A contract is not required for FiOS service. You'll probably want at least a one-year contract, though, as the price of Internet jumps from $39.99/mo to $47.99/mo without a one-year contract.
Verizon FiOS is definitely worth it. The standard FiOS HD channel lineup:
- My WDCA
- PBS-HD (second, if it exists in your area)
- ESPN HD
- ESPN2 HD
- NFL Network HDTV
- Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic HD (i.e. your local HD RSNs)
- HD Net
- HD Net Movies
- Universal HD
- HD Theater
- Wealth TV HD
- National Geographic Channel HD
- Food Network HD
- HGTV HD
- A&E HD
- Lifetime Movie Network HD
- Discovery HD
- HBO HDTV
- Cinemax HDTV
- Showtime HDTV
- TMC HDTV
- Starz! HDTV
The price is $42.99/mo for 200+ digital channels with all of the above, save for the last five premiums. You can add Showtime HD, TMC HD, and Starz HD (plus 41 SD movie channels) for $12.99/mo total. Verizon announced there will be no increase in programming prices until 2009 if you sign up by January 18.
Verizon has also announced that an additional 60 HD channels are coming next spring, with 150 total HD channels by the end of 2008. As alluded to above, most new channels are coming at no extra charge. Unlike Comcast, Verizon FiOS does not include VOD channels in its count.
The main 'problem' with Verizon FiOS is that their DVR software is 'buggy.' They have a maintenance update
coming in 2-3 weeks that should address most of those issues. Of course, the Comcast DVR isn't exactly 'bug free' either.
FiOS customers who want a top-quality DVR with storage expansion can buy their own dual-tuner TiVoHD HDTV DVR ($250) which supports all FiOS SD and HD channels. I am using a TiVoHD with 144 hours of HD storage
Verizon FiOS does not have any plans to use SDV.