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Verizon FiOS Network "Enhancements"

Discussion in 'TiVo Coffee House - TiVo Discussion' started by caughey, Mar 6, 2013.

  1. lrhorer

    lrhorer Active Member

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    That does not prevent the customer from being pissed off. Go back and look at the caterwalling that took place when TWC started putting a ton of new channels on the San Antonio system, all SDV. The subscribers were not paying a penny more for their channels, nor were they getting even one fewer channel than they did before*, but they were paying the same as everyone else while getting fewer channels than everyone else, and they were PISSED. I wasn't, so much, but I certainly was chomping at the bit for the SDV solution on the TiVo. Here we are talking about customer's possibly losing large numbers of channels for which they are paying, which is far worse from the subscriber's viewpoint.

    Pissed or not, if they start putting any significant number of important chanenls on h.264 on the local CATV systems and TiVo does not push out h.264 support to my TiVos, then I am dumping both the CATV companies and TiVo. It doesn't matter whose "fault" it is, I am not going to pay for something that does not meet my needs.

    * - Well, we did lose a handful of channels, but they were dropped from the lineup entirely, so everyone lost them, not just TiVo owners.
     
  2. Dan203

    Dan203 Super Moderator Staff Member TCF Club

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    OK I'm not a QAM expert so check my math on this... For what I could find a 100MHz cable system uses all frequencies between 54 and 100MHz. Each QAM is a block of 6MHz. So that means a 100MHz system has 157 QAMs available. Each 256QAM has 38.8Mbps of bandwidth and can hold 4 H.264 encoded HD channels. So that means if you remove all the other stuff (i.e. internet, VOD, etc..) you have the ability to offer 628 HD channels without resorting to SDV. And if you consider SD, which can fit about 16 channels per QAM when encoded with H.264, you're talking about >2500 channels. So they could have the same 400 HD channels as TW plus about 900 SD channels all without using SDV.
     
  3. waynomo

    waynomo My One Time TCF Club

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    I bought the TiVo HD with the expectation that I could watch HD cable channels. Now all of a sudden I can't watch all my HD channels. So no, not really what they advertised. It has HD in its name; not mpeg-2.
     
  4. waynomo

    waynomo My One Time TCF Club

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    Which is even more annoying knowing that they have implemented this elsewhere.

    I am still waiting to see the impact. I suspect not that much to my personal watching habits, but knowing it could be done pretty easily is still disturbing.
     
  5. aaronwt

    aaronwt UHD Addict

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    It looks like FiOS might be using five H.264 channels per QAM, not four. At least that is what is happening right now. They are currently running five H.264 channels per QAM. And these are sports channels which have alot of movement.
    At least this is what they are currently doing. When then switch the 20 or 25 MPEG 2 channels to H.264 maybe they will only use four per QAM?
     
  6. Dan203

    Dan203 Super Moderator Staff Member TCF Club

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    And if you hook it to an ATSC antenna, or 95% of the cable systems in the US, it will still get all of their HD channels.

    At the time the TiVo HD was sold H.264 on cable didn't even exist. The only reason it even has the hardware to decode H.264 is because TiVo needed it for services like Amazon and Netflix. DO you honestly expect TiVo to invest money in developing, testing and deploying software for a box that has not been sold or manufactured in 3+ years just because your cable company made a change that causes it to not work with all channels? If so then you have unrealistic expectations. Technology marches on whether you like it or not.
     
  7. Dan203

    Dan203 Super Moderator Staff Member TCF Club

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    So with 5 channels per QAM they'd be able to do 785 HD channels. Are there even that many HD channels in existence?
     
  8. mattack

    mattack Active Member

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    That is a HUGE problem, I would lose tons of programs if I had to do that. Losing programs is a big problem. (and yes, I lost a S3 + drive, and currently my Tivo HD's cable card isn't authorized right apparently.. it suddenly did that, but I thankfully realized before I missed any "important" recordingsĀ…)

    But every couple of weeks? That's over 12 times a year, and something I don't consider at all reasonable. Then again, I purposely did NOT ever use a Tivo + cable box separately, because of issues like this and the hokeyness of it.
     
  9. Bigg

    Bigg Active Member

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    Given that FIOS's QAM network has more bandwidth than a cable company's 860mhz network by a good margin (Comcast HSI, XoD, and CDV slurp down a significant proportion of that 860mhz system), AND they are going to MPEG-4, they will be so far ahead of the cable cos for a long, long time. I guess they can re-consider when they need more than a handful of 38mbps full-QAM 4K TV channels in HEVC, but by that point, the cable companies will already be groaning under the load even with MPEG-4 upgrades, and Verizon will be way ahead in channel count.

    There's also a maddening aspect to using a kludgy band-aid to an incompetent cable provider. Even the idiotic Comcast has avoided using SDV, and still has 110 HD's, 50mbps internet for $65, CDV, XoD, and other crap all on an 860 system, and they're not even using MPEG-4 yet, which is straight ahead technology that avoids kludgy hack-arounds like SDV.

    Keeping analog is idiotic, but that's another story. The telcos are in a different position, as copper pairs don't cut it any more, so they will either upgrade to FTTH, or die. AT&T is choosing to either put off their upgrades, or to die. GPON fiber scales well, is a very robust system, and yes it costs more up front, but it delivers a product that is tough to compete with. HFC will be around for a long time, as with advanced technology, it can compete with GPON, at least until GPON cranks the internet speeds up into the multi-hundred mbps range.

    Yup. And people will be. Especially the enthusiasts who know that TiVo could roll out a little patch, but just refuse to do it.

    FIOS can currently handle about 200 HD's and 300 SD's in MPEG-2 since it's only doing linear video. Apparently they want to push it beyond that.

    Somebody, it might have been on another forum, said that they are sending out a bunch of redundant localized feeds for local ad insertion and public access to everyone in the area of one VHO, wasting QAM's. I find it hard to believe that they would have a fundamental bandwidth-wasting flaw in the way the VHO's push out video. Has anyone else heard of this?
     
  10. wmcbrine

    wmcbrine Ziphead

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    I haven't done the math myself, but I'm told by some who have, over on the DSLReports Fios forum, that Fios is pretty near full already, and that's why they're bringing in H.264. Needless to say, we don't yet have 200 HD channels, much less 400.
     
  11. Bigg

    Bigg Active Member

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    Try the math. I'm not sure where it will lead...
     
  12. waynomo

    waynomo My One Time TCF Club

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    FWIW I hooked up the new FIOS HD STB. The first thing I noticed is the guide is a lot sharper and a lot quicker than on the old box. Second thing I noticed is that the picture is noticeably better.

    I just plugged the new box in so didn't change any settings on the TV. (Medium size Sony) I am not sure if all the settings are the same on the new cable box vs. the old or if there are even any that would noticeably impact the picture.

    Still, I was pleased and surprised.
     
  13. plazman30

    plazman30 Member

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    I have been told this also. They finally added Cartoon Network in HD in my area. Now I am just waiting for BBC America in HD and I'll be all set.
     
  14. BigJimOutlaw

    BigJimOutlaw Active Member

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    On Fios you mean? You don't already have it on #689?
     
  15. lrhorer

    lrhorer Active Member

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    I think you mean 1000 MHz, not 100. :)

    Most CATV systems are not 1000MHz. A few are (and FIOS is), but 1000MHz systems are exceedingly difficult and expensive to build and maintain. Even 750 MHz systems present lots of challenges, and many are only 550 MHz. The norm these days is 750, though.

    Give or take. That same system with SDV can deliver a million channels, or 100 million. Also, why are you removing internet and VOD? Have people stopped using them? Are there a lot of CATV companies that are going to stop selling those services?

    Oh, it can do a lot better than that. The bit rate of HD vs SD is about 5:1. Who cares about SD, though? 'Talk about an unlimited account at a landfill. The ability to receive unlimited amounts of SD material is hardly something about which to get excited.

    No, they can't. You are ignoring the fact that 1 channel != 1 digital timeslot. I don't know the actual stats, but TWC routinely transmits a "channel" over many QAM timeslots, perhaps even hundreds of them, and the situation is escalating. FIOS can and does do the same thing, of course, on their IPTV network, which is why I say that eventually I expect them to dump their legacy QAM network altogether. Uverse, of course, did that from the outset, and FIOS is in a far better position to handle switched video even than Uverse.

    The point is, if they are to maintain compatibility with 3rd party equipment like TVs and TiVos, they will be forced to adopt SDV or some equivalent. 400 HD channels is just barely sufficient these days, and already is not for some implementations. The demand for video streams is only going to increase. Heck, the number of channels is flat out rising pretty fast, let alone the number of streams needed to serve them. I repeat: any limited bandwidth improvement like h.264 is just a very temporary band-aid. It is not going to meet the demands of the next 5 - 10 years, let alone the next 3 - 4 decades.
     
  16. aaronwt

    aaronwt UHD Addict

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    FiOS only uses QAM frequencies up to 860Mhz, not 1Ghz. If they were using up to 1Ghz they would not be so short of space like they currently are.

    And if they were some how able to switch all their channels to H.264, they would have at least the space to add 40% more channels. That is a huge improvement by just moving to a more efficient compression method.
     
  17. lrhorer

    lrhorer Active Member

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    I lose as many or perhaps more on the new CATV system through failure of one sort or another as I did on TWC with the TAs. Losing a few programs here or there is simply not a big issue, and it *IS* going to happen, no matter what. If the TiVo misses a program, I just watch something else (almost certainly something better) and then record whatever was missed at a later time - probably within a few days, but even if it is a couple of years later, who cares? There is far to much terrific content available to have a conniption fit over one that got missed.

