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Verizon FiOS HDTV - Page 8

post #211 of 17987
The suburban New York community of Nyack has just approved a contract with Verizon to offer is FiOS digital TV system. It becomes the second New York municipality to sign on with Verizon. The local cable company, Cablevision, isn't accepting the competition quietly. Here's a story:

A Digital Dodge City


The high-stakes battle between Verizon and Cablevision over a town on Long Island
By Spencer E. Ante BusinessWeek.com
James Altadonna Jr. won a heated election in 2001 to unseat the incumbent mayor in Massapequa Park, a comfy middle-class suburb on the south shore of New York's Long Island, and he has since been reelected twice. But he has never had his reputation attacked as fiercely as this year, when he got caught in the middle of a fight between two of the country's most powerful communications companies.

The clash Altadonna has become embroiled in pits Cablevision Systems Corp. (), the sole provider of cable TV in Massapequa Park, against Verizon Communications Inc. (), which wants a license to offer a competing television service. Altadonna, who serves as mayor part-time and donates his $7,000 salary to the village, thinks Verizon should get its license so residents have more choice. Yet after he pushed through that approval, Cablevision on Oct. 17 slapped the village, its trustees, and Verizon with a lawsuit. Then a Cablevision-funded group distributed fliers and advertised in local papers, accusing the mayor of betraying his town.

Altadonna isn't backing down. The 45-year-old, who runs a local printing company and has lived with his wife and three children in Massapequa Park for 12 years, is sending residents a letter criticizing the fliers as "misleading and deceptive." He says Cablevision is simply trying to delay competition. "The scare tactics they use are ridiculous," he says. "You wouldn't think a billion-dollar company would pick on a mayor." Cablevision says it is not trying to prevent competition. Its goal is to stop Verizon from getting a special deal.

This is just one skirmish in perhaps the most contentious battle in the communications industry. A Digital Age equivalent of the Hatfields and the McCoys, Verizon and Cablevision are shooting it out in town after town across the New York region. Their battle reflects the changes sweeping the tech landscape, with cable companies trying to grab phone customers and phone companies jumping into the cable-TV business.

Yet the clash also shows the benefits of bare-knuckled competition. As they slug it out, Verizon and Cablevision are steadily coming out with better services and lower prices on everything from traditional telephone calling to speedy Net access. In August, Verizon introduced a low-end broadband service for $15 a month, half the price of its previous entry-level offering. In November, Cablevision unveiled broadband with speeds of as much as 50 megabits per second, trumping Verizon's 30 megabits. "Consumers end up getting more products with better prices and greater value," says analyst Anthony Noto of Goldman, Sachs & Co. ().

Their fight offers a study in contrasts. Cablevision is a combative, entrepreneurial outfit run by the eccentric father-and-son team Charles and James L. Dolan. James now runs the Bethpage (N.Y.) company, which also owns Madison Square Garden and the New York Knicks. Verizon is the quintessential corporate icon, a descendant of Ma Bell. Based in Manhattan, Verizon is headed by Ivan G. Seidenberg, a diplomatic exec who shuns the spotlight.

The wrangling dates back to late 2003, when Dolan's Cablevision became the first cable company to offer phone service over its fiber lines. With its stronghold in the New York region, Cablevision added phone customers quickly and now has more than 600,000. About 13% of the people who can get its phone service have signed up, giving Cablevision the highest success rate of any major cable company. Cablevision has also aggressively offered broadband service, and now claims 1.6 million subscribers. "They are going to fight Verizon every step of the way," says analyst Craig E. Moffett of Sanford C. Bernstein & Co.

THE SANDWICH INCIDENT

Seidenberg's response to such challenges has been a counterattack of head-spinning risk. Alone among the phone companies, he's spending billions to string fiber-optic lines into peoples' homes, so Verizon can offer them cable TV and blazing Net service that could one day reach 100 megabits. Verizon offers the Net service, dubbed FiOS, in hundreds of towns nationwide, but its TV service is being rolled out more slowly. Verizon needs to win government approval to offer TV, in most cases from each town or village.

