Install was okay. My technician was brand new to TV (as most of them are). I was actually his first "alone" install.
He was on the phone with his buddy (who stopped by a few times) going over certain things.
While he was stringing the new coax, I actually went and installed the Actiontec router - as I was previously using the DLink that was given to me during my FIOS data install. Personally, I really like the router.
My first DVR box was dead - and it took him about 2 hours to figure that out. He activated a 2nd one - and BAMM - worked. I did have those missing channel issues (literally half my stations were out)-- that really stumped all the techs. At one point i Had three VZ vans outside my house. Lol. It took them 3 days to find out there was "dirty fiber" at the CO.
Your issues -
1) The boxes - yes, really you do need one for each TV (if you want more than local broadcast channels) - but for standard def boxes only being $5/mo, it isn't that bad when comparing the overall total cost to Comcast. I know alot of folks are griping about this, but in the grand scheme of things, look at what you're getting for that $5.
2) # of HD channels - right now, at least in the Wilmington area, the HD channel offering is VERY similar to Comcast - hence my wanting VZ to get on the ball. Right now, it's almost a dead heat. FIOS gives HD Net and HD Net Movies, The Movie Channel HD and Wealth TV. Comcast had inHD and the Vs/Golf Channel HD.
FIOS also gives two local PBS HD stations. Rumors have it they're adding more National HD's soon (Food, HGTV, A&E, etc) but when that happens is a mystery.
3) On Demand - i'll say it's not as expansive as Comcast's - but I didn't expect it to be based on Comcast's head start. There aren't any HD On Demand selections yet - but are said to be on the way. The HBO's, etc. are identical. FIOS does not have Howard Stern (if you care).
4) The learning curve is steep right now. My tech even said how different the "TV" world is to them - and every job they do is like a step further in the right direction.
Personally, I can't wait for the new guide interface that is due out by Summer at the latest. The screen shots available on VZ's website are really great looking.