I had been a Comcast customer for years and years, and honestly never had too many problems. My service was not flakey, and I didn't need to call them very often - except to haggle with them to be put on a pricing promotion each time the previous promo ran out. But I felt like my luck couldn't last forever, and I disrespect Comcast for the way that they overall run their business. So I was very excited to see that Fios fiber was being run in to my neighborhood.
About 6 weeks ago, I got a call from a Verizon salesperson offering Fios services and I chose to get my POTS service moved to Fios, 10/2 Internet, HD TV service with one HD DVR, and a basic converter box for my old crappy TV. All this was about $110/month.
On the day of installation almost exactly one month ago, the installer arrived at the beginning of the appointment time block and was very friendly and knowledgeable. The area of my house where Comcast/Verizon service comes in is about 20 feet from the pole that Fios was strung to, so they didn't bury the fiber (which is what I preferred). Installation went quickly and without problem.
My telephone service is fine - no change in service quality, none expected. Their internet service was as fast as I signed up for. I did several speed tests at different times of day and 10/2 is pretty much what I was getting. Wifey and I don't do any online gaming, nor heavy downloading. Mostly just typical surfing and email activities. Once in a while, I'll upload a bunch of content to my website, but a couple dozen MBs would be rare.
The TV service was a horrible experience for me. Bare with me as this part is going to get quite long-winded. Previously with Comcast, I was using a home-built DVR (SageTV). But since I had ordered the Fios DVR which has a dual tuner, I thought I'd be all set to be able to fully replace the functionality (that I love) of SageTV and everything would be perfect in HD quality. Boy was I wrong.
The DVR recording settings include a choice of whether to record new episodes only, or new and rerun episodes. I thought that when they say 'new episodes' that means episodes that haven't ever been aired before. No, 'new episodes' means episodes that the DVR has never recorded before. So if I put SouthPark in as a 'favorite' and told it to record only new episodes, it'll still record every episode it can find since it had never recorded any before. I thought this had to be a mistake, but in addition to experiencing exactly this, 2 seperate conversations with 2 seperate techs at Fios confirmed this. This is a huge strike against their DVR for my purposes. But on top of that, the DVR sometimes continued to record episodes that I had already recorded on the Fios DVR, watched on the DVR, and deleted from the DVR, as if I had never even recorded them.
The next problem I had was with the programming guide information. Even after allowing ample time for the DVR to download completely, the guide information was significantly generic. Many show descriptions were only just basic SERIES descriptions, (not even an episode description) and didn't include original air dates. The EPG (electronic programing guide) in SageTV was reliably comprehensive and this is what I expected from Fios. Fios tech support tried to tell me it was because the networks didn't make specific episode information available, but when I asked them how SageTV (who uses Zap2it's EPG) was able to have it, they didn't have an answer. This was a problem for me when trying to manually prune through the huge lists of scheduled recording the DVR was accumulating because it couldn't differential between reruns and actually new episodes.
The next problem I had was with what Fios tech support calls 'lip-synching' which is when the audio and video of a show get slightly out of synch so that I hear someone still talking after I see them close their mouth. This happened with recorded shows and live shows, and Verizon's only suggestion for fixing it was to reset my box which did not solve the problem. It didn't happen for every show, but often enough that it wasn't a fluke.
Next, sometimes when I would tune in to a live channel that was available to me (not a premium channel like HBO), I would get a message "Currently Unavailable" on top of a black screen. If I change the channel, then change back to the original channel it would often clear this up, but not always. I shouldn't have to do this in the first place.
Next, when watching recorded shows and FFing through commercials, sometimes the DVR would get hung when I would press PLAY to resume watching. For example, I'd be FFing through commercials, get to the return of the show and press PLAY and it would act as it I pressed PAUSE. It would not respond to any remote control button except for STOP, which would then force me to go back in to the DVR's menu, and resume the playback.
Another problem I had was that when a scheduled recording would be recorded, sometimes in addition to the full intended episode, it would also record 7 or 8 second clips of the same show. So I might have, what it considered 3 copies of the same recording. More rarely, the intended episode would not be recorded at all but the 7 or 8 second clips would be, so I wouldn't have a full recording of the show at all.
Continuing on, sometimes when watching a playback, usually of an HD recording, the show would 'catch'. Meaning, the video would pause for a second or two, as if I had hit PAUSE, but the audio would continue as it should. Then the video would catch up. It makes continuity very choppy and distracting.
Lastly, the DVR box was often slow to respond to my remote's commands. When I'd press a button, it could take up to 4-5 seconds to respond to it (even when not recording any shows). Aside from the annoyance, it sometimes caused a problem for me because I'd hit the button again, thinking I didn't press the button correctly, and when the DVR catches up, it would sometimes do something I wasn't trying to tell it to do because of the extra commands it received.
All of these issues occurred much more than just once for me, and I called Fios tech support 3 or 4 times regarding them - the last of these calls I was on with a rep for over an hour discussing all these issues. The only resolution suggestions I'd ever gotten from Fios tech support was to reset the box. During one of my first calls, the tech remotely reset my box to try to clear up some of these issues. It did not help. During one of the last calls, the tech offered to remotely do a major reset of the box, which potentially could have erased all the scheduled recordings I had set up (and spent so much time pruning through). I agreed to let him do it. It did not solve any of the problems, nor did it delete any scheduled recordings.
To get my dual-tuner SageTV DVR to work with Fios (so I could not have to use the Fios DVR) would require a USBUIRT device, an IR emitter, 2 more Fios digital converters from Verizon, and (what I perceived to be) significant time of trial and error getting all of those things to work correctly. I chose not to.
Yesterday, 2 days before the end of Fios' 30-day customer satisfaction period, I called to cancel my Fios TV and Internet service. The rep asked what he could do to keep me, and I explained all the issues I was having. I said that there is absolutely nothing you could realistically do to keep me - even if you gave me the service for free - because the majority of the problems is how the STB works (or doesn't, for that fact). So of course I'll pay for the time I used the service, but I will not have to pay the Fios contract's ETF.
With my head hung in shame, I crawled back to Comcast. I was sure they had deals to entice Fios customers back, so they offered me their HD DVR box with HD service and 6/2MB internet for $83/month. With Comcast's service, I can use my SageTV box again, and if I feel like recording anything in HD I can use Comcast's HD DVR.
Interesting note, Fios' HD channels are noticeable better quality than Comcast's; but that's not a major factor to me. Another FYI: The Fios equipment installed in my house will remain because now my Verizon phone service runs through it. I didn't want Comcast's VoIP.
So there it is, my experience with Fios. I am so disappointed in the TV service. I realize that I may have higher expectations than other consumers, possibly because I am spoiled by SageTV. But I don't think my expectations are unreasonable. Mostly, I was just expecting the STB to do what it was supposed to be doing. I may try Fios again in a couple years, after they've had more time to work out these bugs.