    You are missing the main point, however. With the TA I lost perhaps 10 or 15 programs a year, at most. The mere fact the new system cannot deliver the majority of channels I formerly received because they are not SDV means I miss quite literally hundreds of programs a year.

    Let me see. Which is worse? Missing 15 programs a year with a TA, or missing 150 without the TA. Gee, that's a tough choice. :rolleyes:

    First of all, "every couple of weeks" is 26 times a year, not 12. Secondly, I did not say, "Every couple of weeks". I said, "Every few weeks". With three TiVos, on average I would say probably once every 6 - 8 weeks or so one of them would lock up, and usually be unable to record SDV channels. Any given one probably locked up 2 or 3 times a year. Subjectively, it seemed like the one in the living room was more unstable than the other two, but that could simply be a misapprehension on my part, especially given resetting the TA in the living room was so much more difficult than the other two.
     
  18. lrhorer

    lrhorer Active Member

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    Few CATV companies have 860 MHz systems. A few do have 1000MHz, but not many. Most are either 550 MHz or 750 MHz, and that is the highest frequency, not the bandwidth. The region below 50 MHz is used for upstream traffic.

    OTOH, FIOS does not use the area below 50 MHz for downstream traffic, either, although they could. Others here have stated FIOS does not use the area above 860 MHz for QAM traffic, either. I cannot attest either way, but it would not surprise me. The region above 800 MHz is highly problematic.

    Only for those who have not implemented SDV. Those who have SDV in place can easily support 400 HD channels, or 4000, or 4,000,000. There is no limit to the number of "channels" an SDV system can support. The limitation is the number of receivers per node requiring unique streams.

    That was a matter of political maneuvering, and of course like any political decision, it was admittedly totally incompetent. It was not due to any single CATV provider, however. In essence, it was due to CableLabs (which consists of over 100 CATV providers), and the fault of the FCC. The TA is unnecessary, so the decision to require it can most certainly be called incompetent. What's more, once the highly questionable decision had been made to produce a TA, they chose the worst possible implementation.

    SDV is not a kludgy hack-around, any more than your internet service is. Indeed, assuming you have broadband CATV service, they are at the conceptual level 100% identical. They vary at the implementation level, but not by all that much, and they do so only because of the comparatively fixed stream parameters enjoyed by broadcast video.

    Keeping a large segment of customers happy at no cost to one's self is idiotic? I'm exceedingly glad you do not run my business.

    Twenty $billion a month and growing does not sound like a death knoll, to me. I don't suggest you hold your breath until AT&T dies.

    You are mixing two very different aspects of the issue together. The delivery protocol is not the same issue as the transport medium, although many of the specific protocols are designed either specifically for a particular medium or at least with a particular medium in mind. (Hypothetically, they are supposed to be completely independent, and the 7 layer OSI model presumes each layer - in this case the transport and network layers - are completely agnostic of each other. In practice, it is often not quite the case.)

    It doesn't sound as if you have much of an idea how much it costs to build and maintain a large fiber network, but I know exactly what is involved. It is the job I do each and every work day (and not a few weekends). In some cases, it costs us over $250,000 to build fiber to a single location, and in no case does it cost less than $5000, and that does not include any maintenace costs nor any electronic equipment costs. No one else, including AT&T (who is our direct competition, BTW) can generally do it any less expensively than we can.

    Oh, I don't know. I actually suspect those of us who are a little closer to the situation may tend to be a bit more tolerant on average, at least to a point. Nonetheless, we agree people are going to kvetch about this.

    No, but then I have no first-hand experience with FIOS.
     
  19. lrhorer

    lrhorer Active Member

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    I have no use whatsoever for an STB. If I were given one free of charge, I would not use it.

    While this is not particularly surprising, since I never, ever use a guide, it is really a completely moot point.

    I seriously doubt that. Hypothetically, there should be no difference at all between HDMI output stages. In practice, however, there are occasionally some differences. Depending on your TiVo model, however, it may be THX certified, which means the design had to pass very stringent performance tests at the THX laboratory. It's reproduction should be virtually 100% accurate. The incoming digital bitstream, of course, is absolutely 100% identical between the two devices, and the output almost surely is. We are not dealing with analog systems, here.
     
  20. waynomo

    waynomo My One Time TCF Club

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    I have an HD set where we don't need or have a TiVo. If you don't want one great, but I thought others might find the info of at least some interest.

    It's only a moot point for you. I had an old box. They say I needed a new box to continue to receive the channels that are changing. So I ordered one.

    You can doubt it, but it is a fact. The picture was noticeably improved. I did some more comparisons after my first post to make sure I wasn't being biased. Mind you I wasn't expecting any change in the picture. I expected the new box to operate like old. So it's not like I was looking for improvement. It was just obvious right from the start.

    I guess I should point out this was via component video and not HDMI. With component there are stages in the STB where they could have improved components, etc. to produce a better picture. There is no TiVo involved in this. It is STB box to HDTV. And since this is component video we are dealing with analog in the signal stream.
     

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