As Massapequa Park demonstrates, the battles for those approvals can be bruising. Verizon began serious negotiations with the village over the summer and participated in a Sept. 12 public hearing on the issue. About the same time, Cablevision's director of franchise management, Jeffrey M. Clark, called the mayor and said the company was planning to run ads condemning the Verizon franchise in local papers. According to an affidavit from Altadonna, Clark offered to pull the ads if trustees postponed a vote on the agreement scheduled for later that month. Altadonna refused. Through a Cablevision spokesman, Clark denies the allegation.

The day trustees planned to vote on the new franchise, Sept. 26, they held another public meeting that hundreds of locals attended. During the hearing, Altadonna and the others took a 15-minute break to eat in a private room before they returned and approved Verizon's application. That 15-minute break is at the heart of Cablevision's lawsuit. The company alleges trustees violated the state's open meeting law by discussing the franchise behind closed doors. Altadonna says they simply ate sandwiches. "There's no question the village followed the law," he says.

Even after the vote, Cablevision has tried to persuade Massapequa Park residents to oppose Verizon. A few weeks later, a trade group, financed by Cablevision, sent flyers out accusing Altadonna of reneging on a promise to keep Verizon's cable equipment above street level. Still, most town residents seem to be on the mayor's side. "I wouldn't mind having some more competition," says Maria Walsh, a 42-year-old local.

Besides the lawsuit and the public relations campaign, Cablevision is appealing to New York regulators. (In New York, the state must confirm the franchises approved by local governments.) The cable company alleges Verizon got a sweetheart deal, with terms that are better than Cablevision's own. Among other things, Cablevision contends that Verizon isn't obligated to offer television service to every resident. "[The agreement] has loopholes that allow it to pick and choose neighborhoods," says a Cablevision spokesman. Altadonna and Verizon say that's not true.

The cable company is pushing hard to win over state regulators. It's sending letters to local mayors, urging them to lobby regulators to reject Verizon's Massapequa Park franchise, according to documents reviewed by BusinessWeek (click here and here for a sample). Cablevision's argument is that Massapequa Park could serve as a template for new cable franchises in other towns -- and that it's one that will poorly serve local communities.

Massapequa Park's fate should be decided soon. State regulators are expected to rule on Verizon's franchise in the coming weeks. And the state Supreme Court is expected to issue a decision in the Cablevision lawsuit next month. If state regulators approve the deal, Verizon plans to start offering cable TV, even if the suit is still in litigation.

Meanwhile, Altadonna is busy addressing one of the issues Cablevision has raised. On a recent sunny morning, he pulls up to the street where two Verizon cable boxes are located. The company's technicians are installing similar boxes 15 feet in the air and removing those near the ground. Rolling down his car window, Altadonna says, "I'm the mayor."

"This box is going to be taken away," says Brad Helford, a technician. "That's what you wanted, right?" Altadonna smiles. "Yup. I always live by what I say."

After he drives back to his office in Town Hall, Altadonna puts the finishing touches on his letter to village residents. "My integrity is not negotiable," it reads. "No malicious fliers, mailed by cowardly, spiteful individuals, will deter me from doing the right thing."

http://www.businessweek.com/magazine...9/b3962098.htm
post #212 of 17987
We in NJ (where Verizon is trying to get a statewide clearance rather than each town) are already starting to get strange commercials. I saw one recently stating that Verizon TV was "a bad idea" because they didn't offer (some kind of unspecified) service to "South Jersey". ????

At least this will employ those political-slime-commercial guys for a while longer - and probably get the same public reaction. Disgust, incomprehension, and "what's this Verizon TV stuff?" Honestly, I wasn't sure which side produced it.
post #213 of 17987
have you seen the channel lineup for Verizon FIOS in Herdnon VA?

i would dump satellite in a nanosecond for the channel choice offered!!!!!
post #214 of 17987
From looking at Fios site, I see they offer DVR services but from what I can tell, Non-Hd. Anybody know any different? That would be a very big reason for me not to switch.
post #215 of 17987
The FIOS DVR is HD. They don't even offer an "SD" DVR but the HD one obviously records SD.

