Verizon FIOS w T3 versus DirectTV?

Discussion in 'TiVo Series3 HDTV DVRs' started by solsurfer, May 6, 2008.

  1. May 6, 2008 #1 of 14

    solsurfer Member

    Mar 17, 2003
    LA, CA


    I'm a long time tivo owner, and currently have several fairly useless HD DTivos. I brought the DirectTV HR-20 into the house to give it a test drive, and it is just not cutting it. I have Verizon FIOS in the house already for internet access, so I'm thinking of adding the tv service and canceling DirectTV. I would then buy two Series 3 HD Tivos and use cable cards.

    Any advice would be much appreciated. In particular, I'm concerned about the FIOS picture quality. I've seen random complaints of pixilation, frame drops, etc. Not sure if that's related to bandwidth usage at the time, early bugs in the system, or systematic behavior. Will downloading a file cause my picture quality to suffer? Also, I'm trying to figure out if they offer the same channels (in both standard and HD). I've heard complaints that FIOS has a smaller HD selection, but I haven't been able to find an easy comparison guide.

    I also understand that the T3/cable card route will mean I can't buy PPV, etc? Any other issues? Will multi-room viewing work out of the box? Guide data? Will the FIOS just use the existing coaxial cable in my walls?

    Thanks in advance!

  2. May 6, 2008 #2 of 14

    ah30k Well-Known Member

    Jan 8, 2006
    FiOS works just fine with TiVo; as far as the TiVo is concerned there is no difference between FiOS and cable. FiOS uses the existing cables throughout your house. MRV and TTG work as well. You are correct that VOD won't work but PPV might if you call ahead using the phone.

    There is a whole thread here dedicated to the topic of FiOS.
  3. May 6, 2008 #3 of 14

    wmcbrine Well-Known Mumbler

    Aug 2, 2003
    Pixellation on Fios has nothing to do with network activity.* It has to do with a sometimes-flaky, sometimes-overdriven signal from Verizon. The overdriven part can often be remedied with attenuators. All in all, it's rare.

    Frame dropping seems to be a problem for Verizon's own DVRs, not for TiVos. I've never seen it.

    Currently there are 21 national HD channels (plus, in my area, 9 locals), including the premiums. Many more are expected this year, but I don't really have details beyond that. The positive thing is that Fios delivers them in the best quality available from the provider, while DirecTV reencodes them all to MPEG4.

    TNT HDTV 825
    ESPN HD 826
    ESPN2 HD 827
    NFL Network HDTV 828
    HD Net 833
    HD Net Movies 834
    Universal HDTV 835
    HD Theater 836
    Wealth TV HDTV 837
    National Geographic Channel HD 838
    MHD 839
    Food Network HD 840
    HGTV HD 841
    A&E HD 842
    Lifetime Movie Network HD 845
    Discovery Channel HD 846
    HBO HDTV 851
    Cinemax HDTV 852
    Showtime HDTV 853
    TMC HDTV 854
    Starz HDTV 855

    * Fios' Video On Demand is delivered over IP, so that could potentially be affected by network activity, although it shouldn't be -- Verizon gives it QoS priority in the router. Anyway, Fios VOD doesn't work on TiVo. Regular Fios channels are not affected; they use cable-style QAM, converted to/from light and sent over a different frequency than data.
  4. May 6, 2008 #4 of 14

    mr.unnatural Well-Known Member

    Feb 2, 2006
    I have two S3's with FIOS and I love it. I dumped DirecTV over a year ago and never looked back. Verizon is rumored to be adding more HD channels to their FIOS lineup in the upcoming months and by year's end may actually exceed DirecTV's HD lineup. Verizon isn't saying much about it so there's no firm information that I've seen so far but it should be coming soon. The only thing that's holding it up AFAIK is the transition for removing the existing analog channels to free up the extra bandwidth needed for the new HD channels.

    FIOS basically offers the same HD lineup available with Comcast and other digital cable providers. It also has the same channels that DirecTV had prior to the mpeg4 satellites being activated. Actually, FIOS has added a few new HD channels since I switched. Once they add Sci-Fi and USA HD I'll be a happy camper. I'm hoping that FX will eventually join the HD ranks as well so that all of the channels I watch will be in HD.

    I get minimal pixelisation with FIOS. Unfortunately, there will always be a certain amount of pixelisation and other artifacts with any service provider. It's simply a side effect of digital transmissions and no provider has been shown to be totally immune from it.
  5. May 6, 2008 #5 of 14

    stiffi New Member

    Jun 13, 2006
    Charm City


    I'll add my 2 cents, since I just went through this. I added FIOS internet and phone but KEPT Directv.

    Here's why...

    I like knowing what I have. I have had Directv for 10 years, and I know what to expect from the company, and how the equipment works. I have done most wiring myself. FIOS is so new, that there are a lot of un-knowns, including to the installers and customer service reps of Verizon themselves. There's that saying about the Devil you know, vs. the Devil you don't.

    Finally, when pricing, all the same channels, receivers and fees, I noticed Directv wasn't that much more expensive. For me it would have been a difference of $7 a month. Plus, Verizon is now listing that $47.99 a month TV fee, as a "promotional" one. That scares me.

    In the end, $84 a year in savings wasn't a big enough push for me to switch.
  6. May 6, 2008 #6 of 14

    acvthree Active Member

    Jan 17, 2004
    I made the switch a little over a year ago.

    It was one of the best technology moves I've ever made. The Series 3 has so many more features than the DirectTV Tivo that alone made a big difference. Also, no more "HD Lite" that I was getting before.

    Tivo married with the Fios networking is a match made in heaven. The very quick download and transfers are really great.

    I expect you will be very happy with the move.

  7. May 6, 2008 #7 of 14

    RossoNeri Tech Geek

    Nov 26, 2005
    Herndon, VA
    Your Internet and VOD are carried on different wavelengths from the TV from the VZ node to your house (the ONT box that terminates the fiber) and will not interfere with one another. From the ONT, the voice, video and data (Internet) signals are separated and remain independent from one another.

    There is some data on the video coax stream using MoCA, but that is the VOD, interactive and other control data, not your Internet traffic (assuming you dno't customise the install using MoCA for inside your house).

    Bottom line: no worries about all the traffic riding the same pipe. It's a BIG pipe.

    For more info, the FiOS Wikipedia article is pretty thorough:
  8. May 6, 2008 #8 of 14

    bretley42 New Member

    Apr 4, 2002
    Fort Worth
    PQ, PQ, PQ.

    This is the exact move I made recently. The SD Fios is comparable with the HD DTV.

    You can re-use the RG6 you've run for the Directivos (you'll have an extra drop at each location), you'll be very happy with the move. I had been a Directv customer so long, I remember USSB. The technology of FIOS has set the bar high, Directv will be playing catchup for a long time now.
  9. May 6, 2008 #9 of 14

    JWThiers Smartypants

    Apr 12, 2005
    Cocoa, Florida
    Now if they would just expand their coverage to include me.!!!! :(
  10. holee

    holee Uncertain

    Dec 12, 2000
    Raleigh, NC
    I have the Verizon FiOS service with the HD TiVo and I like it a lot. I have not had any problems or complaints regarding the picture quality. HD is great. And it may be my imagination, but the SD quality on FiOS seems better than it was a year ago.
  11. mr.unnatural

    mr.unnatural Well-Known Member

    Feb 2, 2006
    Well, I also had DirecTV for about 10 years and the Devil I knew was selling me crap. Their standard definition signals had steadily deteriorated over that period due to overcompression to make room for additional channels I never watched. I've got movies I extracted from my DirecTivos over 5 years ago that look much better than the garbage they're transmitting today.

    Program packages are going to be similar in price between all providers. They have to be in order to remain competitive. If they charge too little then they lose their profit margin and won't stay in business for long. If they charge too much then they'll lose their customers to other providers.

    I switched because Verizon offered a better product and I even saved a few bucks in the deal. Their HD channels look fantastic when compared to DirecTV's "HD-Lite" mpeg2 programming.

    FWIW, I've had interaction with FIOS tech support on numerous occasions since I had FIOS installed. I had issues with my internet that turned out to be a problem with a BT client I had running on my main PC. Verizon had people show up at my door in less than an hour after calling tech support. Every installer and tech I spoke with in person put every DirecTV installer I ever met to shame. Granted, I only dealt with DTV techs on a couple of occasions, but they were far less than adequate, IMHO.

    I'll admit that switching to FIOS was somewhat of an unknown but I did as much homework as I could before making the switch. I've had them for over a year and never regretted it. I still have my Phase III dish mounted on the roof but once the new HD channels get added to FIOS I'm pretty sure that will no longer be a fixture on my house.
  12. lew

    lew Well-Known Member

    Mar 12, 2002
    I wouldn't switch for $7/month.


    FiOS has much better PQ then DTV.

    You can use a TivoHD with FiOS.

    FiOS guarantees your rates for the duration of your comittment (2 years).

    DTV has a 2 year comittment but can (and will) increase your price during that 2 year period.

    Bundle pricing will generally result in even larger discounts vs DTV.

  13. JediTim

    JediTim New Member

    Sep 25, 2007
    Just this past Tuesday I switched from DirecTV to FiOS (see my recap here) and am very pleased. I also had DTV for eleven years and was always happy with the service / quality and channels. I rarely ever lost my signal...If FiOS can stay the same in these issues I will be more than happy as I am saving on the bundle over $50 / month.

    The installer had mentioned that they were passing around their "garage" a list of the upcoming new HD channesl...he didn't elaborate other than to say that it would be across all their offerings...HD Broadcast / National / Premium lines. I would think that Verizon is looking to offer more than cable to continue to entice people to make the switch...they are far behind cable in customer base and need to offer more.

  14. slimoli

    slimoli New Member

    Jul 29, 2005
    I hate FIOS. It's not available where I live.

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