Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Verizon FiOS: Tiling Be Gone!

In my last entry, I reported some lingering and persistent trouble with "tiling" with my new Verizon FiOS TV service. Well, I'm happy to report the trouble has been resolved.

I began to have intermittent trouble with the DVR/set-top box. Once, maybe twice a day, the box would "lock up." The only way around these spells was to physically detach the power cord from the Motorola box, then re-attach the cord and wait out the power cycle. Needless to say this was annoying behavior, and a call to Verizon FiOS Tech Support ensued.

Tech Support sent a hard reset command to the box remotely, but instead of completing the boot process, the box died with an error code (not translated, unfortunately). The tech on the phone scheduled a service call for the first day I was available, and saved me from total TV boredom by explaining I could get basic cable channels by moving the coax from the set-top box directly to the antenna/cable input on my TV.

The Experienced Technician

On the designated date and time, the technician arrived, supposedly to swap the set-top box. I scratched my head a bit when he started buckling on his tool belt. After all, I thought, how many tools would he need to exchange a defective set-top box? My inquiry on the subject drew a satisfying answer.

"I don't take anything for granted," he replied. "The problem may be your set-top box, but it may be something else."

I described the previous tech's exercise with attenuators, which drew a scoff from the tech. A few minutes with the meter, and the tech pronounced my signal to be at the ideal strength without the attenuators (which he handily removed). He then replaced the set-top box as planned, re-initialized and activated it, and waited for it to boot.

It failed to boot properly, stopping on a very permanently tiled display.

The tech eyed the cable from the wall. The very yellowed cable. The cable that had been installed by the home's previous owners, more than 15 years before. The cable used by the FiOS installer, apparently to avoid having to re-cable my home.

The tech then traced that suspicious length of cable to where it joined with the new cable that had been installed when FiOS was installed. Muttering something under his breath, likely about the installer I'm guessing, the tech went to his truck. Out came the spool of coax and his stepladder. In a few short minutes, the old, yellowed cable was gone, and shiny, white cable completed the run from the line splitter to the set-top box.

The set-top box was rebooted, and the TV's normal picture returned.

We haven't seen the tiling since!


Since writing about my Verizon FiOS installation, that story has become one of the heaviest read pieces in this series. I'd like to answer questions, but I actually need to determine what the questions are before I can answer them. Please post your comments and questions to the blog, so I can share your questions and their answers with my readers. I'll continue to share some of the more interesting aspects of my Verizon FiOS installation in future blogs.

And for those who are wondering, I did manage to get a job, though oddly enough it wasn't in the technology field. I'm in a retail management position, now, and may talk more about it in the future. And I'm still encouraging visits to Your World News, as you might expect.

Now I'm off to see what Bocona has recorded on the DVR these days ...