More On Verizon FiOS TV: The Q4 Update

Now that we’ve covered some of upcoming significant Verizon FiOS TV features (first half 2008), let’s take a step back and discuss the 2007 Q4 “maintenance release.” At the core of this update, Verizon believes they have addressed the “top 100” concerns based on continued testing, blog feedback, call center data, and home visits. While they’re not really adding any major new features, the software should appear more polished with UI improvements and dozens of resolved issues.


  • More complete guide data and for upcoming programs
  • Larger fonts (in program descriptions)
  • Less chopped text
  • Just one UI “bread crumb”
  • Transparent guide no longer default setting
  • Improved storage space calculations and indicator

New Features

  • Set-top box reminders (non-DVR models)
  • Pad recordings
  • Additional recording options
  • Option to channel surf favorites only
  • Subscribe to channels

Hover your mouse over the thumbnails for a description; Click for a larger view:

Full guide view. Pad your recordings.

Recording options. Record by channel or all channels.

Upgrade FiOS TV packages from the box.

Verizon also wanted to chat about their development process. The (large) IMG team is in action 6 1/2 days a week utilizing a “rapid development cycle” methodology. After a series of internal testing and QA, the software is rolled out to Verizon “friendlies” (employees, friends, family) for additional feedback and observation. Once completed, one region will receive an upgrade and will be monitored. In addition to these planned larger biannual maintenance releases, out of cycle updates and firmware will be (and are) shipped as needed. Also, going forward, Verizon intends to increase the roll-out speed between regions. Lab testing on the final release of this build is nearing completion, and the software should start showing up in homes next month.

Before deciding to take the day off from work to trek up north, I placed a condition on the briefing that time would be reserved to address the questions, concerns, and issues of current and potential customers. Verizon fully supported this and here we are:

Expandable Storage (razordullwit)

The DVR architecture is capable of supporting expanded storage and it’s a feature currently under consideration. It seems as though Verizon has been somewhat reluctant to go down this path (now) while they work through the logistics of providing and managing the customer experience. Obviously a lot of folks, myself included, think this is an important feature to implement – appealing to both the mainstream and geek crowd.

Crashes (JJB)

Verizon is aware of crashing in less than 1% of boxes. Many of these have been identified and eliminated through firmware updates which are currently rolling out. Interestingly, the major source of non-code crashes is due to overheating DVRs located in unventilated areas. Make sure your DVR has some breathing room. And for anyone experiencing issues, be sure to call Verizon and report them.

VOD Quantity (Davis Freeberg)

Davis heard that cable operators are limited to 10,000 video on demand titles. Verizon tells me they currently offer over 8,000, with more to come. Verizon explains that this is a storage versus streaming issue, and bandwidth is not a limiting factor. They have no issues today and they’ll increase capacity as they add content.

CableCARD Issues (JohnInVA)

Verizon will continue to offer choice in supporting industry initiatives such as CableCARD, but they had nothing specific to say regarding technical issues or the availability of M-Cards.

Reminders (Steven)

As mentioned above, programmable reminders will become available on set-top boxes. As far as pre-recording confirmation screens, I don’t think we fully understood the situation and what is/isn’t happening. Steven, Can you elaborate?

Favorites (Jeff)

Also as mentioned above, favorites apply to both the guide and channel surfing in the Q4 update. Jeff, much of the game and video content will not be locally stored on the box and while the capacity of your drive isn’t increasing, the more accurate indicator should show more room.

Robert’s Issues

The DVR hangs, 0-second recordings, and Season Pass issues should all be corrected for you through the firmware and maintenance releases rollouts this year. You also might want to make sure your DVR has enough ventilation. The guide data should be more complete and improved through monitoring, as mentioned above, and will hopefully eliminate those recording issues.

Sporky’s List

Sorry, Spork, but I didn’t have time to get feedback on all your issues, observations, and suggestions – I had a train to catch. However, Verizon is aware of your feedback on DSL Reports. Many items you mentioned will be corrected or improved with the Q4 release. I can also tell you the guide color legend is available online and Verizon’s research indicated that audible feedback is “annoying” – however, it sounds like that’s being re-evaluated. Tuner swapping, both with 60 minute buffers, will arrive with the 2008 Q1/Q2 release.

Spark’s Two Items

Given my day job, I agree with Spark in the value of companies speaking directly to customers. Verizon’s beginning to reach out (by monitoring the forums and blogs, engaging me, home visits) and hopefully they’ll become more active going forward. Regarding the missed recordings, given the brief description, they’re not certain what the root cause is. If it’s related to guide data, perhaps it will be resolved. Regardless, they suggest that everyone having probs should call them in. Not only do they monitor this feedback, they have the ability to enable a DVR debugging mode to collect the sorts of data which would hopefully lead to a resolution.

83 thoughts on “More On Verizon FiOS TV: The Q4 Update”

  1. My BIG concern is I have heard the new guide (don’t have yet), has Removed the variable box volume capability & replaced it w/ a fixed menu selection ..
    Example- My TV is a just a “monitor” so I re-programmed the Fios remote’s vol control to up/down the “box’s” volume, hooked thru an amp.. I’m told my vol control on the remote will do “nothing” w/ the new IMG, & I will now have to navigate thru IMG menu selections to simply up/down the box’s volume… NO Reason for This!

  2. Thanks for the info, but I’m pretty sure I’ve never posted the list to DSL Reports. I just looked and there is a different “Sporky” and “Spork” in the forums there, but that’s not me. I did post it at about a week ago. The list continues to grow BTW. In my previous work as an interface designer I was the “user advocate.” NEVER let the people who write the CODE create the INTERFACE – they don’t think like normal people! Programmers should not be relied upon to test the interface either. They already know how it works and it makes sense to them.

    It will be interesting to see their fixes. “Option to channel surf favorites only” sounds to me like they don’t “get it.” We need to be able to just plain REMOVE unsubscribed and unwanted channels COMPLETELY from view (like it used to be!) “Favorites” should be like it sounds, a short list of favorite channels.

  3. Sporky, I could be confused. They did mention monitoring their Policy blog, DSL Reports, my blog, and a few other places. They definitely have seen the list before somewhere.

