Comparison of Verizon FiOS to Others

Before subscribing to a TV, Internet or Phone service, it’s always a good idea to compare each provider’s products, services, options and deals to decide what we are paying is worth paying it. No matter what service we order there will be a trade-off we need to make between the price, quality, customer service, contract/no contract options, ease of startup, DVR options, mobile app availability and more. So let’s take a look at some of the aspects between FiOS and other providers.

Verizon FiOS vs. Cable TV (Time Warner, Xfinity and likes)

 Cable TV usually starts with around 45 to 100+ channels in the basic package. HD channels usually are included. For instance Time Warner most basic package 125+ has channels and Xfinity  Digital Starter package comes with 140+ channels. FiOS on the other hand starts with the Essentials package with about 70+ channels. The numbers may not directly indicate the value for your needs so our advise is to check the exact programming at your location. In terms of DVR, The Enhanced DVR box from Time Warner can record up to 6 shows up to 150 hours of HD whereas FiOS Quantum Premium DVR can record up to 200 hours of HD from 6 shows at the same time. Despite my earlier reviews, internet speeds have greatly improved in the cable networks. For the reasons described in this article, FiOS TV still has superior technology and capacity however cable networks are also competing well, in my opinion, even though the majority of the improvements are being made to the backbones only, whereas FiOS brings fiber optic cable right into the “premises”.

Availability: Because FiOS is still building its network, cable services currently have greater availability.

Media Guides: FiOS TV has a more advanced programming guide in terms of the graphical interface and the interactiveness.

Broadband internet access: Cable subscribers share the same signal in the neighborhood which slows down the speeds at peak hours. Also, upload speeds of FiOS is greater (starts from 25 Mbps up to 500 Mbps). So, while FiOS upload speeds are in Mbps (Megabits) range, some cable upload speeds are still in Kbps (Kilobits) range or much lower than the downstream speed, proving FiOS superiority for uploaders. Just search your plan name and look for downstream speed, or get it from the cable company’s customer service.

Channel lineup: Since this changes among providers and the location, it’s best to check channel lineup directly with the available providers in your address- especially if you are looking for a channel in particular. All providers have a page where you can check the channel lineup online, based on your zip code.

Verizon FiOS vs. Dish Network / DirecTV

dish-tv-network-20141-150x150Dish Network and DirecTV are satellite services whereas Verizon FiOS is a cable based service; you need to be physically connected to the network. This means that you can use a satellite receiver anywhere -even in the middle of the dessert – as long as you power it and position the dish antenna properly (usually facing south). On the other hand FiOS is not available in all states yet because it requires the special fiber optic cabling and installation of special equipment to understand and translate the light pulses. Even the sole need of digging the ground for cabling is a time consuming and costly operation but once it is done the end result is enjoyable. Naturally when an initial cost is involved the monthly prices are expected to be higher; so FiOS packages cost more and conversely the packages will start from lower prices in Dish Network.

The fiber system will provide a reliable signal that is not affected from weather conditions. Satellite signal weakens under heavy rain and similar bad weather (because the rain increases weathers conductivity and the signal targeting your dish antenna goes elsewhere) so it’s more preferable in places where the weather is good most of the time. Sometimes there are complaints from dish users such as “a big truck just parked close to my house today and my whole TV channels got down”. So dish users may have this kind of problems from time to time.

Both systems have HD broadcast. However not every HD is the same. High Definition broadcast requires a huge capacity and resources. To lessen this cost, reports  from a few years back indicated that Dish Network was using a compression scheme which reduces the picture quality (PQ), this may not be the case anymore in 2016. However FiOS systems does not need to compress the picture too much (and lose quality) because the fiber optic network is powerful enough to carry more of the digital picture. If you would like to play around with this fact and if you have a photo editor with which you can alter the JPEG quality settings, just save different copies of the same picture with different quality values and view them one after the other.

DirectTV packages start at 145+ channels including locals and goes all the way up to 315+ channels. DirecTV’s digital video recording product is Genie HD DVR, capable of simultaneously recording 5 channels up to 200 hours of  HD content.

All things considered, Dish Network could still be the best value with a skinny bundle with all or most of the essentials. Dish has SD and HD channels (the most basic package above local includes 50+ popular channels like CNN, National Geographic, HGTV etc. DVR options are available (you can program the DVR from iPhone etc, use myDish app), premium channels like HBO too are available. The Hopper 3 box can record 16 shows all at once. The Hopper box has Netflix built in so you may easily switch to streaming from the internet.

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Verizon FiOS vs. AT&T U-verse

Different approaches of using fiber technology. Two telecom companies, Verizon and AT&T took the lead to change the technology and the way people watch TV and introduced the fiber optic technology. Verizon chose to bring the fiber all the way to the inside of houses and businesses; AT&T chose to bring it to certain points around the community and from that point on the existing network is used. Of course, Verizon’s approach is more costly but it allows them to boast with a 100% fiber optic network. AT&T’s approach with U-verse is less costly because they utilize part of the existing network. So it’s not hard to guess Verizon will have to move slower (but with stronger steps) and AT&T moves faster potentially targeting more customers.

It is less likely to have both FiOS and U-Verse available at the same address but just for the sake of comparing their powers we can check one good indicator; their broadband data speeds. Currently, a U-verse supported high speed internet can reach a maximum downstream rate of 300 Mbps. Although it is a great rate and more than enough for an average internet user, FiOS is capable of providing 500 Mbps data rate that is faster than U-verse.

Both companies offer HD channels, premium channels like HBO and Cinemax, Sports packages, DVR and multi room DVR options, On Demand libraries and both companies provide phone services as well.

FiOS Internet vs. DSL

Performance with the internet services is another area where the fiber optic lines demonstrate their talent against the copper lines. Verizon FiOS surely addresses broadband needs for internet geeks craving for speed. Especially with the increasing popularity of the video sharing sites (Youtube, metacafe and all others) video uploading has also become popular and it is a time consuming operation. Unfortunately the DSL speeds (including Verizon’s own DSL service) are quite slow for uploading kind of data intensive tasks. Moreover, companies advertise their broadband services with their download speed highlighted. So an internet service advertised with a 7 Mbps speed might have only a max of 384 Kbps upload speed which will basically drive you crazy while uploading those videos –not to mention lost connections, screens being locked up and having to start all over from beginning and try multiple times. Luckily the minimum upload speed with FiOS Internet service is 25 Mbps. Far beyond what  most companies provide on average. While DSL download speeds are ranging from 768 Kbps to 6 Mbps on average, the minimum download speed limit offered by FiOS is 25 Mbps (may vary based on location). So if you do a lot of uploading and sharing on media files (especially videos) then FiOS Internet meets your needs.

Plans, Bundles, Coupons, Deals

Most service providers in the broadband world are offering customers a reduced price of services if they choose to buy TV, data and phone services as a bundle; i.e. all from the same company. Some include the wireless bill as well, like Verizo, so all services are billed together. Here are some bundled or standalone service deal that you may take advantage of:

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4 thoughts on “Comparison of Verizon FiOS to Others

  • I have two houses, one with DISH and one with FIOS. Picture quality and service reliability is better with FIOS but the channel lineup, channel guide and HD/SD system are far superior with DISH.

  • I have had all of them and FIOS since 2006 Price $167. going to $203. for Ultimate package in Dec. started at $99. They all have there drawbacks. FIOS is very good as long as you do not need any help. Anything inside the house is your problem and you will be charged if a tech comes out to your house. Price is the highest and I only watch 8 channels

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