I've had mine now for about 3 months. I do have a problem with it in that it shows 50% full even with no programs showing in the list. I need to call and get a service tech to come out and replace it but I haven't done it yet.

John
post #216 of 17987
Comes to FLA:

http://biz.yahoo.com/prnews/051206/nytu106.html?.v=33

"TEMPLE TERRACE, Fla., Dec. 6 /PRNewswire/ -- Verizon unveiled Verizon FiOS TV in Florida today to residents of this city of 21,000 northeast of Tampa, making it the first community in the state to feature the new service. Verizon will begin taking customer orders immediately and will make FiOS TV available in communities across Verizon's service territory next year."
post #217 of 17987
whats the channel lineup for FIOS TV?
post #218 of 17987
Quote:
Originally Posted by RAVEN56706 View Post

whats the channel lineup for FIOS TV?


http://www22.verizon.com/FiosForHome...V/channel.aspx
post #219 of 17987
Verizon starts TV service today
Verizon flips a switch in Temple Terrace to join the competition for providing television service.
By DAVE GUSSOW, Times Staff Writer
Published December 6, 2005

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

TEMPLE TERRACE - The next skirmish in an increasingly contentious fight between phone and cable TV companies begins today when Verizon Communications flips the switch to provide TV service to this Hillsborough County community of 22,000.

But don't expect to be shocked and awed by a rapid deployment throughout the bay area: Verizon has only one other franchise agreement in this area - for unincorporated Manatee County - and only 43 agreements across the country.

In fact, only about 20 percent of Temple Terrace will initially have access to Verizon's FiOS service. Verizon began laying the fiber optic lines for the system here in January and received a franchise agreement from the city in May.

"This is just the beginning," Verizon spokesman Bob Elek said.

For consumers, the competition eventually will mean more choice and likely better pricing on TV, as well as phone, Internet and wireless services, which will be offered in bundles.

Cable companies - including Bright House Networks, the dominant cable company in this area, and Knology in Pinellas - already are offering phone services and are forming alliances with wireless carriers, such as Sprint.

In Keller, Texas, where Verizon started FiOS service in September, the cable TV incumbent, Charter Communications, began offering lower-priced introductory offers.

In the bay area, Verizon boosted the speed and cut the price of its digital subscriber line service for Internet access, while Bright House increased its access speed.

Verizon and Bright House have been exchanging barbs for months as competition has intensified. Bright House filed a complaint with the state Public Service Commission at one point. Verizon responded by talking about the rise of cable TV rates.

On Monday, Bright House spokesman Dan Ballister said simply, "We look forward to the challenge ahead," voicing confidence in its offerings and ability to provide good customer service.

Not all cable companies have been as cordial. In New York, Cablevision has fought Verizon's entry into some markets and criticized at least one town's mayor who supported a franchise for Verizon, according to the Wall Street Journal and other publications.

Jonathan Hurd, vice president of Adventis, a Boston telecom consulting firm, says Verizon's investment of billions of dollars in upgrading its network and offering TV is an absolute necessity, both to defend its traditional phone revenue as well as to attract new customers.

"When consumers think about buying these services, a lot of times it's the video and entertainment aspects of it that really sway their decisions," Hurd said.

Research also shows an opportunity, Hurd says, with many consumers expressing unhappiness with traditional video experiences and 85 percent saying there's nothing to watch one or more times a week.

"If Verizon can offer a more differentiated service than the traditional cable or satellite experience, then they have an opportunity to make some significant inroads into the market," Hurd said.

Initially, Verizon will be offering a comparable number of channels for less money. And it will tout its fiber network as a way to offer more - such as a package of international channels - than traditional cable providers can handle.

For example, Verizon's new service will include an "expanded basic" TV package for $39.95 a month that includes about 180 channels. In contrast, Bright House's "standard service" of cable offerings offers 78 channels for $46.49 a month (See chart, right).

