Verizon FiOS TV and DVR Release 1.9 – Review
Verizon FiOS (Fiber Optic Service), first introduced in 2004, eschews copper wire in favor of fiber-optic connections that deliver telephone service, Internet, and television programming into home and offices. I’ve had FiOS for almost four years now and have been far happier with it than any previous such service.
When FiOS was first installed, the first thing I noticed was how clear and sharp the picture on my television set was. It hadn’t looked nearly that good with the Time-Warner Cable service the day before. The Internet service was lightning fast and, as for my telephone, well, that essentially remained the same.
Verizon has been working hard to improve the service and, while I’ve seen some small enhancements over the past few years, the service really hasn’t changed very much until recently.
Over the summer, Verizon started to roll out a new version of the settop box software that dramatically changed how one uses the system. Indeed, Interactive Media Guide Release 1.9 is the most sweeping upgrade to the FiOS interface since the introduction of the Interactive Media Guide itself in 2007.
Here’s a look at what’s new.
FiOS sports a brand new interface. The previous screen was in a 4:3 aspect ratio (similar to older, non-high definition televisions); the new version is 16:9. In addition, resolution has been increased from 480p to 1080p.
The look is much smoother and more refined. Animations run smoothly as do the transitions from menu to menu.
One problem I noticed is that the fonts are smaller and harder to read compared to the older version, although they are still readable. While it’s great to have more information on the screen, users need to be able to see it. I found a lot of complaints in online forums and discussion areas concerning this “enhancement.” The problem is mainly on the full guide (more on the guides later on), which uses white text on a blue-grey background. The Channel Guide, which uses black text on a light grey background, is far more readable.
Search is greatly improved. Not only is the new interface easier for inputting keywords, but predictive search suggests possible search results. More importantly, Recent Searches and Saved Searches are available from the search screen and one can save up to 25 searches for easy reference.
You can also use filters, which include (among others) all, now (current programs), today, HD, on demand, adult, and pay-per-view. If you select “now” for example, you will only see programs that are playing currently. If you select “HD,” you will only see HD programs.
In addition, you can enter search from any screen (even while watching live television or a recorded program) by pressing the blue “B” button on the FiOS remote. It took me a few days to get used to NOT going through numerous menu steps to get to search but, once I started to use it regularly, I found it to be a major improvement. Whatever program is playing will continue in a window on screen while you use the search tool.
Click here to continue to Page 2 – Channel Guide and New DVR Functionality
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