    As far as Favorites go, I think they’ll be doing exactly what you want in removing channels from view. You identify your favorites and then in the Guide AND/OR while channel surfing you’ll only see those channels.

    I agree interface design and usability should originate from experts in that field, but I’m not aware of the specific team makeup. I think they’re on the right track and making good progress, given this software has only existed a few months. Though, I imagine for some living with it, the fine tuning and enhancements can’t come soon enough. Given the resources they’re throwing at this, I get the sense they’re committed – this isn’t some half-assed side project. And as the underdog fighting the embedded cable co’s, they’re going to have to overachieve.

  4. Dave, thanks for all the great info.

    Did you happen to find out the 2 most important things about the upgrade – will we get the full 25+ hours of HD DVR space we should get with a 160GB hard drive and when is FIOS going to give us some more of these new HD channels that are all over DirecTV?

    Also, it looks from you picts that the guide is 16×9. Is that the case?


  5. My buddy Ben D (EngadgetHD) will be covering Verizon’s HD lineup. I’ll report on his findings after he posts.

    The plasmas on display were widescreen and the menus appeared appropriate for 16×9.

    I wasn’t given an exact number of recording hours, but I was told the indicator will be more accurate with the update and display more space for most folks.

  6. Dave,
    Thanks for addressing the issues with Verizon. It would be nice if those of us with issues could contact the IMG group in a more “direct” method than through general customer support. Perhaps through a web forum of some kind that would allow them to initiate contact with those people they want to debug with. Having to go through the standard Verizon customer service lines sounds time consuming and a potential time-waster going through the standard “have you power cycled your box” stuff.

    Again, thanks for staying on these issues.

    P.S. There is another way Verizon could allow more storage capacity without significantly increasing their support costs. If they had the ability for their box to have a programmable remote code, it would be possible to have more than 1 STB in a room. As it stands now, all STBs have the same remote code and cannot live in the same room. Therefore, even if I want to rent a second box for more storage, I can’t. I understand their “stock” remote might not support this, but many of us use universal remotes that would easily support this.

  7. Thanks for the great info.

    Do you know where Verizon is at on the problem of inaccessible favorites? They say it’s a known issue (favorites are set up properly but don’t show up when using the favorites guide). Also, any word on the scrolling issue (non-circular)with favorites and the guide (favs or regular) always starting in the same place?


  8. Thanks for the digging. Much appreciated.

    Very excited to hear about the dual buffer / tuner swapping. Will this also address the related issue where one watches a show and builds a buffer, then switches to a recorded program, then returns to the live show only to find the buffer has disappeared…will the 2008 release allow the buffer there to persist?

    I greatly support the idea of attaching an external hard drive. With a family of 4, and a world of HD content, this is almost a necessity. However I would be against having this drive be a Verizon rental item.

  9. Horribly slow. Trying to find out what’s playing on a given channel in a hour takes way too long. If you like seeing screens load without any indication that your input was successful you’ll love this update. If you like your screen filled with menus leaving a tiny window with video playing, you’ll love this. Anyone know how to set up a reminder for a future showing of a program? This feature is no longer available as far as I can tell.

  10. Did anyone at Verizon Beta test this system? The first ver they put out had some flaws, but it was not as bad as it is now. I’m a long time Verizon customer, but I will be canceling this TV service, and go back to Brighthouse, or one of the Sat providers.

    This entire system is just too much work to endure, and I would not keep this TV service if it were free.
    Clearly the people responsible for this upgrade have never actually used this interface and should be FIRED!!

  11. I’m a new victim of this software upgrade, as of today.

    I came home and immediately noticed three things in approximately 5 minutes: 1) the prettier UI, 2) the lack of the option to set a program reminder, 3) the very slow response time and lack of feedback when pressing buttons while trying to navigate the menu system searching for how to set a program reminder.

    What an awful upgrade. I’m in the software dev. business myself, and would be embarrassed to roll out something like this.

    I’ve been on hold for 61 minutes at the number Verizon says to call for IMG issues. I guess I can hang up, now that I found my answer (no program reminders!) on this website.

  12. I am anxious to see what others think about the new upgrade. So far I am not impressed. I like that they added the page down feature for the guide but why not in your recorded program list.
    I also don’t like that it goes back to the top of the recorded list when you hit stop or get to the end of a recorded show you are watching. Used to it gave you the option to delete it. Now you have to find it again in the list and delete it. There are other things I don’t like but will save it for another day. I was hopping the upgrade would help my wife’s hatred for the system. We switched from a Tivo based Direct TV system to Fios and I haven’t heard the end of it. So far she hates the upgrade worse!!!

  13. We just got the new UI update a couple of nights ago. I am trying to give it a chance, not rush to judgement too quickly. So far, it looks very nice, but…find it takes more steps to execute a given task with recordings (delete, add, etc). I don’t think I like the enlarged highlight in the middle of the guide (distracting). Volume adjustment is incredibly slow, 1%/second while holding it down. Did not notice our DVR being too low on space to get some scheduled recordings so they were missed (darn!) and we had no explanation or warning about this before or after. I don’t see the little orange triangles. Overall, it is pretty but seems less functional.

  14. DVR CRASHES – I’ve had FIOS service just over a week now, and the DVR crashes on average once a day. What’s the deal????

  15. Just got the update and noticed many problems:

    1. Lost Favorites. Added them but they do not show up.
    2. While recording two programs, canceled one and both were stopped.
    3. No delete option when you get to end of show. Bring it back.
    4. No circular menus, such as in the favorites menu. If I want to get to 801 I have to cursor down forever.
    5. Get rid of unsubscribed channels. Dish had the option to show only subscribed channels.
    6. Search only favorites/subscribed.
    7. How do you set reminders?
    8. My space is less than it used to be. Maybe 16-18 hours.
    9. I want to connect an external disk drive.
    10. Slow response to remote. I am constantly pressing buttons twice because I am not sure it got the first one.
    11. If a series changes the ending time, the series manager does not pick it up. “Grey’s Anatomy” keeps changing its ending time (9:01, 9:02, 9:06) and they are not recognized as being the same program.
    12. I liked the 1 minute before and after mode. How do I set it?
    13. I want the space remaining showing on all DVR screens. I like to know if I have to delete something when I set a program to record or when looking at recorded programs.
    14. No skip button on remote.
    15. I want to skip to the end of a program and back up. I am constantly starting over to see the last few minutes.
    16. Scheduled programs only show one week into the future. The old software showed two weeks into the future.
    17. If a program runs late the guide is not updated and scheduled recordings are not adjusted. Especially bad in football season.
    18. While add/del favorites a short description of the channel. Some of the names are meaningless.

