So, this may be a lengthy post, but seeing as how I don't post very often, or rather haven't had a need to until now, I thought I'd share a discovery I recently made in regards to FiOS vs. Comcast.
First, a little background. Prior to this past Sunday (3/14), my FiOS TV environment consisted of the following:
(1) HDTV connected to a TiVo HD with (2) S-Cards
(2) SDTVs each connected to a Series 2 Tivo and SD FiOS STB
Then, on Sunday, I purchased (2) new HDTVs to replace the SDTVs. I brought them home and hooked both up to the Series 2 TiVos and SD STBs and all was well, at least temporarily.
Now, I've been planning to get the whole house on HD, hence the purchase of the (2) new HDTVs. What I hadn't really decided was whether or not I wanted to purchase new TiVo HDs or get Moxis or re-investigate the whole HTPC idea. So, I sat down to do some more research and make a final decision. I've been extremely happy with TiVo since the Series 1 days, but have always longed for centralized control of recordings and such. I had hoped that the TiVo announcement earlier this month about their new TiVos was going to have something along those lines. Alas, that whole announcement about the TiVo Premier was an EPIC FAIL in my eyes. So I really started giving Moxi a hard look. For the most part, from everything I have read, they really sound quite impressive. But (isn't there always a 'but'?), they currently do not have Netflix built-in, you have to use PlayOn software on your computer in order to watch Netflix via the Moxi, which in turn means no Netflix HD, and I've grown quite fond of this feature on the TiVo. But, from the various research I read, they are working hard on this feature, just don't know when it will happen.
So, I then went back to some of the research I had done long ago regarding HTPCs. I got caught back up on things and had read about Ceton's InfiniTV cards, which for those that don't know, will allow you to plug a PCIe card in your computer and slap (1) M-Card in it giving you access to (4) tuners. When I read about them, it was quite a while ago (before they had even come up with an official name for the card), but now I discovered they are suppose to be released at the end of May. OK, so things are now taking shape in my noodle.... I'll drop the idea of new TiVos, and while the Moxis sound just about perfect, the Netflix/PlayOn thing sorta kills it for me, at least right now (among a couple other little things). So, what I decide is, I'll get some FiOS STBs to use while I wait for the Ceton card to be released. I figure even if the Ceton is a bust some how, I could always sell it on eBay or something fairly easily. Now the "fun" begins and the discovery made (bet ya never thought I'd get to the point....
So, Monday morning, I get on the FiOS website to look at current STB offerings and such. After a little research, I decide Ok, what would work, at least for a few months, would be if I got (2) Home Media DVRs, (1) HD Receiver, and (1) M-Card. The idea here was that I would replace the (2) S-Cards currently in my TiVo HD with the (1) M-Card and also hook up one of the HM-DVRs to the same TV (the main TV). That way, I could semi-slowly migrate off the TiVo HD and over to the HM-DVR. So that is the one TV. On the two new HDTVs I would hook one of them up to the other HM-DVR and the other up to the HD Receiver. So, essentially what I was planning was to replace this:
(1) HDTV connected to a TiVo HD with (2) S-Cards
(2) SDTVs each connected to a Series 2 Tivo and SD FiOS STB
(1) HDTV connected to a TiVo HD with (1) M-Card and also connected to (1) HM-DVR
(1) HDTV connected to (1) HM-DVR
(1) HDTV connected to (1) HD Receiver
I figured with (2) HM-DVRs I could enjoy the whole record here and watch there thing, at least between the main TV and the bedroom TV, going both ways (I did not know at the time that you could only get (1) HM-DVR). I wasn't concerned with that ability with the third TV and hence the reason for getting just an HD Receiver.
But, I had a couple of questions about the HM-DVRs that I couldn't seem to find answers to on the website, so I decided to call Verizon to ask them and figured I would just place the order at the same time. Now the real fun started...
