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Verizon FiOS vs. Time Warner Cable

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FiOS Triple Play offers blazing fast 150 Mbps download, 35 Mbps upload speeds, multi-room DVR, better service and more features at half the price.

I have waited about 18 months for FiOS to finish wiring my apartment building in midtown Manhattan. It was worth it. After a short, truly painless, 7-hour conversion, I can say goodbye Time Warner Cable, so long old-fashioned Verizon landlines, adios cable modem, hasta la vista backup DSL modem — hello 150 Mbps down, 62 Mbps up — awesome!

I have heard all kinds of horror stories about Verizon FiOS installations — it was not my experience. I was given a window when the installers would show up. They showed up inside the window. They knew exactly what they were doing and what needed to be done. They were extremely respectful of my existing systems and worked as quickly as practical. In the end, they just killed the Time Warner Cable and old Verizon infrastructure and replaced it with new, extraordinary FiOS infrastructure.

The first thing I noticed was that nothing, and I do mean nothing, prepares you for browsing the web at 152/62 (Verizon's published specification is 150 Mpbs down and 35 Mbps up). It is so fast, well … if have an older computer or you have a slow graphics card, you will feel like you hit the limits of your hardware before you hit the limits of the bandwidth. The speed is truly mindboggling. You may wonder if you need that much speed. Time is money — you do!

The next thing I noticed was the FiOS user interface. I've seen it many, many times before, but I've never spent the night with it. It makes the Time Warner Cable user interface feel very old and irrelevant. On the other hand the FiOS user interface is feature-laden and completely intuitive.

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The multi-room DVR rocks! You can add your own 2TB drive to expand its storage capability (although most people won't need to), the functionality is flawless and the picture quality also makes my old Time Warner Cable installation look like I was watching TV with the aid of stone axes and bearskins. The downsides of multi-room DVR include no pause function, no record indicator and no clocks on the remote set-top boxes. I didn't think the "no clock" thing would matter, but there are certain members of my household who rely on that function.

If you really want to have some fun, start playing with the phone system that comes with the FiOS triple play. The web interface, the keypad interface, it doesn't matter, the phone is so over-featured you will want to read the manual. And, most importantly, the sound quality is as good or better than the twisted-copper pair telephone service it replaced.

As for the content packages available on FiOS, pretty much everything you'd ever want to watch (or could watch from other cable/satellite providers) is available. Plus, the interface has widgets that truly expand your video viewing, information gathering and communication capabilities.

All in, day one of my FiOS Chronicles has been awesome. Having just programmed my FiOS multi-room DVR from my iPhone, I can tell you … FiOS is fun and convenient.

I'm sure that I will find several things to complain about for my next installment. I like to complain, and there's no way that I will be this happy with FiOS next week. That said, maybe I will. Oh … I forgot to tell you, the FiOS triple play is costing me about 50% of what I was paying for my combo Time Warner Cable/Verizon Phone package. Better service, more features and half the price — seriously — what's not to like?

About the Author: Shelly Palmer is the host of "Digital Life with Shelly Palmer," a weekly half-hour television show about living and working in a digital world which can be seen on WNBC-TV's NY Nonstop Tuesdays at 10p Eastern and online, and the host of "MediaBytes," a daily news show that features insightful commentary and a unique insiders take on the biggest stories in technology, media, and entertainment. He is Managing Director of Advanced Media Ventures Group, LLC an industry-leading advisory and business development firm and the President of the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, NY (the organization that bestows the coveted Emmy® Awards). Mr. Palmer is the author of Television Disrupted: The Transition from Network to Networked TV (2008, York House Press) and the upcoming, Get Digital: Reinventing Yourself and Your Career for the 21st Century Economy (2009, Lake House Press). You can join the MediaBytes mailing list here. Shelly can be reached at shelly@palmer.net For information visit www.shellypalmer.com

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