Archive for November 1st, 2006

Verizon FiOS TV vs. Time Warner Digital Cable.

November 1st, 2006 1 comment

I should probably store up all these posts to spatter them about on days I can’t think of anything to write.. but anyways.

I called up Time Warner to cancel my Digital Cable subscription today.  When asked about why I told them that I switched to Verizon Fios, and to the guys credit he didn’t belittle the competition.  He did however try to soft-sell me back into the home court throughout the conversation of settling my last bill.  So I thought I’d post some geekily posts on the winners and losers in this competition.  And to TimeWarner’s credit they don’t seem to be standing still like Comcast (the company they bought) and I relish the idea of real competition in my neighborhood for cable television, it is good for my expenses and good for the consumer at large, regardless of who you get televisoin from.

Expense: Winner – Verizon

This is to be expected, because Verizon is trying to get onto Time Warner’s turf.  But the simple heads up cost, undercuts TimeWarner’s by half.  Something that Time Warner acknowledges, because when I told them I was switching, and part was by cost, the first response was, can we make a deal.  So if you are a TW subscriber, call em up and see what kind of deal they are willing to make.

Signal Quality / Technology: Winner – Verizon

Hands down, no question Verizon has the better picture.  Time Warner is dealing with legacy stuff, and the old Comcast plant is two-cable (A side/B side) stuff that is a mess to work with and install.  Verizon is one strand from the demark to the cable splitter.  Both are going to a full digitial technology that will require a set-top box except for a few channels, so either way expect to pay the rental for a STB regardless of provider.  Both use the same Motorola STB for the DVR, but Verizon’s OS is better, the channel guide is logically arranged, and the DVR settings make it easy to set up recordings and ‘subscribe’ to a series of shows.  The ability to share recordings with other STBs in the house (a premium add-on, but with standard half-price the add-ons are affordable) is also a bonus.  The DVR has a 160GB drive, and can record two HD channels at once.  The TW box I’m returning is a lot smaller and can only handle one HD channel at best.  Also if you start recording a show that you are already watching, the Verizon DVR will add whatever is in the buffer to the recorded show.  TW’s DVR would just dump the buffer and record from the point that the record button  is pressed.
Remotes: Winner -Time Warner

The one thing I can’t do with Verizon is a 30-second advance, and it is largely because the remote they provide isn’t programmable.  The TW remote (the silver one) is programmable, and the TW Motolora (I think it is a Microsoft operating system) had a hook for a 30 second skip, which made flipping through the commercials a snap.  Verizon is limited to a FF and a REW for DVR functions.  A nice semi-feature is that once you stop FFwding it backs up a bit, so you don’t have to worry if you over estimate a bit.  Lack of programming also locks you into whatever the remote code for your other devices are, and you can’t add another button (for me it is my TVs aspect button) to the remote, so I have to keep my legacy remote around.

Hands down, at the moment, Verizon wins.  The only niggling detail is the 30-sec skip, which isn’t even provided stock by TW, and takes some digging and remote control programming to enable.  So TW has some catching up to do in my neighborhood.

Don’t shed too many tears, Verizon’s FIOS footprint is really really small when you compare it to TimeWarner’s footprint.  So a little competition in this neck of the woods, could bring other capabilities to other TW neighborhoods that don’t have Verizon breathing down their neck.
I have to eat a bit of crow to be in Verizon’s camp, since their DSL in my neighborhoor was so horrilbe, and I dumped their POTS service too, and went to AT&T Digital Phone.  I’m now a happy Vonage phone user, so don’t pay for POTS, and Verizon handles my internet and TV wonderfully over fiber.  So this whole competition and market forces work in the telcom industry.

Categories: Television Tags:

Memelicious: The 9

November 1st, 2006 Comments off

h/t: Thinkling Jared.

Rules: Randomly list 9 people, preferably people you know. Do not read the questions below the list until you create your list. After your list of 9 people is complete, go back and answer each question, referencing your list.

My list:

  1. Angie
  2. Matt
  3. Debbi
  4. Lauren
  5. Danny
  6. Michael
  7. Brenna
  8. Roger
  9. Kathy

Read more…

Categories: Blaaawg Tags:

Lost Theories

November 1st, 2006 Comments off

Potential SPOILERS in the extended section.. don’t read if you don’t want to be potentially spoiled.

Okay, so the buzz is someone gets offed tonight on Lost and it will be a SHOCKER. Leave a comment with your guess if you want to. My guess is Eko, my reasons are below the fold.

Read more…

Categories: Television Tags:

Gah… Energy bills!

November 1st, 2006 5 comments

Was in my bill paying mode this morning, and when I looked at what I owed for power, I about fainted.  You see, Angie and I signed up for a *new* Super Saver 24 whatchamacallit from TXU, and the dudes on the phone said we should see significant savings from the lower rate.  Only we are on an average monthly payment plan, so our actual payment changes … hardly at all even with the lower rate.  Wanna know why?

Well I did some number crunching, and I’m not at all sure that SuperSaver 24 is the best plan, but a little smoke and mirrors from the power company.  You see the rates for power went through the roof this last year, and if you all remember gas prices, you’ll understand the shell game that TXU is playing here.  We all remember the almost $3.00/gallon price for gas we paid through the summer.  Well the price of electricity about matches upto that on a per cost basis, lagging a bit since the price of power isn’t as volitile as the price of gas.

Last October for instance the price we paid for power was ~$0.10/kwh (when gas was ~$2/gal pre Katrina), last month we paid ~$0.15/kwh.  The new plan locks us into a price of $0.13/kwh.  A two cent drop, which sounds good, until you realize that if the price of energy drops to the equivalent of what the price of gas.  If gas stays at ~$2/gallon, then it seems we might have signed up for a plan that is 2 cents more expensive than the actual cost of power.

Check my math… or any other intangibles…  Should I call up and cancel the locked in 13 cent rate, and see how the market responds?  Because, since we pay an average monthly payment, the rate fluctuations don’t respond that significantly to the rate we pay.  But I don’t want to be locked into spring 2006 prices either.

Categories: /dev/null, Life Tags: