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Are we paying to beta test?

Are we paying to beta test?

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Copper Contributor McCleud
Copper Contributor
Posts: 11
Registered: ‎10-30-2008
Message 1 of 10
(19,556 Views)

Just curious to opinions. I recently dumped DishNetwork for a very specific reason. Even moderately bad weather = no signal for extended periods. The reasons for that are obvious and understandble, however annoying enough for me to finally say blah... next!

 

I read these fourms before purchasing a big package for FTV but went ahead anyway. I'll evaluate it myself and if I constantly experience problems then in the trash it goes. My 1 big question though from reading so many posts is, it appears Verizon is litteraly pushing out hardware and software that are being beta tested by the subscribers, which by definition means the subscribers are paying to test Verizons stuff. And that is insanity.

 

This type of package is not like, say, developing a software package that has to run on multiple desperate platforms while needing to behave identical or similar. Verizon 'package', where package = firmware/software/proprietary hardware (excluding any software that actually runs outside of their equipment such as on a PC) would be much easier to create in relation to the larger scheme of things. They have their own network, with their own (or standards-based) protocols, interfaces, hardware requirements etc etc. Since the hardware simpy produces signals based on well-established, non-proprietary output (SPDIF/HDMI etc etc) and where the target equipment will by definition support those signals as a requirement to process them, that sure appears to isolate the 'package' to a tightly controlled environment.

 

Basically, got to process the inbound signals from the fiber, provide interfaces and features to interact with it (bulk of code), spit it out for external hardware to use it.

 

How can there be so many variations of problems people are experiencing that relate to Verizon-provided hardware and software? What kind of quality assurance is actually in place, internally, to confirm things work as required before being pushed out to the customers?

 

I am litterally asking a question here because I'd like to see some real answers. I'm not ranting. I'll do that if after FTV is up and running we experience crippling problems that make it useless to have over an extended period of time.

 

I'm either missing something, or we are indeed 'paying' to beta test. If I'm missing something, which is entirely possible, please post corrections to better educate me. I don't mind in the slightest being wrong. I just want to know when/if I am, and why, so I am better informed.

 

Thanks!

-M

9 REPLIES 9
Copper Contributor BassBob
Copper Contributor
Posts: 16
Registered: ‎10-28-2008
Message 2 of 10
(19,533 Views)

McLeud,

 

I'm just a lurker reading all the applicable posts and wondering the same thing.  I was about to make the switch from Comcast this week but after reading of all these hassles that people are having, I'm holding off.

 

What I do not understand is WHY Vz is having so many problems with their STB's.  Granted, their multi-room DVR is something that (I don't think) Comcast offers, so you can't make a direct comparison, but our 2 yeard old Motorola HD-DVR box from them operates flawlessly.  No handshake issues witrh my Samsung TV, guide and software updates occur w/o you even knowing it, and the dual tuner DVR system is very flexible.

 

I was hoping to save big $ switching to Vz since I already have internet and phone with them, but being forced to reset my STB's a few times a week in hopes of having an operable system is just not worth the aggravation, IMO.

Platinum Contributor I Platinum Contributor I
Platinum Contributor I
Posts: 5,175
Registered: ‎08-05-2008
Message 3 of 10
(19,514 Views)

Are we paying to beta test? IMO, no.

 

I have had FiOS TV, Internet, and phone, for more than 3 years now, same TVs, same HD DVR, same SD STBs (one replaced at about 2 1/2 years for refusing to power on), different levels of TV service (various channels, etc) and Internet (speed) service. During that time, I have experienced a few problems, only two really severe (one internet, one TV); I have had some conversations recently with Techman28, a really good guy, and he told me I had only called the FSC 11 times in 3+ years. Now, something I think you need to keep in mind: the Internet, and Forums like this, have created a super easy way to complain, vent, ask for help, etc, which may make it appear there are huge problems with FiOS, or any other service. If you go to other sites and read the forums for the satellite companies, the cable providers, etc, you will see the same thing you see here - lots of complaints, few positive stories. It is just part of today's culture I think, people just want to share their misery, even when sometimes it is of their own making,and rarely are willing to take the time to share their positive experiences. Keep in mind there are more than one million FiOS TV subscribers, how many different ones do you see complaining?

 

I don't know whether my experience is typical or not, but as best I can remember, here are the TV problems I have experienced in more than 3 years of service:

 

1) DVR shut off (powered down) one time by itself, probably 2 years ago.

 

2) Occasional loss of picture via HDMI connection, happened maybe 3 or 4 times, was always able to get picture back by turning TV off and then on again. Can't remember the last time it happened, probably a year or so ago.

