For the last three years, I’ve been getting my TV service from DirecTV. It’s easy and convenient. They have a lot of different programming packages. I tend to stick to the enhanced, but non-premium packages. So for $60/month I had their plus package with a DirecTivo. While that worked well enough, I couldn’t see paying another $10/month for HDTV, and replacing my Tivo particularly with how bad DirecTV compresses their HD. DirecTV is adverting that they will have more than 100 HD channels by the end of the year. The problem is that there aren’t that many HD channels out there even if you assume several new ones pop up this year. So how are they going to do it? The only way they can do it is by counting all the sports channels (their Direct Ticket packages) in their 100 channels. Those are channels I don’t care about. So I decided to give FIOS TV a try.
The FIOS package including the rental of 2 HD DVRs costs about the same as the DirecTV. I get 30 HD channels in Los Angeles. All the local networks here in Los Angeles have multiple channels. The rest of the package is basically the same channels as included with DirecTV. The quality of the HD signal is great. We’ve got good strength off the air HD. So I’ve compared the signals and it really looks like FIOS isn’t degrading the signal in any way. I have to say I’m very happy with the FIOS service.
There are a couple of other pluses to the FIOS package. Since it runs over the standard house cable, it means I can set up the equipment anywhere I want. DirecTV ran their own cables to any rooms I wanted. That meant that I could put the gear exactly where I wanted, but the rooms that weren’t wired were completely out of luck. I’m going to patch the DirecTV wiring in to house cable wiring and get the use of all the wiring in the house. The other interesting bit is that the FIOS TV boxes are actually IP connected as well. They have a couple widgets that show traffic and weather, they also have a home media center that lets you stream music. The widgets aren’t really useful, but the IP connectivity really is the right answer and has lots of potential.
That covers the basics of the DirecTV to FIOS switch. The next installment is going to cover the Tivo versus the Motorola 6416 HD DVR. I really love my Tivos, and you can read about how the new DVRs stack up in my next blog post.