Over the months I’ve read and heard story after story about how cool Verizon FiOS is. All the accolades. Faster Internet. Vibrant tv reception. Unbeatable prices. I absorbed the data, assessed it, and concluded that I was not going to drink the kool-aid. Then one day Directv changed all of that.
I have been a faithful Directv subscriber for more than 6 years. During that time I found their service to be decent. When it rained or when it was windy our picture was fuzzy. When it occurred I would call their troubleshooting department and they would do a diagnostic test on their end but they would never send a technician to the house. They suggested that the problem was with the TV. Ok, that could be the case if my picture was always fuzzy. I decided not to loose sleep over it because it hardly rains in Southern California.
Then I noticed that my bill began to increase $4-$5 more every month. When I contacted the billing department they explained that the movie writers were increasing their costs and Directv had decided to past those costs along to their consumers. It would have been nice to have some warning. Once my bill reached a ridiculous amount I began thinking about defecting Directv. Unfortunately, the other option in my area was cable tv. The cable company was going through some internal turmoil and that was having negative impact on their consumers. One day contractors from Verizon were doing work in my neighborhood. They were wiring my neighborhood for FiOS.
During the installation period I began receiving ”junk mail” about Verizon FiOS. There was a promotion regarding their Verizon phone/TV/Internet bundled package. I already have Verizon phone service and DSL. I did not want be held as a hostage by Directv so I called Verizon. After all the call was free and I could hang up if I didn’t see a benefit.
I called the Verizon FiOS sales department, listened to their sales pitch, and tried to stump him with question after question. The sales rep handled my questions and concerns very well. I was intrigued over the idea of TV, phone and Internet running through a tiny optic fiber cable. I also liked the discounts that they were offering. He offered me fremium channels for free for 3 months and 1 HD receiver free for a year. The kool-aid was looking good. Put I was not ready quit ready to put my lips to the glass. I wanted to do my own research but it was going to be confined. No one on my street had subscribed to FiOS nor did any of my friends. Matter of fact they were eager for it to come to their neighborhood. They would salivate when they talked about it. I needed to buy with logic and not emotions. I turned to the Internet.
I read several articles on the pros and cons of Verizon FiOS:
…to name just a few.
I weighed the results and decided that the most logical thing to do was to order Verizon FiOS. The ordering process went as smooth as butter. Shortly after placing the order I received an email confirming the order, order number and installation date/time as discussed.
About 5 days after placing the order a Verizon representative came to the house and sprayed a white line from the junction box in the ground (near the curb) up to the side of my house. This let’s the contractors know where to dig the trench.
A crew arrived 4 days later and dug a trench for the tube that would protect fiber optic. They broke a couple of lawn sprinkler lines but they were equipped to fix them on the spot.
They had to use what they called a “bullet” to drill under my sidewalk next to the house.
The trench they dug was filled with dirt and my lawn sod was placed on top.
They cut a 1 foot X 1 foot hole on the side of my house, pushed the fiber optic cable through the tubing and up to the telephone box.
On installation day the technician had a problem with the order which delayed the start of the installation by about 1 hour. Whatever the problem was his field supervisor was able to correct it. The technician started with installing the ONT (Optical Network Terminal). The ONT transfers the data to your phone line and Internet. They like to install this box inside the house or garage near a 3 prong plug. I chose to have mine installed in my garage. In the event of a power outage the ONT runs on a back-up battery.
He pulled the black optic fiber wire that was outside the house through a small hole in the wall and connected it to the ONT. Before doing his installation in my house he did a walk through all of the rooms where a receiver needed to be installed. He actually asked me where exactly I wanted the receivers.
After about 7 hours of work my phone lines, Internet and 6 televisions were up and running on fiber. Using the ONT and their router eliminated a couple of ethernet lines and phone lines I was using for the DSL setup. Connecting to the Internet was easier than what I thought. Color and sharpness on the HDTV and Plasma was in one word — AMAZING! Verizon claims that you will notice a difference in audio but I did not notice any change.
They also claim that your Internet download and upload is faster. I did notice a difference. Signal strength on our wireless computers increased by 1 bar using Verizon’s Actiontec router and I was able to navigate from site to site faster. I had considered using my LinkSys router as a bridge because I had all of my computers and my printer set up but I found their router’s capability to more than sufficient to handle all 3 computers. And with the Actiontec router you can receive a wireless signal up to 400 feet away. As you can see from the pictures below the router does not take up any space on my desk. It comes with a stand so you can sit it on a desk vertically. You can also mount the router on a wall. It comes with a template to mark holes.
The technician attached a coaxial cable to the back of the Verizon router. It keeps the TV Guide and Pay-Per-View programming up-to-date. The cable transports the packets from the ONT to the router and the router pushes that data wirelessly to all of the receivers. I had 6 receivers installed: 1-HD receiver, 1-HD DVR Multi room receiver, and 4-Standard receivers. You can record a movie using the multi room receiver and watch that movie on any of the televisions when you are ready.
He programmed each remote to the televisions and he explained the different features of the remote. He gave us instructions on how to program the remotes. The remotes are universal so one remote will control one receiver, one tv, a DVD and an auxiliary device.
The channel line up we have is audacious. I subcribed to the Extreme HD package. More than 250 channels.
It’s been a week and we have had no major issues or disruption of service. We did notice that the tv aspect changes when we watch a HD program. Our HDTV and Plasma picture stretches with black bands on each side or converts to 4:3 (small box) with black bands on all sides. This can cause your tv screen to burn through the center. To rectify this we were able to set the tv aspect to an automatic setting.
I enjoyed calling Directv to cancel. Customer service bounced me over to their cancellation department. At first I did not tell the representative that we changed to Verizon. He offered me free service for 3 months. When I told him that I was cancelling because of the increase of price all he could do was apologize. When I did tell him that I decided to replace Directv service with Verizon he seemed shocked. I told him that the picture quality was better than satellite. He responded by saying that he never heard that before. Well, I guess there is a first for everything. A couple of days later we received a call from a Directv representative who tried to get us to come back.
I drank the kool-aid and I like it!