    And most important: My wife hates it.

    How do I get these comments to Verizon? I am not about to sit on the phone for hours just to recite this list. Does this get to Verizon developers?

  16. James,
    Thanks, you have hit most of the issues I have on the head. Several of these issues like” having to restart a program to get to watch the end ” has always been an issue. I hate the new functionallity of the upgrade as well. And yes, the wife reminds me everytime I walk throught the room just how much it sucks. Looks like I am going to have to spend some big bucks on a standalone Tivo.

  17. I’m going to check in with Verizon to see if we can find out versioning info. It’ll be helpful in discussion to determine if someone is running the first major build of IMG or the Q4 update.

    James, I’ve been told my PR contact and the IMG project managers are monitoring these comments. As well as comments on other blogs and on the DSL Reports Forum.

  18. Now that you mention it, Dave…If we click on Help->System Information there is a screen with a bunch of particulars that probably address this. Mine has
    * Release: 1.0.3
    * Build Number: 03.40

    Not sure if much else is meaningful to this discussion.

    Ditto to James Stover’s list. I agree on all the functionality issues.


  20. I HATE the new Fios menu guide. It is the most difficult menu I’ve ever seen to try to find a program. I do not like only having the ability to see one channel when attempting to find content in the menu guide. The remote buttons do not have the same functionality as before either. The channel up and down button now acts as a page up and down button. I really hope this is a first version, and a new release will be available soon.

  21. More thoughts on this upgrade, since supposedly there is a chance that Verizon eyeballs might see some of the comments on here.

    I think it’s very odd and extremely user-unfriendly for a software upgrade to REMOVE functionality. Especially pretty basic functionality.

    Besides just normal TV watching, one of the MAJOR things I do–or should I say, USED to do–is record shows when I am away from home, sleeping, or otherwise occupied.

    How am I supposed to do that when this lousy upgrade removes the ability to automatically switch channels when a show is about to air? That’s unforgiveable.

    Am I missing something? Is there still a way to do what I want to do? (I just have the basic box, no DVR.)

    I think this is probably good grounds for me to get out of my bundle contract.

  22. Greetings:

    If this new interface isn’t fixed within 2 months, I am done with Verizon. This interface went from bad to worse. How could anyone let this software be rolled into the field?

  23. New DVR indicator shows I have HD recorded but I don’t have HD. IT also doesn’t show that any of the shows listed under “Recorded” are HD. How do I get this time back?

    Guide text is smaller than before. My TV is not 50″ plasma and I don’t intend to buy one to read the Guide. Maybe there needs to be a text size option. What is with the Guide taking up the whole screen. Half Screen option should be vertical half screen or horizontal half screen – or just put it back like it was before. What is “Transparent” supposed to gain anyone? It makes the text harder to read and the picture is impossible to see, so what’s the point?

    Why doesn’t the guide info give more info? Show stars in movies; guest stars on reg series.

    REL: 1.03 Build: 03.32

  24. the pause functionality needs to be the same as TIVO’s. When you pause on one channel then jump to another channel then go back to the previous channel the pause needs to still be in affect

  25. I spoke to Verizon about that Pause feature and they told me their system was not capable of that because of the way the tuners where. I don’t really buy it but look like we have no choice.
    I really miss the ability of switching between the two tuners like my Tivo.

    I had something strange happen tonight. I deleted the Cowboy game ( which takes too long…man this system is slow ) and was then deleting another program and when I hit Yes to the delete, the screen went black with no sound and after a few minutes, the system powered off. I had to manually turn it back on and when it came back up, both the game and the other program where back in recorded menu. I had to delete them again…which did I mention, takes way too long.

    Also, with the old SW version, you could tell it to keep only 2,3,4,etc episodes of a show and it would automatically delete the older shows. The new system seems to keep everything regardless of how many you tell it. I am in hopes that it will delete them if space is needed but I am not real confident it would not delete something I want to keep.

    Speaking of deleting, why does it protect shows and make you unprotect, confirm the unprotect, then go back and find it again and delete, and confirm the delete? With the old SW, you just told it to keep until I delete it. Much easier.

    Has anyone had any luck with Verizon on the phone? I spoke to them the other day and they would not lead on to any problems, just that they were accepting feedback.

  26. To hell with the upgrade. How about just fixing the software that is broken? First it was September. Then October. Then November. Now they tell me that the fix will be in December. I signed up for Verizon because I was promised a 160 GB DVR. I’m tired of a buggy 80 GB unit with a 160 GB hard drive.

    Every time I call I’m told that the fix is in the works and that I really can record more than 10 hours. Every time I come close (usually on Sunday if I record two football games) I delete the game but the hours stay on the machine. When the next game starts to record it deletes a half dozen or more of SD and HD programming.

    Just happened again last night.

  27. I have been investigating some of the bug issues and have discovered some interesting details.

    19. Concerning “Some Favorites do not show”. If you cursor to the end then cursor back to the beginning, the missing channels from the end show up before the first channel. Apparently, the pointer to the current location does not match the display. And if you hit the FAV key you do not end up on your current station. All this indicates a mismatch between where the displays thinks it is and where it really is. The page up and down keys behavior confirm this. They stop working at the wrong places. Tried removing all Favorites and reentering them!
    20. Canceled recording of a series program that I was watching. Then removed it. About a minute later the program started recording again. Repeated this several times. The recording kept starting back. I think it is related to being a series recording. Had to wait until the program was over. But if there is another program immediately afterwards, you run the risk of canceling it too.
    21. My DVR status showed some SD program space being used even though I had only HD programs recorded.
    22. The free space seems smaller and smaller every day.
    23. When you select a program I would like an option to see other showings. This used to be an option.
    24. Played a program being recorded. Hit pause, Info, Info. There is no option to start over, just to resume.
    25. Set to record a program. Got conflict message and the program was list as bumped, as expected. Selected program and clicked on Record Series. Program disappeared entirely from scheduled list.
    26. Delete of Protected program. ARG!!
    27. Many stations are repeated in the low section and 500’s section. If you add a channel to Favorites from the 500’s, you also get the lower numbered one. USA channel is an example.
    28. A&E HD is an upconverted stretched version of A&E SD. It is not true HD! The stretch looks terrible and what a waste of an HD channel.
    29. When do we get PIP? It is on the remote.
    30. Watch a recording of “The War” and the sound was out of sync by more than 5 seconds. Never seen this before.

