Verizon sent a tech out to my residence today and they tried swapping the box. It did not fix the audio issues on the affected channels. He did acknowledge the quality difference after comparing the affected channels to normal ones. He said it could very well be the result of Verizon trying to stuff too many channels and reducing the bit rate on audio to make more room. He also said Verizon probably would not do anything about it because it is considered a minimal problem without enough complaints.
I just spoke with a technical service rep and explained the issue for the fourth time. He spoke with his supervisor and had the case escalated to the Network Team. I will update this thread with the results.
Verizon - This is a service gap. You make lofty promises about the quality of your FIOS TV service and build up customer expectations. You fail to meet these expectations with substandard service. You are no better than your competitors! It's a different dog with the same fleas.
Yeah, you know.. I'm really starting to agree with this.. How could you be running out of bandwidth on fiber optics though?? Honestly, if I wasn't under the 2-year contract, I'd consider switch back to Dish Network.
Why they choose the channels that they did to lower the bitrate on, I'll never know.. The Discovery channel and Comedy Central are POPULAR channels.. Why couldn't you do it to some other, less popular channel.. :/
I don't believe this has anything to do with bitrate tampering (which verizon does not particpate in).
There is simply a problem somewhere between Comedy Central and Verizon.
One of the ways you can easily poke holes in the bitrate theory is local ad inserts on these channels have high quality audio. It's the national feed that's messed up, not what Verizon ends up piping down to us. Also, of all the ways to save bandwidth, tampering with the audio is the dumbest way to go about doing it since the savings would be marginal at best.
The local ad inserts on these particular channels have the exact same audio problems. bull3964, you sound like you work for Verizon. If you don't, maybe you should consider a career with them - you already seem to know how to tow the party line! If it was a problem between Verizon and Comedy Central, then Verizon should have a process for identifying and dealing with that problem.
Bottom line - the sound quality is poor on a few particular channels, another person on this thread identified the same issues, and I have Verizon technical support on a recording (my answering machine) admitting they found an issue at the central office causing this.
As a customer, I could care less WHAT is causing the issue. All I care about, and all I should care about, is getting what I pay for each month.
The local ad inserts on these particular channels have the exact same audio problems. bull3964, you sound like you work for Verizon. If you don't, maybe you should consider a career with them - you already seem to know how to tow the party line!
They DO NOT here. The local ad inserts are clean as a whistle on Comedy Central which is the only channel that has audio quality issues on my service in Pittsburgh. Regardless, there's no reason to lash out emotionally. Trying to figure out where in the chain the problem is can really help them track down the issue. Just because someone doesn't want to grab pitchforks to storm Verizon's castle doesn't automatically make them a plant or an apologist. I am annoyed that comedy central has such junk audio. I also recognize though that such a thing can be hard to track down and may not be fully their fault. Would I like more communication on the issue? Of course. However, at this point I'm still marveling that a resource like this exists since this is about 1000x more communication than I would get from Comcast.
We also may be experiencing two completely different types of issues.
Also, the suppostion that the root of the cause of this issue is compression is just plain silly. Verizon doesn't recompress the feeds. We've never seen any evidence that they do recomopress the feeds. Any gains that would be made from further compression SD digital feeds on a handful of scattered stations would be so marginal they might as well not bother. Also, the idea that any such compression, would it exist, would affect the audio in such a dramatic way is even more laughable. Audio compresses extremely well and you would have to do some really really nasty things to it to get it to sound as bad as what these channels do. The end result would be for what? A few KB of datarate reduction? No, I don't buy it. It's an equipment problem, plain and simple. It's annoying that they haven't tracked it down and fixed it (permantly) yet, but there's nothing nefarious going on here.
Honestly, at this point in time I'm more annoyed that we don't have Comedy Central HD. The hope that this channel being added in the future is really limiting any effort that I would want to expend trying to improve the SD version which is catagorically one of the worst SD stations in image quality anyways. I'm not going to spend hours hounding Verizon or expend any emotional energy ranting about somethign which hopefully will become moot in the short term.
Whether Verizon's television business is in its infancy or not, they are still running a business. This is not a growing human child we are talking about here. This is a corporate entity, open for business, advertising its services, and happily cashing our checks at the bank each business cycle. That being the case, smart customers should expect nothing less than 100%.
The reason businesses get away with things is because customers let them. In a for-profit world, customer demands shape the business. There is no room for mercy on the part of customers. Verizon will become whatever its customers allow it to become.
I would like to see it pioneer the way for new standards in telecommunications service. Hopefully, others want the same and are willing to push to get it.
Ok, couldn't stop poking around even though it looks like Verizon won't be able to fix the issue.
The channels with audio issues are all at 429 mhz. Check your diagnostics menu by hitting "Power, Ok, Ok" ("Select" instead of "Ok" on some remotes). Choose the "Current Channel Status" option and note the frequency.
I found all of them were at 429 mhz. Here is a link to another forum where users discussed a possible reason for the sound issues. http://www.dslreports.com/forum/remark,17121170
The extra noise on these channels could be the result of radio frequency interference on the line. While fiber is not vulnerable to this, the coax in your residence is. I don't know if there are other places upstream where the signal is travelling through anything other than fiber.
Two possible culprits are Ham radio operators and some types of Radar. Maybe even some other types of electrical devices nearby or who knows what. Apparently the first two operate around 429 quite frequently.
Verizon swears they do not change the compression or alter the signals they receive in any way. Other providers do, but they swear they don't. While that was my first guess (and I was pretty angry from having techs "no show" for three windows in a row), the RF interference hunch seems more plausible because every one of the channels is at 429 mhz.
Do any of you live around anything that could be causing the interference? Comedy Central is definitely the worst for me, but others are bad too.
I still think Verizon should find a way to shield their wiring or something. It's great that fiber keeps things from leaking in upstream, but not so useful when the wiring inside residences remains vulnerable to interference.
P.S. - bull3964, sorry for snapping at you earlier in the thread. It seemed like you were dismissive about the matter and I had just dealt with Verizon's lovely customer service all day.