* Verizon FiOS TV Problems

How to spoil a movie night in one easy step.

Last night, my wife and I decided to watch a movie using Verizon FiOS TV’s video-on-demand (VOD) feature. About an hour into the movie, the audio started breaking up and the video started pixelating. Then this error message appeared:

Error
A problem has occurred with your request. Please ensure that the wires are securely connected to your set-top box. If you continue to experience problems please contact Verizon at (888)553-1555 and specify code (CL-14).”

Yes, happy Valentine’s Day to you too, Verizon. My wife had fallen asleep on the sofa, so I put on some soft music and used the opportunity to help Verizon debug their problem. I’m such a nice consumer.

Incidentally, in the old days, area codes were optional for local calls, which is why they were put in parenthesis. Most area codes are no longer optional, and toll-free area codes never were, so let’s all agree never ever to put area codes in parenthesis again. Mmm-kay?

I called Verizon and waited 18 minutes on hold before getting to speak to somebody. While on hold, I did what every TV consumer would do in the same situation. (No, not go to the bathroom.) I went to the basement, restarted the broadband router (being sure to leave it off for about 20 seconds), came back upstairs, restarted the cable box (ditto), and tried to access VOD again. No luck, same error message. One variant of the error message simply referred to “Error 14” and didn’t include a phone number.

Guess what the Verizon representative suggested? Yup, restarting the router and cable box. So we did, same results.

“Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”
– Albert Einstein

At this point, my romantic Valentine’s Day evening was toast. Maybe the V-Day Blizzard of ’07 had knocked out a Verizon server? Maybe VOD was getting hammered by all the romantic couples in New England? I asked the Verizon rep where he was. California.

I was on the phone with Verizon for 55 minutes and they were not able to solve the problem. We verified that FiOS Internet service worked fine, Verizon TV worked fine, everything worked except VOD. Sounds like a Verizon VOD server issue to me. Or maybe I was just imagining the problem. Could be either.

I had to ask the rep what Verizon was going to do to make this very patient customer whole. (Hint #1: good companies take the initiative to make their customers happy and actually have their own ideas about how to do this. Hint #2: keeping customers on the phone for 55 minutes to debug a 2-hour movie and then offering no compensation isn’t one of those good ideas.) He asked me to call back and check on the trouble ticket. After my prompting, he said that he’d ask his supervisor about giving a week of service credit (whatever that means). I explained that I had invested 55 minutes of my life on this and was not investing any more time. I said that they could email me to close out the matter. The Verizon rep said he had no means to send email to me. (They should try Verizon FiOS Internet service in California.) “Humor me,” I said, “and enter my email address in the file.” He did. I’m not holding my breath.

Verizon is making Apple TV look better every day.

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139 Replies to “* Verizon FiOS TV Problems”

  1. Well – I’m not crazy after all. Others are experiencing the same problem I have – pixelation when accessing on demand. Tech support tries to be helpful but I find it laughable that I had to explain (in vain) to two different support reps what pixelation was. On the whole we have been very satisfied with the bundle we received. On demand is the only piece not working as advertised. You’d think it would behoove them to fix this because it equates to $$$ in their pocket. My suggestion to others with FIOS – before paying for on demand movies first check out their free on demand offerings. If your picture is pixelating on the free stuff rest assured it will do the same for the on demand you pay for. Now – off to Netflix !

  2. We’ve had internet with FiOS for a couple of years. I jumped on the chance to get TV when it was finally available. I’ve had a few issues.

    1) Two remotes have died in the first two months. The first remote took two weeks to get. The second one is going on three weeks. They just spontaneously quit working. In both cases, all the LEDs on the remote lit up. I disconnected the battery on the first remote, put it back in, and nothing happened at all. It’s completely dead. The second keeps all the LEDs lit up, even after replacing the battery. I pointed it at my camcorder and saw that the IR is always on. I thought it might be a stuck button, but the good remote pulses the IR.

    2) We haven’t heard a peep about our $100 gift card we were supposed to get.

    3) The receivers cache the remote presses. So, if you hit the skip button, don’t get an immediate response, then hit it a few more times, when the box finally starts processing IR signals, it jumps ahead like mad.

