FiOS component cable problems

By on Jul 2, 2009 | 10 comments

About a month ago I started having a minor problem while watching television on my Motorola 7216 multi room DVR from Verizon. Since there is an ongoing problem with connecting some Samsung televisions to the Motorola boxes via HDMI, I chose from the beginning to just go with component cables. Using component I could still get HD resolutions with no problems, so it wasn’t a big deal to me. As I said before, some problems started to occur even with the component cables about a month ago. It didn’t happen very often at all, maybe a few times a day to start. The screen would go black for a split section because the signal to my tv would be lost. The tv would then immediately display the information in the upper left of that screen that a 1080i input was connected. Like I said, it didn’t happen very often, until recently… Last week it started to get very bad. It would happen very often. Sometimes the signal would be lost and a second or 2 later it would happen again. I am fairly knowledgeable about these types of things in general, and I was confident that I could figure out the problem on my own without wasting my time explaining what was happening to Verizon support. I thought about it for a day or 2 and I basically narrowed it down to 2 things. The box was either overheating or the component cables they gave me were going bad. The first thing I did was change the output of the box to 720p instead of 1080i. I figured if the cable was going bad, there is a chance it could handle the lower resolutions still. I figured if it didn’t cut out while on 720p, or cut out less, the cables were most likely the problem. I set the box to output at 720p for almost 2 full days and the signal never dropped. About 10 minutes after changing it back to 1080i the usual happened and it lost the signal for a second. At that point I decided I would just order new component cables because they are very cheap now online.  I went with this set from Cables To Go on Amazon. They cost about $9. I have bought other cables from them before, so I figured they would work fine. They arrived a few days ago and I connected them right away. I watched some things that I had viewed the day before on my DVR that caused signal loss. I was happy to see that the problem seemed to have gone away. For about 2 days now the signal has not dropped out at all. With the original cables that were given to me by Verizon, the signal would have dropped at least 15 or 20 times by now. I figured I would post this incase others were having similar issues. It was much easier for me to just buy the cables myself rather than going through to hassle of support. Hopefully the cables turn out to be the only...

Some FiOS PPV info

By on Jun 15, 2009 | 4 comments

Yes I know, another FiOS post… FiOS is gaining popularity, and for the most part, information about it is not that easy to find. So, as I come across things related to FiOS I will be sharing them here. This time, I am going to talk about a few things regarding the pay-per-view (PPV) services that Verizon offers. First off, you can order a PPV basically in 2 ways; on your set top box or online with FiOS TV Central. If you order a PPV on a specific set top box, you are limited to that box for watching the PPV. As I have tested while watching multiple UFC events on PPV, you are able to record them to your DVR. If you have a multi room DVR you can actually hit record and then watch it on another box in the house. Just remember, if you stop playing it completely you will not be able to enter the recording again where you left off. I guess this is a limitation of viewing something while it is currently recording. As far as I know, if you record something like a UFC PPV it will stay on your DVR for as long as you keep it there. I left one for about 5 days to see if after 24 hours is was disabled, but it never was. The other way to order, as stated above, is online. This works fairly well from my experience. I ordered UFC 99 via the web interface about 20 minutes prior to the show. When ordering online, the PPV is not limited to a single box. It will play on every box in your house and there is not a limit of viewers either. I tried watching it on 3 of the 4 HD boxes in my house and it showed on all of them at the same time with no problem. The only limitation to ordering online is that you can’t record the event. If you hit the record button on your DVR it pops up a message saying that can not record without purchasing. Obviously, if you are able to watch it then you have ordered it, but once again it’s just a limitation of their system. So basically, if you want to record an event you need to order it on your DVR. If not, online ordering is the way to go so that you aren’t limited to one...

Viacom HD channels soon on FiOS

By on Jun 11, 2009 | 1 comment

A few weeks ago it was announced that Verizon had finally made a deal with Viacom to add their HD channels to the lineup. Rumor had it that we would get them some time in late June/July. Well, it looks like a date has finally been set. Here is the proposed channel lineup: MTV HD 710 VH 1 HD 717 CMT HD 721 Nick HD 752 Spike HD 554 Comedy Central HD 690 The first of these channels should be live starting on June 24 (subject to change), with the rest to be added over the following week. This is in no way official, but it has been spreading over the internet today. Let’s hope that it’s true. I have been waiting for Spike HD. Now that it has been added I basically have every HD channel that I need. All is...