    Every day that I use the system I find a new bug. When is the next update?

    David: If the box keeps powering off all by itself it may be a faulty power supply. Mind did that.

  28. Regarding #23 Other Showings. I too thought that was missing, but found it becuase the button response was slow and I double clicked.

    If you press Info twice you get a new screen, and an item on that may be “Future Airings” which can include the current time on another channel (HD or duplicate). I have seen that option not alwasy be displayed, which may mean there is not another airing within its timeframe, whatever that is.

  29. Had another interesting event tonight. I was watching a recorded show and wanted to rewind it to a spot and stop it for later viewing. I could do everything ( FF, REW, Pause & Play ) but could not stop to get back to the DVR menu. I tried several times but it was acting somewhat like a live program meaning you can not Stop it. I finally changed channels. I channeled up and back down and the recorded show was no longer on the screen. The odd part is when I went back to the Recorded shows and selected to play the same show again, it started right where I originally had tried to stop it. Looks like the recorded show did stop where I had told it to but kept playing on the screen because when I finally changed channels to correct the problem, I was further into the show.

    Has anyone purchased a TIVO Series 3 and used two Cablecards from Verizon?

  30. I am almost afraid to turn on my set because I find new problems every time. Here is what I found last night:

    31. Set up to record two programs at the same time. Just before the start I canceled one and just as a program started added a second. The screen went blank. Menus worked but no video.
    32. Switched to the other channel I was recording but got an error about tuners, not possible, etc., even though I was recording that channel. It should be smart enough to know that you are switching to a channel you are recording.
    33. Found the recording in the DVR menu and played it fine. Stopped. Found the other “blank” program and played it. It was ok too. Returned to the first program to continue viewing it. There is no resume or play from start options. Just view which puts you at the current live location, not the place you stopped. There should always be a “Start Over” and “Resume” option. And if the program is still being recorded a “Watch Live” option. Stopped several times and each time when I played, I immediately jumped to the current live location. Only when the recording ended did the “Play from start” and Resume options appear.

    You may ask “Why Stop? Why not just pause?” Well if you pause and switch the TV from the cable box to a DVD player or antenna, as I was doing at the time, the cable box detects that the TV is no longer connected and stops the DVR for you automatically.

    My space remaining is still wrong. Will I ever get that space back? I am now at around 15 hours and dropping.

    And about Roxanne’s comment about font size. I have the opposite issue. I bought a big screen TV. How about an option for a smaller font and to use the whole 16:9 screen better? More channels in the guide. Show all options instead of only 3 or 4.

    Do I rant too much? Has Verizon responded to any of these posts?

  31. I’ve tried many times to use closed captioning unsuccessfully. No message or circle with a slash through it comes up, it just doesn’t work. I could never figure out where it was on the old remote. Now there’s a button marked”cc” but nothing happens when it’s pressed.

  32. I don’t have the newer remote, but CC can be enabled through the menus as Settings>Accessibility>Captions. This is much better than the old way with power cycling the cablebox. At least some things are an improvement.

  33. I was on the phone with Verizon for 2.5 hours today. Spoke to 7 different people. I was trying to straighten out a bundled billing issue and finding out if Cablecards where available and for how much. I can’t continue to use Verizon’s DVR. Looks like I am buying a Series 3 Tivo and using the Cablecards. In my area they are $2.99/mon per card. Requires two for dual tuners.
    I did speak to a very nice gentleman in the Tech Support group that listened to most of my complaints about the current SW and was very interested in this Blog.
    I took him to the site and he said he would make sure others at the company are seeing it as well.

  34. Here’s the updated list. It’s still not everything that bugs me though!

    In no particular order:

    CANNOT REMOVE CHANNELS!!!!! – makes “channel surfing” impossible HUGE mistake.

    unsubscribed channels should AUTOMATICALLY be hidden based on the package you subscribe to!

    search should NOT include unsubscribed channels (or deleted channels if you COULD delete them)

    No longer offers to delete after end of pgm – must go find and delete

    no slow fwd/rev, only step with intrusive banner

    Banner is ANNOYING! Shows up WAY, WAY too often.

    When stepping forward or back, banner should go away.

    video and/or audio blanks out randomly – audio sometimes out of sync

    frequently powers off on pgm delete, then pgm is still there

    Cannot save cached video from previous pgm

    select on menu items inconsistent (sometimes right, sometimes select) Just let “right” also work as “enter.”

    records same episode over and over and over and over- CLUELESS about existing recordings. – VERY FRUSTRATING

    “first run” seems meaningless

    difficult to locate series first run episodes (vs repeat showings)

    No persistent search for future shows or keywords

    cannot add second episode (at different time) if one already exists

    “ouija board” wraps top to bottom, but left or right exits

    Many menu selections are slow with no audible or visible selection confirmation.

    remote commands get buffered – slow functions result in multiple commands

    “Next Airings” – (not on menu if =none?)

    Memu randomly non-responsive

    no confirmation sounds or prompts

    never a “please wait” msg on slow functions – “it just sits there”

    description often incorrect

    guide describes series, not episode – I KNOW who Jay Leno is, who’s on?

    descriptions generally very poor

    Date, names not shown in info.

    sometimes displays wrong info for recordings

    What the heck do the colors mean in the guide? Where does it say?

    FREQUENT “0 second” recordings – “[show name] is bad recording” – VERY Frustrating.