I call and ask my questions. With the questions out of the way, I tell her what I want to order and what I'll be returning:
(1) HD Receiver
(2) SD STBs
Simple enough, right? Wrong! This is when I find out that you can only order (1) HM-DVR (I later learn this is due to technical reasons). OK, so, I can't order (2) HM-DVRs. I decide, really, that I can live without the ability to transfer/watch recordings between the main TV and the second TV and vice-versa for a few months (after all this is all going to be a temporary thing anyway). So I tell her Ok then:
(1) HD Receiver
(2) SD STBs
So, we get that all straight, or so I thought. (keep in mind, I'm not telling her all these thoughts about my plans and such as it would have A) just confused things, I'm only typing them up here for your enjoyment (wait, you mean you already fell asleep reading this?!?! 🙂 and B) I like to keep things as simple as possible when placing orders for things so as to NOT cause confusion.) So, really, all the CSR and I have talked about on the phone call itself is the above, about how many of what type equipment I'm ordering and what I'll be returning. I also express surprise when she tells me that they are going to SHIP the M-Card. I tell her I'm surprised because way back when I got the S-Cards, that Verizon had to have a tech come out and she says nope, we'll ship it to you. (In hind-sight, I should have been a little more leary of things seeing as how I had to explain to her what an M-card even was.)
She says, Ok, got the order, you're all set. I say thank you and hang up expecting to get the boxes (and M-Card) in a day or two.
Well, that was all yesterday. I get home from work today and lo-and-behold, there are some Verizon boxes sitting by the front door. I'm pleasantly surprised, figuring it would have been at least Wednesday, and a bit cautious as I'm trying to figure out how (3) STBs are shoved in the bigger of the two boxes. Anyway, I open the two boxes and am immediately disappointed. Obviously, (3) STBs haven't been magically crammed in the one big box, it had only one STB and the smaller box had...what they hell is that thing?? Arrgh...it's a Digital Adapter. Double arrgghh because now I know I'll be on the phone calling to get things straightened out.
So, I call Verizon and explain to them what it was I ordered yesterday and that what I got, at least the Digital Adapter, is incorrect since I didn't even order a DA. The first CSR I speak with ultimately tells me to just send the DA back and that it is possible that the other equipment simply hasn't arrived yet. I'm not unreasonable and accept that, but I ask her can't she see in the system where the other equipment is located and isn't there a tracking number? She asks me to hold on while she gets another person on the line to answer that question... Oh joy, now more fun... instead of 'getting another person on the line to answer the question, she transfers me to someone else...10 minutes of holding later, I get Derick and now I have to explain everything again plus the fact that I was transferred to him to find out a trackng number. Ultimately he tells me there isn't any tracking number, just an order number. I explain to him that there must be a tracking number. He types some more stuff, click-clack-click-clack... OK, I see your order here and all that is listed is an HD receiver and DA. I'm like HUH? No, I was asking for a tracking number and what do you mean all that is listed is an HD Receiver and DA? So I explain to him again what it was that I ordered YESTERDAY. Now I'm starting to get a little peeved. I mean really, I placed an order for (4) total items, one of which I received and one that isn't even something I ordered. But even more worrisome is that he is telling me that he ONLY sees that the order is for those two things and on top of it (now that he understands that one of the items ordered was an M-Card) that I'd have to schedule a truck roll for the M-Card install. I explain to him that the woman I spoke with yesterday said they would ship the card and he says that is wrong, they have to come out and the earliest they could come out is March 30th. I groan a bit, but am not overly surprised at this point. Anyway, I ask about the tracking number again to which he tells me he doesn't have access to it and that he is looking internally in the system. At this point, I've been on the phone over an hour and just want to get the rest of the equipment order straight. He then tells me he will need to transfer me back to the billing and orders people and transfers me (yes, I tried to catch him before he transferred me, but apparently the sound coming out of my mouth doesn't move as fast as his finger!)
