So it’s now been a couple of days since FiOS went in. A couple of observations have emerged:
1. The DVR needs major work to get into the same realm as the DirecTV DVR’s. DirecTV actively interfaces with their own customer base via sources like DBSTalk to get not only direct feedback but to openly test continually updated DVR’s. As a result the same DVR’s that have been out for years are now dramatically improved over the state they shipped.
2. The inability to be able to set a default Guide is either something I haven’t found yet or, more likely, a major oversight. I can set up favorites and continually hit a favorites key but is it really that hard to allow for an option to choose the preferred Guide view each time?
3. The duplication of many channels is a major distraction. In a way it’s a good thing. It gives the impression of endless channels but I also can’t get a grip on what I have here and it ends up being a bit frustrating.
4. Customer service needs massive improvement to compete. First I couldn’t get the movie channels I wanted right away and had to wait another day. Then there’s all this process and bureaucracy that makes things ridiculously difficult. Case in point: On a plus side I was able to swap out a standard definition receiver today for an HD receiver by going to a local Verizon store. This is a specific store distinct from their cell phone stores that just handles FiOS issues. That was cool. However, the lady in front of me experienced exactly the sort of lunacy no one wants to deal with. She had called to move from a non-DVR to a DVR. Everything about that part of it was kosher. However, the rep couldn’t make this swap because she never took the time to “authorize” her non-DVR at her house by setting it up and going through an authorization process (which also can be laboriously long). The rep literally was unable to help. The answer was that the woman had to turn around, take the receiver back to her house, install it, authorize it, disconnect it and then bring it back in.
Are you kidding me? It’s this sort of ridiculousness that drove me to get rid of Verizon as a landline phone company. I’m getting the impression that harder times still haven’t sunk in deep enough with them.
5. The Actiontec router, as I mentioned in a comment to the previous post, is proving to be pretty good so far. Nothing negative to report except that setting up some port forwarding was a bit less intuitive than it could have been.
6. For a second time I had to go through accepting all the terms of service for being a FiOS customer via their website. Not sure why twice but let’s hope there’s not a thrice.
7. I’m still impressed with the number of HD channels and the quality of the picture. The same goes for the quality of the Internet service so far. They do seem a bit confused by my disinterest in using their e-mail services but at least they allowed me to have my own e-mail address that isn’t from them for customer service queries. I fully expected them to insist on only sending such correspondence to their own provided e-mail accounts.
8. I tried to order their 20/20 (download/upload speed) service and was told that even though materials and their website refer to it that currently no rep is able to select this option in the software they use. The reason they gave is potentially interesting—that a better bundle price is just around the corner and they don’t want disgruntled customers choosing it only to find a much improved deal a week later. We’ll see. What I saw was that for just $10 more a month I could go from 20/5 to 20/20 and that, to me, is a decent deal.
9. DirecTV DVR’s tell you the first air-date of the show you’ve recorded and that’s great for applying an extra check to whether a show is first-run or not. I miss that feature.
10. While the boxes don’t support what is known as “native pass-through mode” (or the ability to tell the box to just send whatever it gets without up/down scaling it to a set resolution) it does at least allow you to determine how specifically to deal with SD shows. That’s nice because my current TV has exceptional stretch modes that I prefer to use and now I can still do that.
11. I really wish I took the time to stop by Verizon’s booth at CES but I didn’t really see the need at the time. Doh…. If I had I might have possibly seen what might be coming that most aren’t aware of.
12. Is the discussion forum at broadbandreports.com the best place for discussion of all things FiOS?