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Old Jun 22, 09, 12:01 pm   #1
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Verizon FiOS vs. Time Warner Cable

I've been a Time Warner Cable subscriber -- TV/internet/phone -- for the last four years and have no real complaints. But I keep getting very attractive offers from Verizon, which could save me about $1,500 over two years, to switch to their FiOS service. Anyone have a view of the pros and cons? (One con is having to get rid of my nyc.rr.com email addresses, which is not a big deal for me.)
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Old Jun 22, 09, 12:38 pm   #2
 
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You use an ISP-dependent e-mail address? Yuck. Get your own domain! Or at least a gmail address.

A lot of people in my building have switched over to Fios (a few months ago I dumped cable TV altogether and kept only cable modem service from RCN). Fios pros/cons from what I've heard are:
PROS
  • Tons of HD channels with top-notch picture quality.
  • Much faster internet speeds (up and down).
  • Pricing, for now (it's guaranteed for two years--after that who knows what they'll charge).
CONS
  • Installation takes at minimum a few hours. I've heard the installers are quite professional and friendly, but the amount of time you have to dedicate to being home so they can finish the job is significant (you should probably set aside a whole day just in case).
  • They need to put a fiber-to-coax converter and battery backup for the phone system somewhere in your apartment. This usually gets mounted in a closet, but they need to be able to get both your existing intra-apartment coax cable and a new fiber optic line from outside your apartment to the converter box, plus it needs to be plugged into a household electrical outlet, so I've heard that some folks have ended up mounting them on a wall in a kitchen or even living room, which can be unsightly and space-wasting. Other folks have gone so far as to hire electricians to install electrical outlets in their closets so they could mount the box there without running an extension cord into the closet.
  • If you have existing Verizon landline service, they generally force you to bundle it with your Fios system, so you can't keep your old copper phone line and have Fios for TV and internet unless you have a non-Verizon phone provider. This means your landline will now be dependent on the Fios network and electrical power being up and running (whereas copper phone lines are largely independent from the main power grid). They include a battery backup for the phone as part of the installation package, but it's only rated to last a few hours in a power outage, and I think you are supposed to replace the battery (at your expense) every few years as it degrades over time.
  • I've heard the STBs and DVRs available from Fios have a crappier interface than TWC/RCN, and are a little slower to change channels. No personal experience, though.
  • If you let them, they'll install a lot of crapware on your computer. Most tech-savvy folks shouldn't need to let a Verizon tech touch their computer, though.
  • Some buildings have closed circuit channels on their cable systems that show live feeds from the building lobby, laundry room or other common spaces. I'm not sure if Fios can integrate those channels or not.

All of that said, most of the folks I've talked to who have switched to Fios have been very happy with it. In the Fios thread on my neighborhood messageboard, a bunch of folks report satisfaction with their switch from RCN or TWC. One person canceled installation after Verizon screwed up her installation appointment a couple times, and one other switched back to RCN after a month or two with Fios because she hated the box mounted on her living room wall and found the picture quality worse with Fios (although from her description, it sounded like she has some weird EDTV that may not display HD content correctly).
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Old Jun 22, 09, 12:43 pm   #3
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Originally Posted by themicah View Post
You use an ISP-dependent e-mail address? Yuck. Get your own domain! Or at least a gmail address.
Thanks for the great information.

I do not use the road runner account as my main email address, which is why I don't mind losing it.
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Old Jun 22, 09, 12:51 pm   #4
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I have a friend here in Brooklyn who got it installed at his house which might have been easier. It replaced Cablevision service.

There are three "important" channels carried by Cablevision that are not available on Fios:

New York 1;

News 12;

News 12 Traffic and Weather (24/7 traffic and weather).

Other that that, he is very happy.
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Old Jun 22, 09, 12:56 pm   #5
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Originally Posted by Landing Gear View Post
I have a friend here in Brooklyn who got it installed at his house which might have been easier. It replaced Cablevision service.

There are three "important" channels carried by Cablevision that are not available on Fios:

New York 1;

News 12;

News 12 Traffic and Weather (24/7 traffic and weather).

Other that that, he is very happy.
TWC believes that New York 1 is an important enough channel to viewers that it has taken out full page ads in Time Out New York highlighting that FiOS does not offer it. I may tune into New York 1 on occasion, but I assure you that I would not make a decision like this on that basis!
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Old Jun 22, 09, 6:22 pm   #6
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Originally Posted by Blumie View Post
TWC believes that New York 1 is an important enough channel to viewers that it has taken out full page ads in Time Out New York highlighting that FiOS does not offer it. I may tune into New York 1 on occasion, but I assure you that I would not make a decision like this on that basis!
I agree although once in a while New York 1 has something important like the first (and almost last) interview with Caroline Kennedy on why she wanted to be senator.

