FIOS video quality on a TiVo with Cablecard

Discussion in 'TiVo Coffee House - TiVo Discussion' started by SidKa, Jan 29, 2021.

  1. SidKa

    SidKa New Member

    Dec 21, 2017


    Hi all!

    I have a FIOS Gigabit internet + television plan.
    I experience the "television" part through a Tivo Edge DVR, via a Verizon Cablecard, on a 75" QLED 4K TV.
    I also get to experience those same television shows through the "internet" part, through various streaming apps, via an Android TV box on that same TV.

    Here's my issue: the quality of the exact same show appears to be much higher when seen via the streaming apps, vs. when seen via the TiVo. These are primetime network TV shows, on ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC. The TiVo version seem a bit more "compressed", a bit "blockier".

    What might be going on?

    Is it something about the Verizon TV signal itself? I would have thought the TV feed from Verizon would be of a higher bitrate, higher quality than the streaming app versions of those channels.

    Or is it something about how the CableCard decodes the video, or how the TiVo records the video?

    Any way to debug/test it further?
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2021
  2. Wil

    Wil Unknown Member

    Sep 26, 2002
    I am in and out of FIOS over the years, and got frozen out now for a long time because Frontier has suspended FIOS TV reactivations due to (they claim) Covid. During the intervals I was in, picture quality seemed notably superior to most streaming. Though mostly what I Tivo'd from FIOS were premium rather than broadcast channels. For broadcast channels I always use an antenna.
  3. NashGuy

    NashGuy Well-Known Member

    May 2, 2015
    Hopefully someone else on FiOS TV with a TiVo will chime in. But I can tell you that, in general, streaming TV sources look better than the same content delivered by traditional cable TV services. Several years ago, FiOS TV was known for their excellent HD picture quality. But lots of folks on various forums have posted that the quality has gradually gone downhill and now looks overly compressed. Maybe not as bad as Comcast, but still not great.

    So if I had to guess, I'd say that the issue has nothing to do with your TiVo/CableCARD and is just inherent in the way that Verizon is encoding their cable TV signals. And with a very large TV like yours, those compression artifacts are really going to show.
  4. terpfan1980

    terpfan1980 It's Just TV TCF Club

    Jan 28, 2002
    Xbox Live:...
    Reason is mentioned above - compression.

    FiOS is trying to cram too much stuff into too small a pipe, at least in general, and it comes at a price: picture (and sound) quality.

    Years ago it was top notch. Current days, not that impressive.

    If you stream you are getting some compression, but typically with better results and better picture quality.
    SidKa, krkaufman and PSU_Sudzi like this.
  5. kdmorse

    kdmorse Well-Known Member TCF Club

    Jan 29, 2001
    Germantown, MD


    Correct. When FIOS was new, it's quality was spectacular compared to Comcast. Now, FIOS quality is about where Comcast was at that time FIOS launched. However it's still heads and shoulders above Comcast, because Comcast has nosedived the quality even further since then.
    SidKa and NashGuy like this.
  6. alleybj

    alleybj Member

    Dec 6, 2000
    atlanta, ga usa
    I will say, though, that I have TiVos on both Comcast and spectrum, and Comcast is far superior.
  7. CommunityMember

    CommunityMember Active Member

    May 22, 2020
    Of all the majors, FiOS has always compressed the least over what the content providers/stations provide (often offering bitrates that the primary broadcasters offer to them), primarily because they have bandwidth to "burn" (they do not share the available bandwidth with their Internet service, which forces the class cable providers to have to compress more to get more HSI capacity). However, especially in the case of OTAs, those OTAs have themselves decided to split their bandwidth (sometimes due to corporate overloads requirements) between the "primary" subchannel and new "alternative" subchannels. And in some markets where one owner had multiple stations it was financially very (very very) lucrative to offer one of the broadcast stations to the FCC in the "600Mhz" auction and then combine the two stations into one broadcast channel. Of course, some of what hits the OTAs also hit those broadcasters using satellite facilities (i.e. they have reduced their bitrate in order to pay less or be able to provide more channels). One additional factor is that OTTs may use a far more efficient codec than what FiOS (or a cable system) use, so a lower bitrate can still result in a better "quality" picture. OTAs, for example, must use MPEG2 for their transmission. Many (but not all) cable systems now have STBs that can do H.264/AVC and do so for at least some of their channels. Some OTTs were early adopters of H.265/HEVC which allows them to potentially choose either lower bitrate, or higher quality in the same bitrate.
    SidKa likes this.
  8. MrDell

    MrDell Active Member

    Jul 8, 2012
    Rhode Island
    I have Verizon cable card with a TiVo Bolt and while I think Verizon quality is acceptable I must say that streaming content from my Apple TV is much more acceptable with a clearer picture and more vibrant colors.... so I don’t think that you are alone with this issue.
    SidKa likes this.
  9. mattyro7878

    mattyro7878 Well-Known Member

    Nov 27, 2014
    Southern CT
    Comcast on my Roamio Plus varies greatly some channels are surprisingly good while others are not acceptable. 90% are listed as 720p and the picture quality varies within that subset. Maybe Comcast or the channel itself choose to compress certain things more than others. Either way, we should get much better but we are not.
  10. NashGuy

    NashGuy Well-Known Member

    May 2, 2015
    Interesting. It's rare to hear from someone who has cable TV from both Comcast Xfinity and Charter Spectrum at the same time. (And using the same equipment too.) So you're saying that Charter compresses their HD QAM channels even more than Comcast does?
  11. ncted

    ncted A leaf on the wind

    May 13, 2007
    Durham, NC
    I can tell you that Spectrum HD channels in my market and Charlotte, NC as well as where my parents live near Oneonta, NY looks way worse than Comcast in the Miami market as of a couple years ago. Other markets may look better.
    NashGuy likes this.
  12. alleybj

    alleybj Member

    Dec 6, 2000
    atlanta, ga usa
    Yes. I have Spectrum in New York and Comcast in Atlanta. The Spectrum picture is much softer than Comcast, even though Spectrum seems to be 1080i on most channels and Comcast is 720p. It’s not just the TiVo— I had a Spectrum box, and it was the same. The picture on the Spectrum app is much sharper.
    NashGuy likes this.
  13. NashGuy

    NashGuy Well-Known Member

    May 2, 2015
    Spectrum is apparently doing a separate encode (higher bitrate/less compressed) for their IPTV streams versus their QAM channels.

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