    4) My DirecTivo let you switch between tuners, with each tuner having recorded the last 30 minutes of programming. So, I could pause when a commercial starts, jump to the second show I was watching, resume and skip commercials, pause that, jump back to the first, etc.

    The Verizon DVR automatically records the last 1 1/2 hours, but it only records when it’s powered on (even though the drive continues to spin, so I’m not sure why it’s not recording), and it only lets you rewind on a single tuner, not both (though it can record two shows simultaneously).

    5) If you’re fast-forwarding, then hit pause, you can’t frame advance without first hitting play, then hitting pause again. This is a somewhat annoying bug.

    6) You can’t tell it to record a show, no matter when it’s on and no matter what channel it’s on. You have to set up a schedule for each channel a show might be on. Family Guy is an example of a show you’d want to record on both Fox and Cartoon Network, since they’re different episodes.

    7) It frequently records repeats as “new.” I suppose it’s better than skipping new shows that it thinks are repeats, but still annoying.

    8) The installer hooked the DVR up to our plasma TV using the composite inputs, then tried to tell my wife that the reason it didn’t look any better was because the movie she was watching was too old. I had to re-connect it to the component input. I would think that if he didn’t want to give up an HDMI cable, that he’d at least use some component cables.

    9) The installer used all my old cables to connect to our TVs, including the power cable that was connected to our old DirecTivo. Some of these cables aren’t exactly in stellar condition.

    10) The box is very slow responding to commands at times.

    Overall, it’s not bad. I like the picture quality and HD selection for the price. Most of the problems are minor. #8 is serious, but it’s forgivable. #9 is pretty bad, since cable and satellite both give you new cables when you subscribe to their service. It’s one of the perks of getting new service.

    #1 is a major, major problem. When I had a satellite box start overheating, DirecTV sent out a new one overnight. Taking 2 to 3 weeks to get a replacement remote is unacceptable customer service. If Verizon wants to compete with satellite and cable, they need to make sure any equipment problems are fixed immediately.


    Troy

  3. Just installed Fios TV 2 days ago…what a disappointment compared to the Comcast HD service I had for a year. Comcast offers a vast amount of High Def content on their On Demand Service, while Verizon Fios TV offers none! Not even the pay-per-view movies are offered in HD. Comcast offers loads of HBO, Showtime, Starz High Def On Demand…Verizon none. I just spent hours on the phone with Verizon and most of their agents know little about HD.

    I also think the HD picture quality on Comcast is superior and I am seriously thinking of switching back to Comcast…what a disappointment.

  4. I have all 3 of their services and have been having trouble with no picture on the tv. they keep saying the will fix it from the central office. Well comeon Verizon fix it already. Tjink they put this out on the market before they were capable of handling it.

  5. We are having the same problem with our TV in the family room. When ever we try to watch any On Demand we get pixalation. We have had at tech come out 3 times. The 1st 2 times they replaced the splitter and it worked. Then within a couple days it would start again. The TV upstairs has no problems. Today a tech came out and said its the cable leading to the tv (which was installed with the house 14 years ago). Told my wife he was just a tech and we need to call and have an installer come to run new cable. Other than this problem we have really enjoyed FIOS TV.

  6. Robin, I’ve had the same problem with my security system — an APEX system. What brand/model are you using? It is clear that the FIOS digital-to-analog converter that is installed in our homes does not replicate the signal processing that was present in the earlier analog system, Verizon’s representations notwithstanding.

  7. Verizon FiOS is an incredible offer by combining cable tv and high speed internet service. Of course there will always be kinks to be fixed, but these problems are negligible compared to the benefits recieved from the FiOS services. It’s Verizon, a reputable company, they’ll get it done sooner or later.

  8. We had FIOS installed in Feb. 2007 by Verizon. It has been a hassle and a real time-waster. We had internet connectivity problems that required hours of time on the phone with tech support to be resolved. Ultimately, they came to our home to fix the problem, which is what I knew was needed all along.

    A few weeks following the installation, we learned that our burglar alarm system became disconnected. No one from Verizon bothered to mention that this would happen. We asked Verizon to re-connect it but they refused, stating that is isn’t their responsibility and they don’t want the “liability.” Meanwhile, my alarm provider says he has problems getting his system to work with FIOS but will give it a try.

    We haven’t signed up for TV service through Verizon FIOS but are in no hurry to given the problems we are already having!

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