand. As with any other television provider, you'll get a random installer, i.e. whoever is in your area on the day of your installation. You can certainly discuss the installation with the installer when they arrive (before they begin work), and tell them what you will or won't accept.

Triple play with phone+Internet+TV is $99/mo with a two-year contract term. That does not include taxes or the price of Verizon SD STBs ($4 to $5/mo), HD STBs ($10/mo), HDTV DVRs ($15.99/mo), or CableCards ($2.99/mo).

All Verizon digital cable channels are encrypted, so you won't get anything except locals with your LG 3510A, DVD recorders, or VCRs. You're probably aware of this, but your DVD recorders don't record in high-definition anyway, they downconvert to 1/6 HD resolution.

If you want to get cable channels (i.e. non-locals) with FiOS service, you'll need either their Motorola STB/DVRs on each TV, or a TV/STB/DVR that uses CableCards. The FiOS' Motorola HDTV STBs are $9.99/mo and the FiOS' Motorola HDTV DVRs are $15.99/mo. Their cheapest Motorola SD box (no HD) is $3.99/mo.

The alternative to the Motorola boxes is your own TV/STB/DVR with CableCards. You plug a Motorola CableCard -- which costs $2.99/mo from Verizon -- into these boxes and it decrypts all the digital cable channels. CableCard setup options to accommodate three rooms:

TivoHD HDTV DVR (dual-tuner)
3x $250 + $10/mo DVR fee + Verizon CableCard fee OR
3x $699 with no DVR fee + Verizon CableCard fee

Sony DHG-HDD250 HDTV DVR (single tuner, discontinued)
3x $450-$550 + Verizon CableCard fee

Vista Media Center (dual-tuner)
1x $1259 Dell XPS 420 w/ dual CableCard tuners + Verizon CableCard fee
3x $299 Xbox360 for each room -- this acts as a remote extender for the Dell XPS 420 Vista Media Center
3x $70 Harmony 550 universal remotes
3x $40 Motorola NIM100 -- this provides a 100Mbps network connection to each room

-------------------

If you really want to keep your monthly bill low, you'll have to settle for local channels. In that case, I would get FiOS double play (phone + Internet) for $69.99/mo, plus the following to accommodate three TV rooms:

1x $249 SageTV HD Extender + SageTV server license
2x $199 SageTV HD Extender
1x $169 HDHomerun (dual ATSC/QAM tuners)
3x $40 Motorola NIM100 -- this provides a 100Mbps network connection to each room

There are no monthly fees on this setup, but it is limited to local channels (either from an antenna or FiOS).

You install the SageTV server software on your computer -- they have Mac, Linux, Windows, and WHS versions -- and you connect the HDHomerun to a port on your network router. To the HDHomerun, you connect an OTA antenna (or the FiOS coax, if you buy their local package for $12.99/mo). The computer running the SageTV software does all the recording to its hard drive or an external hard drive.

In each TV room, you connect the coax to the NIM100, and then ethernet from the NIM100 to the SageTV HD Extender. The SageTV HD Extender in each room acts just like any other DVR -- it has a guide, you can schedule recordings, play recordings, watch live TV, etc. All the recordings are stored on the computer running the SageTV software, so all recordings are available in all rooms.





You can add a second HDHomerun for another $169 to double your number of tuners to four.

vz tech 2

join:2005-11-19
Richmond, VA
reply to Tomel
Dam Ken you are good and fast I am impressed those are great options. Also the fact that he has no coax in the house 59.00 per coax run the routers coax run would be free. Also all of the guys in Richmond bend over backwards for the customers as far as wiring and making it as ascetically pleasing as possible, but you have to be reasonable in your request. Ultimately it will be up to the tech how the wire is run but your wishes are taken in advisement. What area do you live in Richmond? If you have a attic, crawl space, it makes things a lot easier, and don't expect the tech to fish a wall just because it will look better, we are under a time constraint implied and expressed

Tomel

join:2007-11-07
Midlothian, VA

2 edits
reply to Tomel
Thanks for the quick and comprehensive feedback. Boy, it looks like it's going to be a lot more expensive than I thought it would be! Looks like the monthly equipment charge for what I want will be more than the $99/month Triple Play charge. Well, back to the drawing board.