At a news conference this morning, Verizon officials will show off the "super head end" control center, known as SHE-1, which looks like something NASA would use, with a wall full of monitors and people checking computer screens at their desks.

Tom Cruden, the senior staff consultant for video operations whose TV experience goes back to the GTE Americast (now Knology) system in Pinellas, even talks like a mission commander, frequently using the words "backup, redundancy and reliability."

If a problem is detected, the system automatically will switch to a backup. That includes anything on the network, from a satellite dish to even SHE-1, where operations would be transferred automatically to a second national control center in Bloomington, Ill.

"All launches are exciting," Cruden said. "But the difference (with FiOS) is the vast change in technology."

-- Information from Times files was used in this report.

-- Dave Gussow can be reached at dgussow@sptimes.com or 727 445-4165.

[Last modified December 6, 2005, 13:17:02]


http://www.sptimes.com/2005/12/06/Bu...s_TV_ser.shtml
post #220 of 17987
Verizon Pops Texas Six-Pack

By Linda Haugsted Multichannel.com

Parts of six more Texas communities will see the launch of Verizon Communications Inc.'s Verizon FiOS TV Monday.

The telephone company is expanding into areas of communities closest to its initial market, Keller. Areas that can order service as of Monday are northern Carrollton, eastern Coppell, central Flower Mound, northern Fort Worth, northern Irving and central Lewisville.

Verizon said it will now pass 400,000 north Texas households by the end of 2006, or 33% of its landline customers in the state.

New markets in 2006 will be Allen, Colleyville, Denton, Double Oak, Garland, Grapevine, Hebron, Highland Village, Lucas, Murphy, Parker, Plano, Rowlett, Sachse (where the rollout is governed by a local franchise negotiated before this year's passage of statewide operating authority), Southlake, St. Paul, Westlake (also locally franchised) and Wylie.

The actual launch times will be based on local completion of the telco's fiber-to-the-premises network in each community.
post #221 of 17987
Glad to read about any FIOS expansion and hope Verizon makes it to my Manhattan location soon. Don't recall a definitive answer to what was meant by the suggestion Verizon's SD/HD isn't 'compressed' compared to standard cable or other sources (another thread). Obviously HD is always compressed (video payload) from ~1.2 Gbps originally, to ~220 Mbps for HDD5 cassette storage, to ~45 Mbps for programmer satellite delivery to head ends, to ~17 Mbps (or less) to homes. -- John
post #222 of 17987
Just talked to a verizon installation guy who was doing an installation for the fios data in falls church... He said he's pretty sure the fairfax county VA area will get the TV service ~mid Jan. he said. So that means only a month away!! Apparently they're testing the service throughly now, so it should be launched in a month. This is definetly great news for the northern va area!
post #223 of 17987
I live in Fairfax County and am seriously considering getting FiOS internet and TV. I have D* now and am very, very dissapointed with the picture quality of their SD and HD. HDNET used to look awesome, but not anymore. The other D* HD channels have been ho-hum (PQ-wise) for quite awhile now. I get my local OTA.

Please, if anybody posting here has Verizon FIOS TV (with HD), please provide feedback on the PQ!!!
post #224 of 17987
Quote:
Originally Posted by JJ Davis View Post

The FIOS DVR is HD. They don't even offer an "SD" DVR but the HD one obviously records SD.

Does the Motorola DVR they use have firewire ports? That would be the icing on the cake for me.
post #225 of 17987
I live in Flower Mound. I just found out this service is available to me. I think I am going to switch from Dish. Any one know if the Motorola DVR they use has 15 sec. skip enabled? My wife says she can't go back to watching commercials.
post #226 of 17987
is there a list of cities being considered for the FIOS hdtv service?

i'm in atlanta and would love to jump if it's cheaper than comcast - my bills are out of hand with all the HD channels and 2 dvrs.
post #227 of 17987
Here's what I can tell you. I've been with FIOS TV now for over 3 months (I was part of the beta in Keller, TX). The PQ is excellent on both SD and HD material. I don't believe they have the 15 second skip enabled on the PVR - I've just used the fast forward to get through them but it takes some effort.

