Tech Update: New Verizon Fios DVR Grows Up and Gets A Face Lift
GreatStuffThatWorks TECH UPDATE:
Verizon’s First Sleek, High Capacity,
UPDATED: 02/28/2012. See FYI-2 at end Re: Front Panel Brightness Option
If you’re like us, HD has made DVR recording a constant decision.
What will we delete, have we cleared it with the family and what’s going to get dumped automatically ’cause its low in the priority list?
In a time when memory has become so low cost that you can buy 3 Terabytes for around $200, for a number of reasons the cable companies have been slow to provide this capability.
Verizon is starting to selectively release their new, black, smaller DVR with triple the capacity using a 500 Gig drive.
This upgrade takes your recording storage from the standard HD DVR (about 20 hrs HD) to about 60 hrs HD. This new box is now also EnergyStar compliant, so it saves power.
But wait, there’s more………..
For those of you that like to hoard even more programs for future viewing, for the first time you can add up to a 1 Terabyte External dSATA capable Drive to this DVR! Verizon currently has certified two sizes of the MyBook external drive by Western Digital, which you buy yourself at additional cost.
Let’s quickly clear the jargon. The MyBook has an eSATA connection, which is just a very high speed interface that allows the computer (in this case your DVR) to read and write data very quickly to an external drive (the MyBook), necessary especially with HD video.
But, there’s a catch.
Due to the piracy fears imposed by the broadcasters (one of the reasons this hasn’t happened before), the information you store on this external drive is NOT transferable to any other device or Even A Replacement DVR of the same brand and type.
So, yes, you can store a whole lot more, but the same rules apply to the external data as do for the internal storage:
You can’t take it with you if your host DVR is ever changed, upgraded or replaced. At least until they create a “secure, locked down” way of preventing the data’s duplication and distribution.
So, whatever you put on the External drive will be inaccessible if the main DVR is replaced for any reason. To reuse the space on the external drive you must reformat the drive to the new DVR.
But let’s not lose sight of the 2 core benefits this new DVR gives you:
Benefit #1: For most, just having the significantly expanded DVR space of the 500 Gig drive alone is probably fine, even if you never opt for an external space extension.
Benefit #2: The new DVR now looks like a partner to your other high tech components. (From the 80’s to the 2000’s in a single leap!)
It’s smaller, all black, with just a few front panel buttons that are attractively integrated into the high gloss, blacked out face.
It’s dimensions are: Height: 3.1 in. Width: 15 in. Depth: 10.2 in. In the menu, you can also configure what displays on the blue illuminated front panel when it’s on or off.
Here’s what you get for connections: (Skip this if you glaze over at technical stuff.)
At the rear left, you get digital and optical audio outputs (usually labeled S/PDIF, for the Sony/Phillips Digital Interconnect Format), Component Video (RGB-Red, Green, Blue connections), S-Video (a round, multi-pin connector that passes only video) and Composite Audio/Video (the yellow connector is for video and the Red (Right) and White (Left) are for Left and Right audio).
Your FIOS cable connection goes to the screw on cable connector highlighted with a Green background, as there are two cable type connections at the back. The other one (highlighted in yellow) is a cable pass through to another device, if you need it. If you hook it up and there’s no picture, check this first.
The connections for the HDMI (High Definition Multimedia Interface) and the external eSATA (Serial Advanced Technology Attachment) drive are on the right rear of the DVR. (see the previous photo.)
End of tech talk.
One ergonomic difference my wife picked up on right away is when you record. They switched from a Red recording indicator, to the small word “Rec” in blue, to the left of the larger channel / time display. Once you know where it is, you can find it, but it is small and not as easy to quickly see. This DVR will still record two different channels at the same time, as you could before.
To get one of these new, currently limited supply DVRs, you have to get on a waiting list.
To save you from confusion and torture, see my FYI-1 at the end of this Tech Update.
I show you the easiest way to get to the sign up list.
It’s inside your Verizon.com account and the only way to get on the list, is to get to this page.
I also show you how to get there manually, in case my link doesn’t work for you. It’s not pretty.
When your name comes up, you’ll get an email telling you how to accept the offer. If you accept, Verizon will tell you when the new DVR is scheduled to arrive.
That’s when you’ll need to decide what to watch and what to ditch in preparation for receiving / swapping for the new box.
