Verizon Fios TV…It really is good

Today I had Verizon Fios TV installed in my home, as part of a “triple play” package of TV, phone and broadband service. After watching it for a few hours this evening, I’ve got to say it really is as good as the advertisements would lead you to believe. And it’s a lot better than the cable and satellite systems I’ve had in the past few years, including Comcast, DirectTV and Dish TV.

I’ve had the Fios broadband service for over a year now, and it has been fast and reliable. In fact the only real issue I had was with the D-Link router they originally gave me. Today I got a new router which has additional capabilities. Of particular note is the MoCA (Multimedia over Coax) functions, which allow me to distribute photos and music from a computer to watch on a TV. The router also enables the distribution of an extensive library of on-demand programming to any set-top box in the house.

The quality of the picture is excellent, in both standard and high definition. There is a brief moment of pixelation during channel changing, but the signal “locks in” at full quality within a second. My guess is that the pixelation is a trade-off for lower latency while changing channels; it reminds me of the interlaced GIF or progressive JPEG images that were common in the “modem era” of the internet, when it took a second or so for a web page to load. But the pixelation moment is very brief, and is quite tolerable. It certainly is no worse than the pixelation on digital cable, and much better than the pixelation I would frequently experience with satellite reception.

One issue that I still have to resolve is the location of the “Home Media DVR” set-top box. I had originally planned to put the box in bedroom, but I have already had to move it to another room. Like the TIVO and ReplayTV boxes I’ve had, the Motorola QIP6416 that Verizon provides is too noisy for a bedroom. The sound of the fan is noticeable in a quiet room, and the sound of the hard drive is even more audible during read/write operations. So I’ve switched the bedroom TV to one of the standard set-top boxes, the whisper quiet QIP2500.

I’m sure I’ll discover some other idiosyncrasies over time, but so far, I’m very happy with Verizon Fios TV. The picture quality is great, the channel selection is unsurpassed, and the cost is a good value compared to cable, even when factoring in the monthly equipment fees. I’m still not sure about the Home Media DVR, as it’s not nearly as user-friendly as TIVO. But I understand some interface improvements may be forthcoming, so I’ll wait and see what the future brings.

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