    Sometimes seems to be recording, but playlist shows 0 second recording, can’t play, can’t stop (not)recording – FRUSTRATING.

    Frequent “weekly” tests cancel recordings, but DVR “thinks” it’s still recording, cannot resume.

    randomly powers off and does not resume – DVR is well ventilated!

    When in series manager (and elsewhere) chan up/dn should skip by page.

    Pressing “Record” while watching a recording should indicate user error.

    recording indicator not always displayed in banner

    current position indicator not always displayed

    No way to switch between tuners (needed to “watch two channels at once” without recording. “Last” is not the same, dumps buffer)

    Looking days ahead on a channel is very slow/awkward.

    using FF near end of recording skips suddenly to end

    recorded pgms offer to “resume” when you have not previously started viewing

    need to normalize volume between channels

    “Next Airings” should be shown in Series Manager

    No NASA TV! What’s up with that? it’s FREE!

  35. Oh yeah, one more thing. A new feature… Should be able to mute audio and video of offensive/violent content on a SHOW BY SHOW basis! You could “tag” a show and whenever you surf past it, you just see a “Content Blocked” message. That way I wouldn’t have to completely remove “Spike TV” (if you COULD remove channels.) I could just block all the stuff intended for idiots and still get Voyager and DS9.

  36. Sporky seems to be right on the money. His observations match mine. I think I have experienced every one of his problems.

    Once again I turned on the set and once again I found some new problems and was reminded of many of the old ones:

    31. No day of the week when you forward through the guide. Just a date. You need a calendar.
    32. Can’t stop a program that I am playing. You have to pause, then find the program and stop it from the menu.
    33. I seem to remember there were four fast forward speeds. Now there are only three.
    34. PIP. When will it be available? I would love to play a recording while waiting for a live football game in overtime finish. My TV has PIP and I often keep an over-the-air station in a small window while watching a recording.
    35. Where are NASA and RFDTV? RFDTV has a great program about steam trains.
    36. When will SiFi be in HD? Battlestar Gallactica in HD!!!

  37. @James Stover: well theres plenty of time for scifi in HD… Galactica doesnt return with new episodes until March 2008! I guess its just Razor we’ll miss in HD.

  38. Oh yeah, RFDTV with those awesome cattle auctions and of course “The Big Joe Polka Show!” “I Love Toy Trains” is a hoot as well. Great stuff!

  39. In Verizon’s defense(really!) I suspect that SOME of the issues are related to trying to avoid being sued. Others involved in the DVR business hold patents on all sorts of logical, obvious DVR functionality that should never have been granted. Unfortunately the patent system now does exactly the opposite of what it should be doing. Patents should be fairly rare.

  40. I’m a football fan and the slo-mo functionality is essential for re-watching games later. After two long customer service calls (their voice-driven phone menu is worse than the IMG), I still don’t have an answer about whether the sudden lack of slo-mo is a function of my old, Motorola remote or not. I have new remotes on the way, supposedly, but found it strange that nobody could tell me if that will really give me slo-mo back or not. Luckily I don’t use the DVR functionality enough to suffer as others have. I’ll give Verizon a few weeks and then I’ll cancel (and I’ll call my CC bank ahead of time to prevent the cancellation fee).

  41. Just heard back from Verizon – They’re in the final stages of testing the Q4 update and deployment will begin in a matter of weeks. (So the discussion software version numbers doesn’t matter just yet.)

  42. My biggest beefs are the problems with the Favorites. They are:

    1. The way a channel is selected. It isn’t by channel number but by name. The proof: Select channel 50 which is USA (in Texas), and notice that you have also selected the Spanish equivalent, channel 500. This is true of all channels that have an alternate. This is just bad programming. Because of the apparent limitation on the number of favorites you can have, this prevents you from viewing a full list of your favorites.

    2. The default guide being your Favorites isn’t even an option. In the old UI, when I pressed the Guide button, it was a list of my Favorites. I realize there is a Favorites button, but why the regression.

    3. The Favorites do not start at the current channel. This is again, poor programming, and should have been caught in Beta.

    Finally, I have a comment about the statement, “The (large) IMG team is in action 6 1/2 days a week utilizing a “rapid development cycle??? methodology”. Really!!!, I’d say fire them. I’m 95% certain that a couple of good programmers and a QA guy could resolve these UI issues within a week if there were adequate requirements and specifications to work from. Rapid development is another way of saying, “we’re like to work like a garage shop operation and we don’t care about quality”. The reason I know this is because I’m a software QA engineer who works with two groups of developers. One that uses rapid techniques and one that is more traditional, and the traditional developers consistently, produce much, much better software than their rapid counterpart, and the reason is because of well defined requirements, and specifications. The quality is in the planning and execution, not just the execution.

  43. Regarding Mr Zatz’s comment “They’re in the final stages of testing the Q4 update and deployment will begin in a matter of weeks.” I guess *we* are unwitting the beta test.

    I just had two peculiar ones: A program was recording and I was watching another channel. Thought to do a Search, and right after selecting the “keyword” option the whole DVR shut down and rebooted.

    Later it was still recording the first show, but wanted to switch or cancel a new recording. I told it to switch. The new recording *may* be working but that channel has no display or audio. Other channels are normal.

    And a persistent pain to me is the slow response of the on-screen menu or cursor to keypresses on the remote.

    Pretty weak stuff. More QA please before shipping code out to DVR boxes all over the country.


  44. I would so like to have my old guide back.

    The two biggest complaints I have are:

    In the listings, why in the world did they stick the expanded listing for the currently selected channel in the middle of the list? It makes it impossible to scan down the list of programs. At the very least, give us options to change the location of that description to the top of the screen. Or provide a setting that allows user to have a collapsed mode so that the expanded listing doesn’t show up when browsing listings.

    I want the ability to forward, pause, rewind by using the cursor buttons in the middle of the remote (as they used to function). It is almost impossible to use the small rewind, play, pause buttons without regripping and looking at the remote.

    Since this IMG was rolled out, there’s been a marked decrease in quality of video. Lots of pixelation. It’s not as bad as I used to experience with Comcast, but it’s annoying nonetheless.

