Of all the house-related things that broke this winter, by far the most alarming was the 36″ RCA in the living room. As my wife is fond of pointing out it was replaced first despite 15 feet of fallen fence and an inoperable oven. I know where my priorities lie and I’m OK with that. Anyway, I replaced Big Grey with a Sony Bravia 46″ LCD and soon discovered that DirecTV’s signal looks horrible on it – much worse than with the old TV. Some research confirmed that DirecTV and most cableco’s compress the video signal an ungodly amount, and it only appears acceptable on CRT sets because their native resolution is so low.
What, then, is a technophile with misplaced priorities to do? My answer turned out to be Verizon’s FiOS service – fiber to the premises. Not only can they send uncompressed video down the pipe, they also have crazy fast 15 megabit internet access. All for the same amount I was paying to DirecTV and Time Warner.
It’s been about 2 months now and I still love FiOS. The only problem I’ve had is, strangely enough, the same problem I had with satellite – airplanes. I live a few miles north of one of DFW airport’s busiest runways. When the wind is out of the south airliners pass right over the house at about 4000 feet. The fraction of a second that they cut off the satellite signal was enough to cause a 2 or 3 second jitter in the signal. Nothing tragic, but annoying. And now I’m finding the same problem to a lesser degree with FiOS. About 1 or 2 seconds after a jet flies over, the signal degrades momentarily.
The only explanation I can think of is that Verizon’s satellite facility must be somewhere nearby and is also in line with the runway. I called about it once and I’m pretty sure the guy thought I was crazy. He said they haven’t had any other complaints about it, so either it’s localized to me alone or I’m just the only one to have made the airplane connection so far.
What got me thinking about FiOS in the first place was this article about FiOS customers getting access to Revver clips. TV and the internet have been eyeing each other for years, but to me this is a big step towards fulfilling the prediction that they’ll eventually merge.