I had a coworker several years ago that had FIOS, and when he moved to a fancy area he was eligible to get it and was excited about it. And the way he said the word (it is a futuristic word) was like it was something so advanced that if you didn’t have it, you could not understand it. This seed was planted, and I was ineligible for FIOS for a long time, until now. When I was in an eligible neighborhood, I signed up.
And it helps that they make you install a box the size of a wall heater in your living room. What on earth necessitates such a box? Well it must be good.
Let me tell you what this box affords you:
- High Speed Internet (it’s 2012, we can drop the first two words here any day now as everything should be high speed)
- Landline Telephone (hooah!)
Execution is everything, and coming from Verizon– a company that summons ideas of the 1990’s technology company that isn’t very good at technology, a silly, robotic and inorganic name branded with a shitty logo and having known IT personnel who swear by their cell coverage, for no other reason than because IT people are required to like things that are inelegant (think Linux or Blackberry phones).
Let’s have a look at their logo:
So we see a red checkmark, which means absolutely nothing, and then something like lower case Impact font, with a Red Z that has a Gaussian blur for no reason that I can understand. And unlike most blurry logos that should look like it’s going fast, this actually looks like it’s going really slow. Just look at this logo and marvel. Is this company’s design sensibility something you want to invest in?
Well, go ahead and open up the Guide or Menu in your FiOS TV. It is like they said “Ok look at our logo. Now design a channel guide and menu based on this. Also, if you ever worked for the WebTV company just say the word and you’re hired”.
The internet is fast, but not ridiculously so. It’s about what you’d get from Cable I think, though without the stability. There are times when I cannot connect and I have to refresh and repair my connection and right before I reset the gigantic modem (about the size of a modern DVD player with a giant antenna) it begins working again.
Fiber Optic, man.
I imagine inside that box is clear fiber optics with colors flying and morphing and turning into pictures and programs on my TV, but I don’t really see the obvious advantage. Which when you consider the Hype and this dorm sized refrigerator box now bruising my wall, I want to know why.
Now back to the name FiOS. Fiber Optic System? Fiber Operating System? I do see from advertisements that FiOS does strive to be an operating system for your whole home with controls for your doors, lights, etc. I saw a commercial tonight where a woman is spying on her teenage daughter and opens the door for the forgetful keyless strumpet. Is it clear how to set this kind of thing up, if you really wanted to wager the operational systems of your house on this system? Not really. It just says it’s $9.99, and I sense the commercial is not aimed at people who already have FiOS and the box in their living room but instead people who want the box but don’t know why. (Me a few weeks ago).
Back to the TV menu. So with the regular bundle you don’t get very many channels, and are missing some that come standard with cable. Don’t ask which ones, you’ll know them when you see them. It will take any Computer Science major 15 minutes to figure out how to set up the favorites menu (so that you don’t have to trudge through the gigantic catalog of worthless channels organized worthlessly), and twice as long to realize that you cannot keep the “Subscribed Channels” setting permanently in your Channel Guide, so you must always browse through the channels you cannot watch, including the ones you know damn well should be included.
The picture is just ok, unless you want to watch the HD channels which are probably very vibrant, which come with the up front package. Nice gift considering you need to pay an extra $10 per month for the HD set top box. So you’re telling me they give you the HD channels free, but you cannot watch them without a special box that costs $10 per month? Yes, that is what I am telling you.
I think a DVR box is another 10 crispies per month, though your guide and remote are the universal one, which will again tease you into thinking you can DVR stuff.
Whereas the cable guide shows you a dozen channels per screen, the FiOS guide shows about 6, with the highlighted channel in some big bubble with large font, which means you’ll see who stars in the show and what year it was made but the description will look like this:
Peter and Lois go on a vacation that turns out…
How does it turn out? Click Info. Then Info again. Read. Now click Exit or Back twice. Each of these steps takes about a second longer than you would expect with the latency in their system (because of inefficient design; if you were able to view the source code of the FiOS menu you probably would not be surprised to find that the menu was designed using BMP files).
Maybe FiOS has all kinds of plans for the future of their service, but based on the current service offerings and execution I can’t imagine they will turn out very well.