There is a rumor floating around that Time Warner will be spinning off all its local cable news channels, e.g. New York 1, Orange County (CA) News, etc. to a separate company which should solve this issue.

I have to say that I really like the 24/7 traffic and weather channel.

By the way, Cablevision has recently announced 100 mbps service (up and down, I believe) for "only" $100 a month.
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Old Jun 22, 09, 7:48 pm   #7
 
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Originally Posted by Landing Gear View Post
By the way, Cablevision has recently announced 100 mbps service (up and down, I believe) for "only" $100 a month.
Cablevision's service is via a shared network, as are all cable providers. Your speeds will vary as other folks in the 'hood are on-line. FIOS, on the other hand, does not suffer from this.

My other problem with Cablevision was their unbelievable sucktitude. If I hadn't experienced RCN whilst living in DC, I wouldn't have thought that a service provider could be that horrible in every way possible.
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Old Jun 23, 09, 8:44 am   #8
 
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I have to say that I really like the 24/7 traffic and weather channel.
Isn't that what the internet is for?
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Old Jun 23, 09, 9:25 am   #9
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I don't know, Blumie. After reading what themicah wrote, I don't think it's worth it especially the part about changing my current landline phone system. Verizon is as huge and annoying of a bloated company as Time Warner. I'm not sure changing from one to the other is even worth it. Funny, we were maybe toying around with the idea but now after what I've read in this thread, no way. I'll wait for us to figure out how we can get satellite from our apt which does indeed face the SW sky.

As for Time Warner's commercials, they've got to joking about the value of NY1. While that interview with Caroline Schlossberg was indeed friggen hilarious, it can also be seen again and again on YouTube. Fios' commercials about the great deal it is to have Fios for 6 months makes me wonder well, what about after that 6 month period? No mention of that in its commercials.

But it is thanks to FIOS that TWC finally has increased its #of HD channels to something at least decent.
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Last edited by Analise; Jun 23, 09 at 10:45 am.
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Old Jun 23, 09, 9:36 am   #10
 
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Some people really, really love NY1. I'm not sure why, but they do.

The cons are definitely real cons, but again, most folks I know who have switched to Fios have been very happy with it.

I've been even happier with my switch to cable-modem-only service. I save over $50/mo compared to my old package that included cable TV, and don't really miss the TV channels at all, what with Netflix and Hulu.
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Old Jun 23, 09, 12:20 pm   #11
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Isn't that what the internet is for?
Which internet website will provide me the same service as Cablevision Channel 61 and while still allowing me to use my computer for other work at the same time?

Oh, and I want the pictures on a very large monitor, much bigger than my laptop.
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Old Jun 23, 09, 1:02 pm   #12
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Cablevision's service is via a shared network, as are all cable providers. Your speeds will vary as other folks in the 'hood are on-line. FIOS, on the other hand, does not suffer from this.
ALL internet service is shared at some point, as you always have to get from your provider to the provider of the content as some point on the network. The only question is where that bottleneck will occur. I agree that it is more likely to be an issue with cable modems, but if their backhaul bandwidth is sufficient you may never notice that.
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Old Jun 25, 09, 11:48 am   #13
 
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ALL internet service is shared at some point, as you always have to get from your provider to the provider of the content as some point on the network. The only question is where that bottleneck will occur. I agree that it is more likely to be an issue with cable modems, but if their backhaul bandwidth is sufficient you may never notice that.
Cablevision has horrendous bottlenecks at peak periods, particularly up here in hell, err, Westchester. I had speeds drop to below 1mbps around 7pm pretty regularly, which renders my twice weekly WebEx conferences useless, as I can't stream on at those glacial speeds. I've never had my FIOS drop below 10mbps at any time.

Cablevision as had quite a few outages that could last as long as two days, which were exacerbated by surly CS agents. If they hadn't been so cheap for 1 year, I would have never even considered them.
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Old Oct 12, 10, 10:27 am   #14
 
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My own recent survey of Brooklyn Heights users highly favors FIOS over TWC - quality of the product(thus far) and they are offering great prices on all-in packages.

No one was too upset about the NY 1.

I will probably go with it.
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Old Oct 15, 10, 3:31 pm   #15
 
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I wrote a review of FiOS (including details on the installation process) about a year ago - it is available online here.

In short, I am very happy with FiOS and would not switch back. The equivalent services from the cable company are inferior.

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