This morning we got word that Verizon was bolstering their FiOS packages, with the big news (from where we sit) being that the company is now offering a new symmetrical 35/35 Mbps Internet package as part of their “Best” bundle, which also brings an expansion of offerings in their FiOS TV HD package. For those who just want the blazing Internet goodness without the HD, they are also offering a 25/25 Mbps service, and they still offer the 50/20 Mbps service as well, which is a bit odd. They seem to have updated all of their Internet packages, and now the highest tier has the slowest upload speed out of them all. Hopefully that’ll change fairly quickly, because things appear to be a bit off-balance there. Nevertheless, FiOS is now in a position where they don’t have any competitor in the US that matches their upload speed, regardless of cost.
It’s not all fun and games, though. There is also a higher early-termination fee that comes alongside the new services. Formerly, it would cost $179 to terminate the two-year contract, but now it’s up to as much as $360. Again, that’s only if you cancel, and we think that once you get a look at the uncompressed HD and feel for the speedy Internet, you’ll decide that you’re in for the long haul.
We’ve been fans of the Verizon FiOS Internet service for about two-and-a-half years now, and as soon as FiOS TV was available for Gear Live HQ, we were first in our area to subscribe to that service as well. Aside from the uncompressed signal that they send through, the service has some features that make it truly unique, like the integration of Facebook and Twitter right on the DVR. I had some of my friends over to show off FiOS TV, and we had the cameras going to capture it all. Hit play for a look at what went down. If you’re curious about Verizon FiOS, be sure to hit up the Facts on FiOS site for details.
A big thank you to Verizon for helping make the party happen!
Earlier we posted a fairly in-depth piece looking at some of the upcoming FiOS TV features, but we figured some of you might just be interested in this juicy tidbit. We know a bunch of you are addicted to Twitter and/or Facebook, and if you are a Verizon FiOS TV subscriber, you’ll be interested to know that both are going to be integrated into your television viewing experience by way of widgets.
The Twitter integration is particularly cool, as the widget will give you a look at what people are saying about the show you are currently watching. Could be fun for sports, or reality shows. Not so much for Keeping Up with the Kardashians (hat tip to Jason on that one.)
We have no timeline for when the widgets will be pushed out, but we do know that they are currently in beta.
[Image credit: Zatz Not Funny]
Read More | Upcoming FiOS TV features
As most of you know, we are big fans of Verizon FiOS here at Gear Live. The actual Internet and television services are stellar, and it’s pretty hard to find fault with things, especially since downtime is almost nonexistent. Sure, we’ve had our issues, but those are all fixed, and at this point it is pretty much smooth sailing.
Today we were inviting to a media briefing at the main hub in Everett, WA, to get a look at some of the current and upcoming features of the Verizon FiOS TV service. We were able to sit down with Eric Rabe, Senior VP of Media Relations for Verizon to get the full scoop. Of course, being who we are, we had to make sure we got questions answered about FiOS Internet and phone services as well, just to be thorough. We will just go through these in no particular order - some of this you already know, while other parts are definitely new:
HD Content: FiOS TV is completely uncompressed through Verizon. They get the signal, and pass it straight through to the subscribers box the way they received it from one of two providers (depending on where you are located.) Every market has a minimum of 100 dedicated HD channels. The caveat here (and it’s a small one) is that the cable box does not have a mode that simply passes through the content to your receiver or television the way it comes in. This means you have to set the FiOS TV cable box to display either 1080i or 720p, and it will either up-convert or down-convert depending on what you choose. I let them know it would be nice to have boxes that just passed through the resolution without any conversion taking place. Of course, if you have a TiVo Series3 or TiVo HD with a FiOS CableCARD, you don’t have this issue.
I also asked about 1080p content, since satellite is currently offering HD content in 1080p. Unfortunately, their answer is that they are a couple of software revisions away from being able to offer that, so no timeline there.
If you’ve followed us for any amount of time, then you’d be familiar with our gadget and tech video show, Bleeding Edge TV. You can find it here on Gear Live, on YouTube, on Blip.tv, and a bunch of other places on the interwebs. However, today we are happy to tell you that if you are a FiOS TV subscriber, you can catch the show there as well, on demand. To check it out, just pull up On Demand, and go into The Cutting Edge category. From there, choose Blip.tv, and you’ll find us (along with other top Blip-hosted programming). Expect to see our other show, Unboxing Live up there shortly as well.
For those of you on other cable systems, no worries - we are working hard to bring our content to your cable boxes as well. In the meantime, the Internet will have to do.
Ten days ago, Verizon FiOS TV officially launched here in Washington state. I was actually invited to speak at the launch event that took place that day, alongside Verizon representatives, and local government officials. I was specifically chosen as a case study of just how good FiOS is, since I literally moved specifically because Comcast was way too slow for the things we expected out of our Internet connection here at Gear Live HQ. It was an event meant to talk up the advantages of FiOS over cable (specifically, Comcast, in this area). Obviously, with FiOS looming over their territory, Comcast went into damage control mode to combat Verizon’s claims that they were the best option for Internet and television services. We were sent both the FiOS press release and the Comcast press release, and we figured we would respond to the claims of each, point-by-point.
For some background, we’ve been Comcast customers for over six years, for both Internet and television services. When we moved for FiOS 15 months ago, Comcast was still our cable television provider. As of today, I am a FiOS customer for both Internet and television, and as of 10 days ago, am no longer a Comcast customer. Now, on with the comparisons.