Now that I’ve had a couple of days with the Verizon Fios “Triple Play” (internet, TV and phone), I’m still convinced that it’s a good value. But, as with any product, there are some idiosyncrasies that I’m still getting used to.
For one thing, I’ve found a few quirks with audio when watching TV, especially when switching between DVR recordings and regular “live” channels. At one point, while watching a DVR recording, I switched channels, and the audio went out completely. I tried changing channels, but the only way to get audio back was to turn the set top box off and back on. I think this may be related to the software in the Motorola QIP6416, as I haven’t had problems with the standard STBs. I’ll be watching this situation closely, and searching the various discussion groups for clues about what may be going on here. I suspect that the Home Media DVR STB is still a work in progress, and that there are still a few kinks to iron out.
We’ve also noticed some quirks with the phone service. On one call, my wife heard a distinctive echo on the line (but the caller didn’t hear it). The echo may be related to our cordless phone, but I’m not sure. Long distance calls now require the dialing of a “1” before the area code (just like in the old days before VOIP and cell phone long distance). There’s currently no web interface for voicemail messages, and in order to retrieve voicemail, one must dial a separate number. This is more cumbersome than the simple * shortcut that we had with SunRocket, but at least Verizon is still in business!
The speed of the Fios internet is still good, but my speed tests at dslreports.com show some slight deterioration of download speed. Interestingly, upload speeds are as good if not better than before I had the triple play installed (when I just had the Fios internet service). I’m averaging about 70 to 80% of advertised speeds on the download side, and 90 to 110% on the upload side.
One disappointment I have with the multi-room DVR is that while I can watch recordings on any STB in the house, I can only program recordings from the DVR. This has prompted me to move the DVR once again, this time to the living room from the basement. Each time I move a set-top box, there is about a 10 to 15 minute wait while program information is downloaded. The main menu and program guides are unavailable during this updating process.
I’m also not impressed with the Media Manager software that allows you to share photos and music from a computer to the other STBs. The software interface on Windows is clunky and cumbersome, with rather limited functionality. It doesn’t even come close to the features available with TIVO or Apple’s AirTunes. It also seems to be a resource hog on the host computer. I’ll live with it for now, but if there isn’t some substantial development in the works for this software, I doubt if I’ll keep it.
All things considered, I’m still quite happy with the Verizon Fios package. The picture quality is amazing, the channel selection is unsurpassed, and the price can’t be beat.