Sunday, December 28, 2008

A Year of FIOS

Well, in the language of a current TV show, we've been using FIOS for One year, nine days, and forty-six minutes, so it's time for our first annual performance review:

  • It works. Internet, Television, Telephone, all work.

  • The system has no trouble with Linux machines. The tech who installed the router had to use a Windows machine to initialize it, but I think that was more of a tech ability issue than an absolute requirement. I can certainly log into the router via the web interface from either of the Linux boxes, as well as the Macs and the windows machines. I think I've noted that the router won't let you listen to streaming RealPlayer output with a program other than RealPlayer, but that's a minor issue and I could probably call tech support to see how to set the router firewall permissions appropriately. Everything else works fine.
  • We haven't used the telephone that much, frankly. My wife prefers the sound on the copper-wire line we kept, and since I'm not here that much this year we don't often use the FIOS line. I don't notice any difference in sound quality, but you should know that I just found out that a Sonic Screwdriver makes a sound that I can't hear, but everyone else can.
  • TV reception is excellent. There haven't been a lot of the pixellation issues that we had with Comcast digital. The only thing better about Comcast was that they included Starz, Encore, etc., in the standard package. FIOS doesn't, but if you buy the Showtime package, you get all of that as well. (HBO is a separate package, alas.)
  • When FIOS switched to an all digital TV signal last summer, they sent me a free convert box that allows me to access all of the TV channels on my second TV. It doesn't have any fancy features, but it accesses all the FIOS channels.
  • All in all, the quality of service is slightly ahead of Comcast's. However, that has a lot to do with the quality of the connection between the street and the house, and Comcast was using an old cable. If we ever switch back to Comcast, they will hopefully install a newer, high-speed, connection.

So all in all, a positive experience. Knowing what I know now, would I sign up with FIOS again? Yes, absolutely. Next December our two-year commitment to FIOS ends. Will we keep it? It depends on the package Comcast has to offer.

30 Dec 2008: Things I forgot to add the first time:

  • Verizon gives you a measly 10 MB of personal web space, last I looked. I think Comcast gave you about 250 MB. So I had to move my personal web pages to a freebie website provider. Well, it was free except that I had to register my domain with them. Since that only costs $7/year, it's not a problem. But if you have a significant amount of junk content in your current ISP's personal web space, it won't fit into FIOS.
  • The DVR box that we rent from FIOS comes with some nifty widgets, allowing you to view weather, traffic, news, and sports results, along with community information, of which we've had none.

31 Dec 2008: Just one more thing: The FIOS tech can initialize your system without Windows. Just look at the last paragraph of this link. Wish I had known that last year. Oh, well, that was a long time ago, in (almost) another administration, and anyway, that Windows installation is dead.