The great Fios Saga Part 3

(Or third strike and I’m SOL?)-warning long and still ranting

For those who frequent the other forums you may have seen my prior posts. It started here with my switching to Verizon Fios and all the issues that entailed, and continued here as I attempted to improve my DVR storage. Here is part 3:

When last we met, I had called Verizon back because I had taped one 3-hour show on my DVR and it showed 3% storage used and only 81 hours left, when I had been promised 200 hours of HD (1000 hours of SD) storage. I enquired about buying extra storage (or using an e-SATA) and was informed that external storage was not available on their devices. However, I managed to get a helpful agent! who informed me that I should have had premium DVR service instead of enhanced DVR service, which was only $20 more monthly (of course). However, this service came with 2 set-top boxes so I would save $10 monthly on one of the boxes and she managed to find me two extra discounts yielding $30 monthly for the first year, so it ended up being cheaper. I could exchange the boxes easily at my local Verizon Fios store.

The exchange was made, only to get home and find that the new box had HDMI, component and composite connectors while the TV only had an old-fashioned RF channel 3 coaxial input. I called tech support who told me to buy a new TV. Unhappy with that answer, I went to Amazon and for about $12 purchased a composite to coaxial RF modulator. It arrived yesterday and I went home to hook up the set.

The instructions said it might take up to 15 minutes to autoload, but after about 20 I called Verizon tech support, who tried resetting the box without help. For the next hour we tried rebooting the box multiple times, rebooting the router, redoing all the connections, reversing the direction of the composite plugs, and pressing menu multiple times on the remote (his idea), all with no luck and no picture on the TV although I occasionally got static. He had basically concluded that perhaps the box was defective when we decided to try it in place of the other box on my good TV upstairs. We hooked it up and again there was no signal. We tried rebooting it multiple time, and hitting the menu button multiple times and we actually got the box to show the time. However, there was still no signal to the television. He said there was nothing else he could do so I asked him to wait while I hooked up the old set to make sure that it at least was working. When I went to do that, I found that the HDMI cable was not entirely plugged in:smack:. I fixed it and we had a working set. It then asked to input information from the original DVR which the tech said to do. We hit OK and the screen read loading…. He said it could take 15 minutes to input the information. After about 15 minutes, I told him that it did not seem to be loading anything and asked how it could input data from the other box which was currently sitting on the floor unhooked:smack::smack:. He informed me to cancel the input and we checked that the box was working. All functions seemed fine, so we decided to try to hook it up downstairs again. We put back the old box which was working fine.

Downstairs I went with the new box and hooked it up again and again no picture. However, this time we did seem to get the box to work and show the correct time, but still no signal. Using what I had learned, I double checked all the connections to make sure they were tight and still nothing. At this point he told me that it was not the box and that I should buy a new TV. I asked if perhaps the cables could be bad (although they had never been used they were several years old) or if there could be a problem with the RF modulator. He agreed that there could be a problem and I asked whether it would not be cheaper to try to get new cables rather than an entire new TV. At this point he was so frustrated that I told him I would let him go and sleep on it (since it had been over 2 hours) and I hung up.

I wasn’t about to let it go that easily, however, now that we had shown that the box was working and I knew that the TV was working. I realized that I could test the cables upstairs on the working TV/box combo so off I went with the composite cables to try them upstairs instead of the HDMI cables. Everything worked great, which narrowed my problem down to the RF modulator. I decided to recheck the connections. Now this modulator could be set for channel 3 or 4 with two coaxial plugs, one on the 3-side and one on the 4-side. I had it hooked up on the 3-side but had tried moving the switch to 4 and tuning the TV to channel 4 without help. I had also tried hooking up the cable on the 4-side with the switch on 4 and the TV on 4 without help. However, I once again took a closer look at the stupid thing and realized that there were labels beneath each jack, with the left one saying “ANT IN” and right “To TV”. What I needed to do was to hook up my cable from what I was labeling the 4-side with the switch and TV on channel 3, which was the one configuration I had not tried!:smack::smack::smack: I tried this and the television worked. In fact, everything worked except the DVR. When I tried to access the DVR, it told me I needed to upgrade my service (which is what I had done to start this latest mess). We had also gotten this message when trying to hook up this set at the upstairs site but I could not recall how we fixed it (or how we got to the input data from other DVR) screen. At that point, I realized I would be late for work if I did not go to sleep so I quit figuring I at least had fully functioning TV and on demand in both sites and a fully-functioning DVR upstairs.

Today, when I get home, I may take another crack at the Verizon techs, although I suspect they will again tell me to buy a new TV and or press the menu button again.
Incidentally, I am NOT buying a new TV! this one is perfectly good and I have proven that it works with this box so stop telling me to buy a new one!

Anyway, tldr: I am an idiot who cannot read instructions and the only way to fix a Fios set-top box that is malfunctioning is apparently to either press the menu button on the remote until the lettering wears off or to buy a new TV.