I'd just stick with my OTA configuration + basic land line + 768 kbs DSL (at a total monthly cost of less than $45/month, including LD charges), except for a couple of issues. When it's rainy or windy, I get a lot of breakup due to multipath (lots of tall trees in the neigborhood). Right now, we just switch to analog when that occurs - an option which is supposed to go away in '09. Also, I'd like to get ESPN and NFL Network so I can get all of the Redskin's games (Go Skins!).

Again, thanks for the feedback.

Tomel

join:2007-11-07
Midlothian, VA

1 edit
reply to Tomel
I did think of one other question which I can't find on the Verizon web sites. Is the Triple Play price of $99.99/month a promotional offer that jumps to a higher price after 12 or 24 months. If so, how long does the $99.99/month rate last and what is the current non-promotional rate?

vz Tech 2 - Since you're located in Richmond, could you enlighten me on the taxes and any other incidental charges I'll incur and to what items they apply (e.g., do they apply only to the $99.99 or to the initial and monthly equipment charges as well). FYI, I'm located in Chesterfield and fiber optics is currently being installed in my neighborhood.

KenAF

join:2006-01-23
Arlington, VA

4 edits
said by Tomel:

When it's rainy or windy, I get a lot of breakup due to multipath (lots of tall trees in the neigborhood). Right now, we just switch to analog when that occurs - an option which is supposed to go away in '09. Also, I'd like to get ESPN and NFL Network so I can get all of the Redskin's games (Go Skins!).
As noted above, you could subscribe to just locals on FiOS -- including both SD and HD locals -- for $12.99/mo. You could continue using your LG 3510A and any DVD recorders with QAM tuners to receive locals.

said by Tomel:

I did think of one other question which I can't find on the Verizon web sites. Is the Triple Play price of $99.99/month a promotional offer that jumps to a higher price after 12 or 24 months. If so, how long does the $99.99/month rate last and what is the current non-promotional rate?
Triple play saves you $10/mo on TV, $0/mo on Internet, with the remaining discount on the phone service. [Specific discounts may vary by region.] You aren't getting service at half off, or anything like that.

All indications are that Verizon will continue to offer such bundles at reduced price when you commit to one or two years of service. My one-year contract expired and I renewed again at the same rate.

FiOS did announce a $5/mo TV increase which will affect new customers subscribing after January 18. Customers who subscribe before January 18 get to maintain the current $42.99/mo rate until January 2009. You wouldn't see that $5/mo increase until your triple play commitment expired in two years.

My TV bill with "double play."


Tomel

join:2007-11-07
Midlothian, VA
reply to Tomel
KenAF

I really appreciate your patience in answering my questions and thanks for the sample bill.

I finally felt knowledgeable enough to call Verizon and ask some intelligent questions. Basically, everything they said was in sync with what you had already conveyed. However, the Rep I spoke to said there is no local station HD package available for $12.99/month -- only their Basic package at $42.99/month. I wonder if the $12.99/month package is only available in certain select markets.

The only other difference in what the Rep said was that there was an interent activation fee of $30 and that the cable runs were $54.99 each instead of $59.00.

Thanks again for your assistance.

Langning
Premium
join:2003-04-28
Marlborough, MA
reply to Tomel
I called Verizon today for explanation on my first bill. Here is the breakdown for $99.99 triple play.

Phone $44.99-$14.98=$30.01
Internet $39.99-$7.00=$32.99
TV $42.99-$6.00=$36.99
+Cable box+Taxes/Fees

I also asked if I would get more savings for having wireless. The rep's answer is NO and the discounts max out at 3 services.


GeekNJ
Premium
join:2000-09-23
Waldwick, NJ
Reviews:
·Optimum Online
·Verizon FiOS
reply to Tomel
There is a $12.99 package. You can see it at »www22.verizon.com/content/fiostv···ices.htm if you look under the 2 main packages. In the gray area it says:

Local service package also available. FiOS TV Local provides access to local TV channels, community and educational programming for $12.99/month.
I don't know if that qualifies you for any triple play though.
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GeekNJ
Premium
join:2000-09-23
Waldwick, NJ
Reviews:
·Optimum Online
·Verizon FiOS

1 edit
reply to Langning
said by Langning:

I also asked if I would get more savings for having wireless. The rep's answer is NO and the discounts max out at 3 services.
You actually get a discount on your wireless bill if you have other Verizon services. On my wireless portion of the bill it shows:

Verizon Bundle Discount 11/20 - 12/19 -$6.00
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