 

3) Sound sync problem. Some channels way off, some right on, mostly on HD channels. I recently got the 1.6 level of the IMG, the problems seems less now than it was with 1.5, but I watch more sports than other shows, and the sync problem might be there and I not know about it because I am not seeing the speaker. But problem does still occur occasionally.

 

4) IMG Guide adding/removing channels on its own. Had this for several months, very erratic. Finally reported it to FSC, received call back within 10 minutes, offered fix, took it, not had the problem since (6 months or so).

 

5) DVR failed to record one scheduled recording. Happened in first 5 months,never figured out why, has never happened again.

 

6) Had 3 corrupted recordings. Recorded, but was unable to play the recording, when I tried to play them, DVR locked up so I had to power it down and back up to get it working again. Eventually just deleted the recordings and all was well. Last happened probably 1 1/2 years ago.

 

7) the IMG Guide contents are very often wrong, wrong shows, etc. this has been an ongoing problem, and Verizon has apparently done nothing to try to fix this (they buy the guide data from an outside supplier, and apparently they are pretty incompetent). This is an ongoing problem that Verizon should absolutely fix immediately, by going to another Guide supplier if necessary.

 

I have probably experienced a few others, but they don't come to mind right now. But for me, FiOS has been so much better than my cable experience for probably 20+ years, last with Charter Cable, that despite a few irritations and an occasional problem, I am a very satisfied FiOS customer (and I am not a Verizon employee, nor do I own any Verizon stock, FWTW).

 

One other thing: some of the complaints/problems you see are because folks have their own router setups, or other non-standard setups, and they don't want to change or use the "Verizon- supplied" solution. If you will accept FiOS "as-is" I think you are more likely to have few or no problems.

 

I advise you to go it it, but yes, be cautious. I kept my cable service until after the FiOS install, just in case I decided I didn't like it. Took about 3 days and I cancelled the cable.

 

Hope this helps a little bit. 

 

Justin
Verizon FiOS TV, Internet, and phone
IMG 1.6.0
Keller, TX 

Copper Contributor Tireman
Copper Contributor
Posts: 22
Registered: ‎11-04-2008
Message 4 of 10
(19,387 Views)
I never thought of it this way but I think your correct McCleud.  Verizon is using us to test their equipment and software.  They were probably in a rush to start receiving revenew that they didn't take the time to do proper testing before they started offering the service.  Now us consumers are having to deal with these issues and all Verizon is doing is giving some of us the run around, and if you want to cancel you have to pay an early termination fee.  I want Dish back!!   
Copper Contributor McCleud
Copper Contributor
Posts: 11
Registered: ‎10-30-2008
Message 5 of 10
(19,105 Views)

I've had it for a couple weeks now and considering the issues&glitches (not a big list, but they certainly exist) I've seen + deeper research into what the DVR can/can't do, I'm leaning a little more toward "Yes".

 

Is there a roadmap of projects available for us to view? Official 'future' features in the pipeline ?

 

Is the bulk of time by firmware/operations development currently spent addressing bugs/pushing hotfixes, or do new features dominate the time spent by the development groups? Anyone know?

 

From thread on 22nd:


@TheSanchez wrote:

Unfortunatly we dont have the tentative timeline for 1.7 yet.  Once we recieve one I will let you guys know here.  Thanks for correcting me matcarlSmiley Happy

 

 

***EDIT***  As far as eSATA goes it is just a rumor that we will be enabling it.  If the rumor pans out true i would not expect it for some time. I have a TB external drive waiting for the day though. 


 

Not being able to expand the DVR by slamming a TB+ drive into the port is a serious problem, requiring constant management of the sparse recording space. Since other, lets call them 'mature' DVR's, appear to support a variety of robust features including a healthy supply of --> content management <-- features, is the FIOS DVR offering to be considered a work-in-progress, heavy on the work? Is the lack of expandable space an actual project? Is this even viewed by Verizon as a 'problem' ?

 

Some take a more sinister approach when guessing at the compelling factors for this lack of functionality. I'm just trying to view from a technical perspective.

 

What's the Verizon plan? Where's the list of 'upcoming features' making the system remotely competitive against existing mature equipment alternatives? Does this list exist?  A public roadmap of features geared toward keeping me interested in the FIOS DVR, instead of stuffing it into a corner for spider web storage.

 

Thanks to any info or opinions offered.

-M

 

 

Nickel Contributor
Nickel Contributor
Posts: 88
Registered: ‎11-02-2008
Message 6 of 10
(19,071 Views)

One thing is for certain....I feel like the DVR and the new technology wasn't ready for prime time.