The firewire ports are indeed enabled but I have yet to be able to record to my D-VHS using them. My Mitsu. RPTV sees the STB fine but I cannot get the Mitsu. D-VHS to recognize/record from from the STB yet.

John
post #228 of 17987
I'd been on the fence about switching from D* after almost 9 years since I had FIOS Internet installed in January. I wasn't really up to date on what D* was pulling in regards to HD locals until last week when they became available for my area, and that sealed the deal. I knew I'd have to upgrade to MPEG-4 boxes eventually (Which would currently cost me $99 for two, non DVRs), but obviously I was out of the loop because seeing I needed yet another dish that they were charging another $100 for. Well, the final straw was the $200 rebate for new and existing customers... That aren't already HD subscribers. As an HD customer that's put up with a lot from D*, that final brush off for their best customers pushed me over the fence.

Any problems I had paying $12.99 per HD DVR with Verizon faded away. Sure I could call retention and get $200 credit. But considering I had been pondering switching to FIOS in order to get a better service, that's not the issue. Real HD, not HD-Lite, a significant number of channels D* doesn't have, and not having to mess around with buying a new dish, installing it, buying new receivers every couple years and the apparent lack of quality with D*'s new non-Tivo DVRs (Only buffering one tuner a prime example...)

My only worry is how much the local taxes and other local fees will add to the bill. Having to pay for the boxes monthly is going to run the bill up fast, but I'm brushing that away given how much MPEG-4 DVR's would run me with D*. So despite my disgust with D*, I'm concerned how much the final bill will be to get roughly the same package I'm getting with D* Platinum. There's still a chance it's going to be cost prohibitive, but considering how much better and how much more I'll be able to get once FIOS is available in Fairfax, it would have to be significant to stop me from switching.
post #229 of 17987
On the North Shore of Long Island the battle to get Verizon's FIOS TV is heating up. I have had Verizon's FIOS internet service for several months now and it has worked as advertised so I have been looking forward to seeing competition to our local cable TV provider which is Cablevision.

Cablevision's reputation for service and value is not good and my personal experiences with them support this. I recently questioned my village's representative to our North Shore Cable Commission concerning the feeling that they are dragging their feet. He blamed Verizon for not making an official proposal for a franchise but there are rumors afloat that the commission has made unreasonable demands. I don't know what truth is but Cablevision has a reputation for doing everything and anything to stop real competition.

The only solution is for citizens to keep questioning their representatives and force them to act for the public good.
post #230 of 17987
Quote:
Originally Posted by JJ Davis View Post

I don't believe they have the 15 second skip enabled on the PVR - I've just used the fast forward to get through them but it takes some effort.

I came across this some time ago. For the 6412, you have to program the 30-second skip feature on the 6412's remote. I've heard this is the DVR that Verizon uses. Don't know if it'll work, but you might try it.

Here are the steps to program the 30 Second Skip, Mute, and Swap on the 6412 remote.

1) Press the "Cable" button at the top of the remote to put it into Cable Box control mode.
2) Press and hold the "Setup" button until the "Cable" button blinks twice.
3) Type in the code 994. The "Cable" button will blink twice
4) Press (do not hold) the "Setup" button
5) Type in the code 00173 (for 30 second Skip), 00141 (for Mute) or 00236 (for Swap).
6) Press whatever button you want to map the skip, mute, or swap function to.
post #231 of 17987
Some 6412s come with a swap button on the remote. Comcast didn't have any when I got my DVR.
post #232 of 17987
OK guys I'm switching. Do these boxes have DVI or HDMI out?
Thanks
post #233 of 17987
I'll try the 30 second skip procedure soon and post back on the results.

Both of the HD STB's (DVR and non-DVR) have DVI out but I haven't verified that they work.

John
post #234 of 17987
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick Adams View Post

I'd been on the fence about switching from D* after almost 9 years since I had FIOS Internet installed in January...

