Thursday, February 14, 2008

FiOS Follies Part 2

A few weeks back I ranted about my hassles getting all the equipment right for my switch-over to Verizon FiOS service. At one point I had in my house three HD-DVR units even though I only needed one. I sent two back and now regret it.

Thanks to an unexpected financial windfall, my wife and I decided to take the plunge and get a nice big screen HDTV for the living room (and 46” is plenty big enough for our living room). And to take advantage of that great new TV you need an HD set-top box. So I call Verizon and after being hung up on once after 30 minutes on hold, I reach a friendly customer service representative. She very politely told me that Verizon is all out of HD set-tops of any variety and that I had the proverbial snowball’s chance of getting one any time before April.

It seems their promotion where they raised their rates ten dollars a month and threw in a “free” nineteen inch television was so successful that there is now a nationwide shortage of high-def set-top boxes and until the manufacturer builds some more it’s tough luck for existing customers like me that want to upgrade. I added my name to a waiting list and fully expect to get a call sometime in April or May. Of 2012.

In confirming that I’m not getting smoke blown up my ass, I find out a few gotchas about the HomeDVR feature that Verizon touts and I just signed up for. I like the feature because I can use it to record shows on the upstairs HD-DVR and watch them from the family room while I surf and blog. Last night I got caught up on the new season of Doctor Who and on Sundays I skip around among the political talk shows.

Well, it seems that anything I record in high definition can’t be streamed to another TV and two HD set-top boxes can’t stream to each other. Meaning that if and when I do get an HD set-top box for the living room, I better pay extra for the DVR feature, because the utility of the one upstairs will be drastically decreased. Funny how all this fine print and technical mumbo-jumbo never makes it to the omnipresent ads.

In the meantime, my DVD box sets look great on the upconverting home theater system I bought to go with the television and the Grammys never sounded so good in surround sound. The other night we had some other couples over and we plugged my wife’s laptop into the video port so we could browse vacation rentals as a group. What a great convenience.

So I am ecstatic about my new television and someday Verizon will make me even happier. I’m just not holding my breath until then.

Yet another chance to vent about your cable provider or lack therof. Also, name the show, the actor, and two other series he has starred in.


Jamy said...

The show you're watching is "Sports Night" the actor is Peter Krause. The other two series he's starred in are "Six Feet Under" and "Dirty Sexy Money." Give me a hard one next time.

Also, my cable story: I've never had it, ever! But I was ready to sign up a few years ago. $30/mo for six months. Waited. They never came. Called. They denied I'd made an appointment with them. Lots of phone running around. Upshot: whoever last lived at my address had an outstanding bill and I had to prove I wasn't that person before they would sign me up--but not at the special good deal, at a less special good deal ($30/mo for three months). Since I didn't have a lease (I own a condo) they requested a copy of my settlement documents. Um, no thank you!

I signed up for Netflix the next day.

Anonymous said...

ever think about buying an HD Tivo instead of waiting for Verizon to find their own rear ends?

2fs said...

Okay, first: the capcha is "bumsxgdx." Brought to you by the "Bum Sex is Good Sex" council...

Anyway: my main complaint about our cable provider is that they simply refused to believe that I wanted no cable TV whatsoever - nothing but the cable modem. They simply refused to believe that someone would want to completely cancel TV service.

Then they tried to charge me for the cable box until they picked it up. I said, well, where can I drop it off? They were a bit nonplussed...I explained that it didn't make sense for me to pay for a useless cable box for the two weeks until they could manage to free up someone to pick it up, and that my car was perfectly capable of being driven to wherever they wanted the box. Eventually I got them to tell me where to take it. I made sure to get a receipt, too. Of course, they got the billing wrong the first time and charged me for another week when I didn't have the box. I scanned the receipt from dropping off the cable box, e-mailed it to them, and said that it made no sense to charge me for cable access when I'd canceled it and couldn't have watched it anyway, since I'd turned in the converter box. Took a while - several phone calls, most of which were, of course, spent on hold - but eventually, I managed to not get charged more than I should have been. Well, "more than I should have been" given their obnoxious rates in the first place...