  45. I’ve seen lots of mention that we actually have more storage then is shown on the status screen. I called Verizon and this is what they told me, that I actually can record more then the 12 hours of HD that it shows. I told them that was wrong as I’ve had numerous programs deleted before even the 12 hour mark. I suggest everyone do what I did, call the customer service number and ask for a refund for this months DVR fee. I got it, and I intend to ask for it every month until they fix this POS.

  46. Everyone pay attention to Doug in Rowlett. I called them last week when this happened for the second time and I got credit for three months of DVR rental.

    Maybe they would fix the critical errors if they were giving credit to every customer.

  47. When I started on this forum I didn’t want to pass judgement too quickly. Well, it crashed again. I don’t recall the old software ever crashing. This one has crashed at least three times that I know of. If I wasn’t here to watch, it may recover on its own.
    * last night a series was supposed to record (saw it in our list) but it never started the recording–had to do it manually. No warning, no error, no remove old program; it just did not work.

    Today I caught a program 15 minutes in progress and thought I’d like it recorded. The initial response was just to record, but a minute later the DVR crashed and rebooted. Once it was back, I changed back to my program and tried the “record” button. I got a menu choice to “Record series” or “Cancel Recording” or “Exit.” The “Exit” value threw me off, should that be “Continue” or “Record this one only”?

    I am now getting concerned that I have to closely monitor the DVR to make sure it records things I have programmed it to. This is not convenient and is quite unsatisfactory.

    I may have to spend some time on hold with Verizon to complain.

  48. The number of problems we’ve had since they rolled this out to us two weeks ago are countless. I’ve lost track.

    We experience SIGNIFICANT bugs every day, plus the feature set is reduced compared to the old system.

    We were watching a program tonight that was recorded. A message pops up that a program on channel “802” (what, you can’t tell me what program? The last version did) and do I want to record it? There’s no conflict, why is it asking me? So I say “yes”. Now the graphic when I fast forward lists another program that is recording, not the one I’m watching, and I can’t stop the program from playing.

    Oh, and popping to the live channel once a recorded program is done playing is why I dumped Charter and went to FiOS!

    Also (this is huge) I can’t play from the START a program that is currently recording (see comment about Charter). Try coming in to a sporting event and have either of the two issues I just described happen.

    Tonight we also had a zero second non-recording of Bones yesterday. Wife wasn’t happy.

    This stuff happens EVERY DAY.

    It’s unbelievable. I’m an old TiVo early adopter. Didn’t want to spend the money, but I’ve got to go to the Series 3 HD with the CableCards. I so miss my TiVo.

  49. I know I should just leave it alone as I just received my Tivo Series 3 today and Verizon will be here sometime in the morning with my Cablecards but I can’t. In addition to having most all the same issues everyone else has commented on, I have noticed that since the upgrade, it has not been recording the end of all the shows. Mostly you just don’t get to see the previews of next weeks show but on several occasions, it has cut the end of the show off. Don’t miss understand, I am not talking about how it jumps to the end when you are fast forwarding, It just does not record it. Has anyone else noticed this? I don’t remember seeing it listed.
    I did not want to spend the money for the TIVO but there is no way I can continue to use the Verizon DVR. I will let everyone know how it goes.

  50. Brad – I definitely want to know how your TiVo S3 w/ Cablecards experience goes. How much is Verizon charging for the Cablecards?

    We just had the “cut-off” problem last night. Back To You goes over the top of the hour, I guess, so we miss the last several seconds, which always ends up being important. Went to extend it by one minute, but that option doesn’t exist, only 5 minutes. Did a Series pass for Til Death instead.

    Are we having fun yet?

  51. @ Glenn – Just to be fair, I’m near Philly where we still have the original software, and I also have to tape Til Death to get the end of Back to You. It runs annoyingly far into the next couple minutes every week. Same with Heroes. And I also have only the “5 minutes later” or more option, no “1 minute”. So that’s always been a problem, I guess.

    I put the blame squarely on the networks for that. Heroes ends 3 minutes late so you have to watch their next program instead of another channel, which is of course a way of screwing your viewers. Some shows, including Heroes, actually list the ending time at x:03, so your DVR sometimes gets it right, but then you can only tape one other thing from 10 to 11. Til Death and Back to You, both of which end chronically late, don’t list their times properly, so you get screwed a different way there.

  52. No VA FiOS customer.

    I have also experienced most of the problems listed here. The one that really drives me INSANE is the 0 second / bad recording issue. Simply put, I can not rely on the fios DVR to record anything. Even if the show is in the scheduled recordings it will often come up as a bad recording. If the update that I was told by a Verizon rep would roll out December 6th does not fix this issue I am gone.

    I am curious how much the cable card route would cost.

  53. My ReplayTV gets the whole episode of Heroes and never cuts off the last minute or two. Don’t blame the network. If the ReplayTV guide can get the time right, why can’t Verizon? My old TimeWarner DVR (the same box, different software) never had bad recordings, deleted shows, or cut off the end of shows.

    Anyone know if the TiVo guide gets the timing right?

  54. @ Brad –

    I wasn’t saying I don’t get the end of Heroes, I was saying it sucks that the network makes it run late on purpose every week to screw you out of taping 2 things on other channels.

  55. Dave, can you ask about Al Gore’s Current TV channel if you see them again?
    I miss it since leaving DirecTV.


  56. Got the new remote control, but it doesn’t solve my problem: the lack of slo-mo capability with the IMG. Why did they take this away? They didn’t put some NEW functionality in its place. Now, when you press pause and then fast-forward, you go frame to frame for each press instead of a good slo-mo mode. For a big football fan who likes to review games later, this is a HUGE negative and I will cancel FIOS if the update doesn’t bring slo-mo back in time for the playoffs.

    Seems insane to spend all that money laying fiber only to lose customers because of rinky-dink software.

  57. Verizon is a HUGE company with lots of committees, policies and procedures, middle managers and meetings. Little good comes from such situations. To them the software in their DVRs is a minuscule thing. To us, who pay a fair amount of money each month for it, it matters a lot. Simply put, they just don’t “get it.” I’m waiting as patiently as possible to see the promised “fix” but I’d be very surprised if it’s enough to keep my business.

