So our Verizon FiOS home bill has been about $160/month. We were looking to chop that down a bit when I called Verizon this morning.
To put it as simply as possible, it’s complicated.
What I care about most is keeping the 20/20Mbps down/up Internet service. That’s $69.99/mo.
What I don’t care about is POTS, or Plain Old Telephone Service. So I canceled that. We use cell phones, and we’ll find another way to fax, as rarely as we do that.
That leaves TV.
What we still call TV isn’t what it used to be: channels on a dial. They are digital program sources that are organized by “channels”, but that’s a legacy convenience. A few are available over the air, as DTV signals. Those are…
- WGBH-DT (still called Channel 2, actually on Channel 19). It also has an SD (standard definition) version. These are called 2-1 and 2-2, or WGBG-DT1 and WGBH-DT2. Affiliated with PBS.
- WBZ-DT (still called Channel 4, actually on Channel 30). Affiliated with CBS.
- WCVB-DT (Still called Channel 5, actually on Channel 20). Affliiated with ABC.
- WHDH-HD (still called Channel 7, actually on Channel 40). Also called 7-1, It has a second channel on 7-2 called This TV. It’s SD. Affiliated with NBC.
- WFXT-DT (still called 25, actually on Channel 31). Affiliated with Fox.
- WSBK-DT (still called 38, actually on Channel 39). Independent. Owned by CBS.
- WGBX-DT (still called 44, actually on Channel 43). Four SD channels, labeled 44-1 through 44-2. Called WGBX, World, Create and Kids. Affiliated with PBS.
- WYDN-DT (still called 48, actually on Channel 47) with a directional signal). The picture is SD. Affiliated with Daystar. Evangelical Christian.
- WLVI-DT (still called 56, actually on Channel 42 with a directional signal). Affiliated with CW.
- WMFP-DT (still called 62, actually on Channel 18 with a directional signal). Labeled 61-1 and 62-2. The second is currently dark. Affiliated with Gems TV. Home shopping.
- WBPX (still called 68, actually on Channel 32, with a directional signal). It’s four channels in one, all SD: WBPX Digital Television, Qubo, Eye on Life and Worship. Identified on the tuner as 68-1, 2, 3 and 4. Affiliated with ION Television.
For what it’s worth, I get all those on my laptop with a little adapter. Meaning that I don’t need cable for them. They’re free. They cost $0.00.
Okay, so Verizon offers two channel lineups in our region: Essentials for $47.99/mo. and Extreme HD for… I can’t find it now. $57.99/mo, I think. Essentials has the about same minimun channel line-up I get for free over the air. Extreme HD has what you want if you watch in HD: all the main cable and sports non-premium channels. Add DVR rental (for which one has no choice) for $12.99 and I’m at $140 or so, if I want the Extreme HD.
TV now is an HD deal. If you want TV, you want HD, because that’s the new screen you’ve got, even if you’re watching on a laptop.
The problem is, HDTV costs you. Unless you want the minimal legacy lineup of local over the air channels.
Anyway, here’s what I want: a la carte. Across the board. I’m glad to do Pay Per View for everything.
And right now I’m thinking hard about cancelling the Extreme HD I just ordered. We like the sports and the movies, but we can go to a bar for the former and get the rest from Netflix or something.
Meanwhile, kudos to Verizon for providing fiber, and the 20/20 connection. Here’s another message: I’d gladly pay more for even more speed. Especially upstream.
[Later…] Now I’m looking at the Verizon Massachusetts channel lineup and it seems like the only thing extra I get with Extreme HD is some sports channels. Is that right? Sports-wise, all I care about are NESN, ESPN, TNT and other Usual Suspects.