There have been issues here and there but none that is more annoying than the "Unable To Locate Hub" nag that I and others are getting. It will only happen when a HD receiver is in communication with the DVR. It doesn't matter if you are watching an HD or Std program. The recording will end and begin from the beginning. This makes the DVR unwatchable from another HD receiver especially during a movie. IT IS BROKEN!!!! Maybe it will be fixed. But if anyone is reading this from Verizon (besides The Sanchez), something should be done. It doesn't work! I am a BETA TESTER.

Bronze Contributor II
Bronze Contributor II
Posts: 182
Registered: ‎08-08-2008
Message 7 of 10
(19,021 Views)

At this point i would have to say YES, we are paying Verizon to Beta Test Firmware, software and even hardware with these faulty HD DVR's.

They admit there are problems with the firmware, they admit that the new 72XX have issues they are working with Motorola to attempt to fix and they do not even apologize for the inconvience and its obvious to all that got the 1.6 upgrade, at this point, everyone, that it screwed up PQ.

 

Joe was here
Bronze Contributor II
Bronze Contributor II
Posts: 381
Registered: ‎09-01-2008
Message 8 of 10
(18,956 Views)

Are we paying to beta test? You bet.

 

It is no different than Windows, Blu Ray, and most other technology. 

 

The unfortunate thing is that now most consumer electronics are rushed to market, where first is ususally better than best. Therefore, in this rush to be 1st to market quality suffers. 

 

As of right now, except for my STB autorizations, everything has been fine at least for me.  The remote authorization servers were down when my installed was here.

 

Carl

Message Edited by Carl on 11-24-2008 02:01 PM
Platinum Contributor I
Platinum Contributor I
Posts: 6,819
Registered: ‎08-23-2008
Message 9 of 10
(18,925 Views)
Perhaps, but Verizon would really need to screw me over bad, and not fix it, or pull the fiber from my cold dead hands. How many versions of Windows have you run updates on after paying for the software? I have had modems 1200baud, 9600, 14.4k, 28.8k, 33.6k, ISDN at 128K, cable modem at 256k, SDSL at 768k, ADSL at 1.5meg, and now FIOS. Have always been on the cutting edge. So when FIOS came out with TV, it beat any Comcast, or any Directv I have ever had. Sure there are bugs now and then, mostly with the DVR. Yes the DVR and STBs are a bit of new technology with the IMG and VOD over IP. Yes there are bugs, and a wait for fixes. If anyone does not like the idea, then perhaps a new service, or the latest and greatest is not for them. With the issues regarding the DVR, yes it upsets many, but the other could be worse. I will take the Bundle and the glitches, over the other, and higher prices any day. I agree that there should be better options for the DVR, but the costs must also be kept down. I think if Verizon said you must pay $500 for your DVR and then give it back when you leave, there would be issues. Directv did just that when I wanted to upgrade. Dishnetwork was a bit better, but I did not like their service. Just think how much Verizon has done to deploy this service, and provide hardware, and software, over the last three to four years. Biggest complaint is customer service. With that said perhaps you would not see as many negative threads it it were better. Other option is to stay with the old, and pay more, with not as many new issues
Copper Contributor McCleud
Copper Contributor
Posts: 11
Registered: ‎10-30-2008
Message 10 of 10
(18,873 Views)

Thanks for the opinions.

 

As an engineer since the 8086&8088xt days, I both realize and understand the nature of technology. However, comparing a DVR with a PC is truly apples and oranges. The DVR is a well-defined, isolated and controlled hardware environment. The DVR is, in every way, unchanging from a hardware perspective except for any manufacturing deviations or product change requests put forth through a ccb approval process or whatever Verizon/Rola may have. There are no -> unexpected <- pieces of hardware suddenly appearing and disappearing, no internal hardware being swapped in and out at the discretion of the customer, no constant supply of drivers for a big list of hardware, where the driver code may have been unknowingly broken in the last change and start crashing the system, no plethora of options and settings from which the user can find ways (accidently or otherwise) to cause an unstable system that constantly crashes, etc.

 

I can say with absolute certainty it is FAR more difficult to deal with a completely dynamic (PC) environment at the lowest levels than a tightly controlled (Device) environment. It is because of that fact that I am forced to question the condition and functional status of the DVR. All we need is actual, official roadmaps / direction of where it’s headed to put concerns aside. But that’s not what we get. We get little unofficial chunks of information here and there and buckets full of rumors.

 

I'm also used to being on the cutting edge as you are, which is why my home office winds up with thousands of dollars of equipment strewn around like a geeks yard sale, but nothing ever leaves it just gets replaced and then stuffed (or thrown) somewhere. So I’m a slob, but instead of dirt it’s circuits. Smiley Happy

 

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