About another 10-15 minutes later, I get Theresa. 'Hi, I'm Theresa and I have no idea why you were transferred to me. How may I help you?' AAAAARRRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Ok, deep breath, it's not her fault. I calmly explain to her everything and that she is now the third person I've been transferred to and hopefully she can help me get what SHOULD be an extremely simple thing (ordering friggin' equipment) straightened out. So, like I said, I explain the whole thing about what I ordered and what I got and what do I need to do now? She is actually very helpful (at least in comparison to the other two) and seems to be a bit more knowledgeable about what equipment is what. So I ask, what do I do with the DA? She tells me I can either ship it back OR drop it off at a Verizon office (which just happens to be less than a mile from where I work). I know where this office is as I pass it everyday. I then make the off-hand comment about 'Gee, it sure would be a whole lot easier if a person could just go to a store/office and pick-up/drop-off equipment. She says, 'you can' and that the person I originally spoke with yesterday when I placed the order was incorrect in telling me that I couldn't (I had asked when I placed the order). Well isn't THAT just great! ALL of this could have been avoided as I could have just gone there yesterday and picked everything up. So, OK, I'll drop off the DA at the Verizon office. So, can I just pickup the other equipment when I go there? "Unfortunately, no", she says, because the equipment is already being shipped and I should have the rest of it, sans M-Card within the next couple days. Oooh, so there IS a magical tracking number?? "Oh, no, I'm looking internally in the system", she says. (what is it with these uber-secret tracking numbers????? Sheesh!) But, in the future, yes, you can go to the office and pickup/drop off equipment. Ok, whatever. So, according to Theresa, I should be getting the rest of the equipment in the next day or two. OK, so this M-Card thing. Do I or don't I need to schedule that? "Yes", she says, I'll have to have someone come out and March 30th is the earliest. Fine, whatever, it's not overly important since I already have the S-Cards. "Oh, I'm sorry though, I can't seem to get into the system though to actually schedule the appointment. When you drop off the DA, talk to them about scheduling the M-Card install." Uggh...fine.
So, at this point, within the next couple of days, I expect I'll have (9) SD STBs, (3) S-Cards, (83) M-Card install appointments, (13) HD Receivers, (44) HD DVRs, (1) HM-DVR (you know, cause, there can be only one!), and (5) Goooolden Rings.... 🙂
Hopefully when I stop by the Verizon office tomorrow, I'll be able to at least be able to drop off the DA and get the M-Card install scheduled. All I know is that it's a **bleep** good thing I love FiOS. But, all of this DEFINITELY showed me the one and only area that I find Comcast to be far superior. With Comcast, I need equipment, I stop at their office, tell them what I need and they hand it to me right there. No muss, no fuss. Whatever it was, STB or CableCard. That is the one thing I miss. But, since equipment changes aren't that frequent, I don't miss it enough to switch back!
OK, I'm done venting... 🙂 Thanks for listening/reading! Wish me luck!
oh he just needed a place to vent, I think we can all appreciate what he's gone through, as we've all probably had a similiar case here and there in some capacity or another.
And also we might also appreciate having a local presence where we could pick up and drop off equipment rather than having to call in and order online. some people like that, I get that.
I think fios overall - overshadows that inconvenience, I Think the OP agree's, but theres no harm in venting here and there. he was cool about it.
I wish you luck on that one. Just don't drop part of your service cause as a penalty they removed the speed I had and downgraded it from 20-15. They no longer have 20. What do you mean you no longer have it, I was USING it!? So now to get the speed I had, I have to upgrade to 25..... come on, this is how you lose customers and at the end of this contract that will be me.
I have spent many times on the phone trying to get something straightened out. For a service oriented country too many companies sure don't give a rats behind about the service they give.
OP, I feel your pain and can relate all too well. Unfortunately, at least in my area, this seems to be the norm with FiOS. In addition, billing problems are so abundant that I could probably write a novel about them, including the two Better Business Bureau complaints that I filed against Verizon for charging me for equipment and services that I never requested nor received!! The best by far was when Verizon kept insisting that I needed to pay for a tech to visit my house to retrieve the second M-card they "had" to install in my TiVo HD. I told the tech probably 10 times while he was at my house originally that only one M-card was needed because that's the whole point of a M-card! Despite this, he insisted on installing two. He left, I removed the second and unnecessary M-card, called Verizon to return the card and that's when they told me there were going to charge me for a service call (I think $75!) to pick up the extra card that I was returning. I literally had to fight with them to get them to let me ship back the extra card rather than having to pay for a tech to pick it up. Don't even get me started on how I had to pay for shipping and then how Verizon continued to charge me for the second card for no less than 6 months after I had confirmation that the extra card was delivered to Verizon.
Depsite all this, I would NEVER go back to Comcast!!!!!
Thanks for the detailed info. I'm considering switching to a TIVO box instead of the multi-room DVR so that I can also subscribe to Netflix. I currently use Blockbuster, but eventually, they will not have a store nearby for spontaneously exchanging DVD's. Once that happens, I'm thinking of dropping blockbuster and signing up for Netflix, at half the price. What is an S-Card and M-Card? I understand that a Tivo box needs a CableCARD, to which Verizon charges $4.99 per month plus a $79.95 charge to come out and install it. Other suggestions appreciated...