...There's still a chance it's going to be cost prohibitive, but considering how much better and how much more I'll be able to get once FIOS is available in Fairfax, it would have to be significant to stop me from switching.

Rick, I thought you and others might find this article interesting and something that may aid your decisionmaking. Hopefully the link will remain active for a while. Below is one paragraph that really got my attention:

Quote:


A demonstration of all three video feeds is a regular stop for Verizon officials giving visitors tours of the Keller operation. It's easy to see why the FiOS TV feed is distinctly crisper than the Charter and DirecTV feeds on regular and HDTV channels, including local, basic-cable and premium networks.
post #235 of 17987
Quote:
Originally Posted by landlocked View Post

OK guys I'm switching. Do these boxes have DVI or HDMI out?
Thanks

I was able to get FIOS TV installed on December 12, and I was the first install for Irving, TX. I am very happy with the picture quality and the amount of channels you get for the money, especially the price of the movie package. Hopefully they can get HBO and Cinemax in there for a great price too.

As far as the the box, I got the HD/DVR, which is the Motorola QIP 6416-1. The output is HDMI ONLY, no DVI connections on the back of this box. At least not the ones Irving are using.
post #236 of 17987
Quote:
Originally Posted by TexasAg1996 View Post

I came across this some time ago. For the 6412, you have to program the 30-second skip feature on the 6412's remote. I've heard this is the DVR that Verizon uses. Don't know if it'll work, but you might try it.

Here are the steps to program the 30 Second Skip, Mute, and Swap on the 6412 remote.

1) Press the "Cable" button at the top of the remote to put it into Cable Box control mode.
2) Press and hold the "Setup" button until the "Cable" button blinks twice.
3) Type in the code 994. The "Cable" button will blink twice
4) Press (do not hold) the "Setup" button
5) Type in the code 00173 (for 30 second Skip), 00141 (for Mute) or 00236 (for Swap).
6) Press whatever button you want to map the skip, mute, or swap function to.

As far as these codes, they do not work for Verizon FIOS, as there is no "SETUP" button on the remote.
post #237 of 17987
Wonder if anyone with FIOS 1080i has accessed a diagnostic mode (if possible) and measured delivered bit rates for various programs? Supposedly that would help answer what Verizon meant by touting 'non-compression' of video compared to cable companies. What are they delivering 1080i at?

Also, how does Verizon's Motorola 6412 compare, maximum resolution-wise, with other 6412s in use? While a high bit rate delivery of programming should maximize resolution (less MPEG-delivered higher resolutions are 'tossed out' to achieve compression), and minimize MPEG breakups, if the 6412 is quite resolution-limited, enhanced PQ 'crispness' wouldn't make it to displays. A while back, I measured ~1335 lines with Motorola's single-tuner predecessor to the 6412, delivered from RCN Cable and HDNet's test patterns (now Tuesday 6 am ET) to my 9"-CRT RPTV. Suspect it would require live 1080i, or some excellent 1080/60i (30i) recordings, to see maximum HD fidelity. -- John
post #238 of 17987
Quote:


The output is HDMI ONLY, no DVI connections on the back of this box.

Does this box have other outputs besides hdmi, like component video? Also, is anyone aware if this box uses hdcp for certain channels or simply uses hdmi w/o hdcp? Thanks.

-Mike
post #239 of 17987
Yes, both the DVR and non-DVR HD STB's have component outputs. They also have S-Video and composite.

John
post #240 of 17987
Well, I took the plunge and am going to have the Verizon folks come install the HD-PVR and an SD box on 12/30.

I'm switching from DirecTV, mainly because of I'm tired of the softer picture courtesy of HD-Lite. Hopefully, FIOS will be better.

A couple of questions for FIOS HD owners:

1) What options do you have for formatting 4:3 SD signals? Can you do black and/or grey bars as well as the option to crop top and bottom?

2) Can you upconvert SD signals to 1080i?

3) Does the HD-PVR funtion work good? Easy to use and good PQ?

Anything else I should keep my eyes open for on installation day?
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