FiOS Impressions: The first 3 months

By on Jun 6, 2009 | 18 comments

It’s been three months now since I had Verizon Fios Installed. I am very happy with it compared to Comcast. The service is much better overall than I hoped it would be. But as with most things, you take the good with the bad.  The internet portion of the Triple Play is very good. As stated in an older blog post, I have the 20mb download and 5mb upload tier. The speeds are great, and for the most part constant. Certain times of the day when Comcast would start to lag are pretty much non existent with my Verizon service. As much as I like the quality of the service there is one major problem…the hardware. The included Actiontec router is decent, but has some major flaws. I was lucky enough to get the Gen 2 (rev. E) version of the Actiontec hardware but it still has major problems. There is a NAT table limitation that practically makes the router useless. When trying to connect to torrents or even Steam server lists, you hit the connection limit and the router locks up. Usually closing out of the program will fix it, but sometimes a restart of the router is needed. The only way around this is to run ethernet cable through the house to where the router is placed. By installation default, the ONT  is connected to the router via coaxial cable. Because of this, you need a router such as the Actiontec to take the MoCA connection. MoCA is needed to give IP Addresses to all of the set top boxes throughout the house. Like I said, I could run an ethernet cable through my house and up to the 2nd floor where the router is, but that is a lot easier said than done. If I ever feel like taking the time to do so I might, because then I could use my own router. Even if I use my own router (D-Link Dir-655) I would still need to connect the Actiontec to it for the MoCA bridge. Currently I have my D-Link connected into the Actiontec because the wireless signal is much better and everything wired here is gigabit. As for the television portion…I couldn’t be much happier with the service. The picture quality is amazing. It’s quite obvious how much better the quality is of FiOS over Comcast. The channel lineup is great. Having over 100 HD channels is definitely nice. The Multi Room DVR works fairly well. The main problem once again though is the hardware.   The Motorola boxes seem to have a problem with HDMI connections, primarily with Samsung televisions. Of course I only buy Samsung LCDs. I have 4 through the house in varying sizes all HD and connected to HD boxes. One of them in particular, of course the one with the Multi Room DVR, has a major problem when trying to connect to HDMI. The image blacks out frequently because the signal is lost and it takes a few seconds for it to work again. Also, after the latest firmware update (that I also blogged about) when using Component cables the signal is occasionally lost. It much less frequent and takes only a fraction of a second for it to return, but there is definitely a problem. It just sucks to see such dodgy hardware when the service itself is so great for both the TV and Internet. Without a doubt I am happy to have made the switch from Comcast to Verizon. The cost is much less per month and the overall service is much better. If Verizon can fix the problems with the hardware I wouldn’t really have much of anything to complain about. I hope this post helps answer any questions of those people who are thinking about switching. If you have any other questions or comments please post them...

The FiOS Installation

By on Mar 5, 2009 | 15 comments

Yesterday I had Verizon come and install FiOS. Like I said in an earlier post, I had their television, internet, and phone services installed. I will try to be as detailed as possible so that any questions you may have with the install process can be answered. The tech was scheduled to come to my house between 8am and 12pm. He called me around 8:45am saying he would be at my house in 10 to 15 minutes. As for the times, don’t expect them to come around 8. They don’t start working until 8am and have to get their van ready and travel from whichever location they work from. In this case, he came from the Robinson call center. He arrived at my house at 9am. He told me he had enabled the service at the closest hub and that he would have to run the fiber from the pole in my back yard to the house. Before starting that, he asked to come inside and look where all of the boxes would be installed including the router, which has a major part in the whole setup. I showed him around where the 4 hd boxes went (including the home media dvr) and where the router would be installed. I then took him to the basement to show him where the cable is split throughout the house and to decide where the ONT would be installed. The ONT is a box that houses the connections from the outside and has a built in battery backup for if the electricity ever goes out. The battery lasts about 6-8 hours, depending on the phone usage during a power outage. It also has an emergency battery built in that can be enabled by the press of a button for 15 minutes of call time just in case the main battery runs out of power. I asked a lot of questions and was told by Chad, the installer, that the internet will only run for 5 minutes after a power failure and is then disabled to save battery backup power for telephone calls. The majority of my 5 hour install was running the fiber and installing the ONT. After that was completed it went fairly fast. While he was installing the fiber and ONT I offered to place all of the boxes for him. I set all of the boxes in place and connected them to the LCD’s. I just didn’t connect the coaxial cable or plug in the power until he had everything switched over to FiOS. The difference in signal could possibly damage the boxes if connected too early. He walked through the house again and replaced the ends of all the coaxial cables because they were all fairly old. He then tested the signal of each cable and connected them to the boxes. He really appreciated that I placed all of the boxes in position because it cut back on install time a good bit. And he was also happy that everything was moved out of the way for him in the basement. All of the signals were perfectly fine, which I was happy about, because when I had Comcast they were mediocre at best. All he did was replace the splitter in the basement and replaced the ends of all the cables as I stated earlier. Before the boxes are activated to do anything he needed to plug in the router. It assigns an IP address to all of the boxes throughout the house. He has an install program that was run off of a flash drive. During that time we set up all of the boxes and verified that everything was correct. I accepted some license agreements and set up the router password and the primary email address and password. I asked him about the software and if we actually had to install anything on my computer and he told me no, and that if i really didn’t want it we could just stop after a certain step because the actual activation of the boxes and everything was completed. Before the Verizon router was placed I asked if we could just use my existing dlink router and he said no because it was going to be connected with coaxial cable. I didn’t have a problem with that. I disabled the wireless on the FiOS router because i still planned on using my own. I set up my dlink router as a network bridge. I wanted to use mine because I have a gigabit network at home and my dlink is a draft N router with gigabit switch. My dlink router still connects everything like it used to. The wireless is still the same. The only difference is the dhcp is run by the FiOS router instead. I just set the ip address of the dlink router to one in the range that the FiOS router was assigning and I connected the 2 together using the LAN ports not the WAN port. Most people when doing something like this make a mistake at that point and try to use the WAN port, but it won’t work correctly that way. The installer left at about 2pm, right before I started setting up my dlink router. Getting my wireless set back up took only about 15 minutes, and at that point everything was finished. Before he left we tested all of...

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