  58. I have to admit, I almost had a tear roll down my check when I saw the little guy again. You know the one with the cute little antennas. My wife was in the office so I turned up the stereo volume and hit the TIVO button…??? bublup??? or how ever you spell that all to familiar sound Tivos make. She came running into the room…. well ok, actually she yelled out “it’s back??? in a very excited voice.
    Enough of the sappy stuff. I did get the cards installed and felt nothing as the tech walked out the door with the DVR. Still too early to report on full functionality but I have to say the card installation and setup was easy.
    From my understanding, one functionality that I lose is the Verizon video on demand. That might effect some people more but all we ever used it for where a couple of movies and TIVO has a similar function if you are connected to the internet through a home network. I here you can also use Tivo to go to store recordings on your computer and burn DVD’s. I will keep everyone posted.

    The cards are $2.99 per card here in Plano TX. It requires 2 to get dual turner functions.

    I ordered my Tivo from Weaknees which I linked to from this site. They had the best price I could find. There is also a $200 rebate running right now.

    once again happy :)

  59. Brad, you’re getting me all revved up! You got the S3, right? If those cable cards are working and all we lose is On Demand, I think I’m going to have to pull the trigger on this.

    Yes, it’s a lot of money, but as I told my wife the other day, we’d be better off with a VCR and setting a timer.

  60. I did get the Series 3 HD. So far it is great. While it is much faster responding ( like deleting recordings) it does seem a bit slower than I remember my old TIVO but nothing like the DVR.
    I am still trying to decide what to do about my other two rooms. Probably will get a Series 2 and just run the standard Cable box to feed it. This way I can use the networking feature and watch recordings
    from other rooms. Only drawback is additional TIVO subscript fees. They don’t have a great multi-unit discount, only a few dollars off the second unit. They are running a promotion thru the holidays. For $400 you can get lifetime on a second service.
    If I have helped you decide to get TIVO, I would love it if you gave me the credit for referring you to TIVO. When you activate with TIVO, enter my email address as a referral. You can get it from my website.
    Also feel free to call me if you have other questions, I live here in Plano.

  61. After I got to item 36 I thought I would give this a rest. But I keep finding new bugs. So we continue:

    37. Had a series set to record a program daily. Worked for a while then one day it did not record. I deleted the series and reselected. Then checked the Scheduled shows and it was not there. When back to the program and the “record” check mark was there. Checked several days in advance. I tried to record individual shows but was told there was a conflict? What conflict? Why? I think there is a problem with the option to record only new episodes. Maybe the series is selected but the episodes are not because the DVR thinks they are repeats. If there is a conflict them me why exactly. If a program is considered a repeat, put that on the screen explicitly. Right now I have to select every program daily to make sure it gets recorded.

    38. Was using the guide when the time shifted to 6 hours in the future. The programs were current, but the time was in the future.

    39. Pressed Info on a recorded program and the date was today, not the date the program was recorded.

    40. Can not protect a program being recorded.

    41. I only have about 15 hours of space. I calculated the sum of all shows and the “time available”. Programs gets deleted around 15 hours consistently.

    42. Sometimes the text at the end of a description in the selected item in the guide wraps around and overlaps the beginning text.

    43. “rapid development cycle methodology??? means no procedures and no quality control. Been in software development 35 years. Been there done that. Do it right, not fast.

    44 No “Slow Mo”.

    I promise to stop at 50. Or 100. Or???

  62. * Deleting a recorded show. I have found that if while watching a recorded show and I want to delete it, I press Info twice and I get a menu with choices like “Stop playing this show” and “Delete this recording.” If I press delete without first stopping it, the show is removed from the DVR listing, but continues to play. Is it reall y gone, freeing up disk space? Or is it just gone from the DVR listing so I can’t see/play it any more?

    * Missing the last 30-60 seconds of shows. We are consistently having shows cut off before the end of the show. There is an option to start 5m before and end 5m after. 12 or 2m would be a good choice here.

    * Series recordings not being recorded. We have missed several favorite shows that were in our series manager, but just didn’t record. There was adequate disk space available. At this point we removed all our series and re-added them. See if this helps.
    In the process I noticed that Series manager allows you to ‘prioritize’ shows over one another. What are they vying for? Disk space? Time slot conflicts?

    * Maximum of 5 episodes per series can be kept? This seems arbitrary. I should be able to keep as much as I want of a given show. There is no accounting for taste or narrow focus of interest. Why put this limitation in there?

  63. Today the system crashed not once,not twice, but three times. For the past three days when we try to turn everything on in the morning, we can’t-it’s frozen up. It repeatedly records a show for four seconds then inexplicably stops. Some shows scheduled to don’t record at all-no error message-just no recording. Recording time is an issue as is deleting programs to make space. Today while one recorded program was playing, we tried to delete one that had just finished.(gun-shy about no space) When we chose the “Yes” option, the whole system shut down loosing the currently recording game in the process. In one day we had four programs mess up in one way or another that we wanted to watch as a recorded show.We never had any of these issues before the “upgrade” so it can’t be blamed on the DVR itself. I’ve had Verizon employees on the phone tell me its a known problem with the Motorola set top box. Where were the problems before the switch over? Wouldn’t Verizon save money and customers if they gave everyone a voucher to buy a TIVO unit?

  64. holley said, “Wouldn’t Verizon save money and customers if they gave everyone a voucher to buy a TIVO unit?”

    yeah but then VZ wouldn’t have their own tollgate they can nickel and dime folks with.

    all the big U.S. comms cripple functionality of their service devices with proprietary firmware — VZ is one of the worst.

    i should have known my FIOS experience would be bad based on my experience being trapped by their cell phone firmware. the phone i use (the LG env) is capable of doing so much more (and does in other parts of the world). some folks have wiped this firmware, hacked into the phone and installed open source software but this looks like an involved process (i’m a coding novice). besides, i would void all warranties on my phone if i were to do so.

    i googled “motorola fios hacks” and apparently people are already looking for alternatives to VZ FIOS’ horrid UI.

  65. The new system is horribly slow. While browsing on-demand menus, after diving down like 10 levels, you finally get to a list of movies and then, as you scroll, the whole thing freezes for 5-10 seconds after every 2-3 items.

    The “magnified row” idea in the main channel guide really sucks. Totally unintuitive unless you are used to viewing everything through a microscope. Plus, you need a microsocpe to see the tiny little tv window they left on the screen.

    I don’t care about a bunch of games or other crap on my cable box. I want to be able to browse the channels to find something to watch. That should be intuitive and simple and responsive. This new system has failed miserably at all three.

  66. Has anyone else noticed that with the new update, the DVR is reporting that you are only able to record approx. 8 hours of HD and 25 hours of SD!? I noticed it and called in to have my box switched out- tech shows up, switches my box, and when he calls to activate is told by the IT guy on the phone that “We know about that bug, it will be fixed with a Dec. firmware update”… Are you KIDDING me!?! And they couldnt tell me that when I called!?

  67. Colin M. Yeah I saw that about the time remaining when I got FIOS TV installed. I called and the lady said she need to a restart of the boxes and to not turn on the box for 30 mins. I went to go eat and when I came back 45 mins later the upstairs box would not turn on. The down stairs box turned on but still had the problem. I called tech support and WAITED ON HOLD FOR TWO HOURS. Finally a tech guy came on the phone never apologized for the long hold time. I then told him the problem with the time for the DVR hours remaining and he said “yeah that is a known issue but you should be able to record longer then the hours it shows. I’ll try and reset the upstairs machine again to see if it comes back on.” Why did one tech person not know about the issue and cause another problem and then another tech person knew of the issue right away. If I didn’t hate the customer service people so much at DirecTv I would go back to them.

  68. The option to switch the secondary AC outlet (on back of the HD DVR) does not work. It’s “hot” all the time, regardless of the setting. I’d like to use it for a TV backlight that isn’t accessible without climbing over furniture.

  69. Recorded the Kansas-Missouri game last night. My son and I tried to watch it this morning. The recording showed that it lasted 3 hours 21 minutes. It worked fine through the middle of the first quarter, when the score was still 0-0. Suddenly, there was a glitch in the video and the score was 21-7 Missouri in the 3rd quarter. The playback progress bar jumped up at the bottom of the screen and seemed to show that it had recorded the whole game, but jumped over about half of it. We went back three times; it jumped to 21-7 every time. As far as the other complaints listed above, I’ve had them all, I hate them all, and I’m switching to Dish Network ASAP.

  70. All I want is to again have the ability to delete channels that I do not want from my lineup! Simple option that the most recent upgrade removed. The service overall BLOWS Comcast out of the water! Though with my new HD TV On Demand movies in HD would be GREAT!

  71. A major problem for anyone fixing software is they need to know what are the “Hotist” items to fix. Having a list of 30, 50 or 100 is pointless without any sense of priority order. Which one do you want fixed first??

    Here Are my top three in priority order:

    1. Provide Delete option on both “Stop” and end of a recording. Hunting for a recording to delete it is very inefficient and frustrating. See 3.

    2. Find cause of and fix random (for me about 3 times a week) shutdowns. This is not heat related as powering back up works straight away and stays on for rest of evening. Also this did not happen prior to new interface.

    3. Have page up and down work everywhere there is a list.

    4. Make up your mind. “Arrow right” or “Ok”. Not sometimes this one and other times that one. Pick one or have both work.

    5. Changing channel when recording two programms gives a message with three options. Cancel, Channel # and Channel #. How is anyone supposed to know what that means?

    How about

    “Changing channel would require canceling a recording”

    Would you like to:

    “Stop changing channel”
    “Stop recording of Man vs Wild”
    “Stop recording of Heros”
    “Check what’s on DVR”
    “Check what’s on OnDemand?”

    Ok that was 5, I couldn’t help myself.

    My wife and kids want Tivo back. They will get it if there are no fixes this side of Christmas. Who needs “OnDemand”? Tivo can download movies from Amazon.

    For those at Verizon supposedly reading, have your programmers look up “Computer Science Orthogonality” in Wikipedia. Then ask them how they want to navigate a list. If they look puzzled look up “list computing”

  72. Ok, in all fairness to Verizon, I have to point out one issue I have with the my S3 Tivo ( for those that don’t remember, I ditched the DVR and forked over the cash for the TIVO ).
    Pete mentioned the Amazon movie downloads, it works great. But here is my BIG issue ??? , after downloading a movie, once you start the movie, you only have 24 hours to complete it. I know some would say so what but with my hectic schedule and a two year old, I am lucky to be able to sit down and watch a movie start to finish.

    I also love the TivoToGo function. I downloaded some of my shows to my laptop and took them with us over Thanksgiving. I also used the Online scheduling to set a few games to record that I had forgotten about before we left the house.

    Hands down, worth every penny

  73. Well, I have to tell you, I live outside Philadelphia, and they must have stopped rolling out the new interface due to all these problems, because I’m still on the old software (and after keeping an eye on this board I’m glad). So at least they recognize that pushing it out to more people is a bad idea. Makes me think they’re taking it seriously.

  74. Verizon: 0, TiVO: 1

    I’ve completely given up on Verizon. I just ordered a TiVO Series 3 Monday and when it shows up I’ll be done with buggy DVR boxes that have half the capacity and delete shows without warning.

  75. I just got the new update for the new img, I now can set reminders, I dont have dvr so i have no clue if any of that changed or not, but the reminders are the only good thing about this 2nd update.
    Now the shows name and part of its info (like what shows up if you were to press ok normally) now shows up whenever a new show starts, it is very pointless and annoying. I dont see any font size change. Now you can go through channels faster in the guide without it getting stuck, but the channel info doesnt change until about 10-15 seconds after you stop. Just change it back to the old one already…

  76. Hi Sarah,

    Where are you located at? I am curious where they are rolling this out, and how did you know that it happened?

  77. I’m in the tampa bay area of Florida. I think they are going to do this for everyone i think by the middle of 2008? i dont remember where i read it at, but apparently they are actully doing SOMETHING which is amazing. Hopefully they fix it a 3rd time…I’m still not happy

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