Or, here’s another option to consider. You can keep your current DVR also, arrange to swap out one of your Non-DVR HD boxes and pay the rental difference.
Now we all already give Verizon plenty of cash, but depending upon your situation,
this might actually be a reasonable thing to do because,
If the rental cost difference is worth it to you, 3 things happen:
- You have no decisions to make about what shows to ditch before you swap.
- You get to have an additional 20 hrs. of recording capacity on a separate DVR, so you preserve at least some recordings even if one DVR fails in the future.
- Instead of paying for a MyBook’s full cost in one payment, you get to budget the cost of having more “external” storage over time.
And, with the external eSATA option, if your main eSATA capable DVR goes out, you lose access to all of your shows on both drives simultaneously. At least with option B, you lose only the recordings on one DVR, and if either rented DVR fails, Verizon replaces it for free. You own the MyBook.
Here’s where the this idea really gets flexible.
With the new upgraded software, if you have the Multi-Room media option, it will now allow you to access and delete shows recorded on either DVR from any Verizon Fios cable box in your home. Hallelujah, technology marches on.
If you want to upgrade to the Multi-Room capability, my suggestion is to Call Verizon Fios at: 1-800-837 4966 and see if there are any specials that might offset the extra cost. Always worth checking, but you should do that direct.
The cost for the new DVR upgrade is a one time cost of $39.99, billed to your account.
Verizon confirmed that there are no other charges to upgrade to the 21st century.
Now where’s my remote?
FYI-1: Here are 2 ways to get to the sign up page so you are in cue to get your new large capacity DVR:
The Simple Way: (Having already cut through the forest for you.)
1. After you have read through step 2, Click on or Copy and paste the link in step 2 into your internet browser bar at the top of your screen. Hit return.
(Full disclosure, there is no compensation to me connected to this link or from Verizon for any of this. It’s just to help you avoid getting lost.)
2. When you arrive at the MyDVR page, you will see a picture of the new DVR,
But the Ad that displays it is only for ordering the Multi-room capability.
DO NOT CLICK ON THE “Order Now” button or you will get lost.
Instead, LOOK TO THE RIGHT for a “SIGN IN NOW” box. Click on it and sign into your account.
As soon as you complete the sign in, you should arrive at this DVR Expansion “Sign Up” page to get on the 500 Gig DVR cue list.
Here’s the link to take you there:
(You’ll need your Verizon.com User ID and Password to do this. You will have the option to create one if you don’t have one currently or retrieve them if you have forgotten them. Tip: Do this from your home, as the fasted way to get the Password/ID retrieval info is an automated call they will make immediately only to your home telephone during the retrieval process.)
Complete your name and email address and click send. Verizon will email you when you come up on the cue and will provide final instructions to order it, confirm the $39.99 one time cost and the shipping time.
Save the box it arrives in, as that’s the box you use to return the equipment you’re swapping out.
Or, if the first method doesn’t work, here’s the hidden path to get on the new DVR shipment list.
1. Log In To your account at www.verizon.com.
2. When logged in, check to be sure it says “Welcome, (your name)” at the top Right of the page. If you don’t see your name after the word Welcome, click Sign Out and log in again, so your name appears.
3. On the Red tabs at the top of the page Click On the “Entertainment” tab.
4. Now below the top Red tabs are a set of Grey navigation tabs. Look beneath them, in smaller print, and Click “Settings“,then in the drop down sub menu,Click “Set Top Boxes”
5,On the Right of your screen there will be an Ad that says “Want more from your FIOS DVR?”
You Have Arrived at the sign up box! (Now wasn’t that easy???)
FYI-2: One of our subscribers wrote me to say the front display was too bright for them to sleep with. Well, here’s a solution. (no, it’s not putting black tape over the display.)
If the FRONT DISPLAY is too bright, or you just want to save a little electricity, this DVR gives you the option to shut off all the front panel display lights when it’s in standby, ie. when you’re not watching TV. (the display comes back on the moment you turn it’s power back on.)
Here’s how you change the setting:
Using the Verizon DVR’s remote:
1.Press the Menu button
2.Scroll down screen to “Settings”, Press “OK” button.
3.Scroll down to “Set Top Box”
4. Scroll RIGHT to “Front Display”
5.Scroll Down to “Standby Front Display”
6. Scroll RIGHT to “Turn Display Off”
7.Press “OK” button to Check “Turn Display Off” option
8. Press “Exit” button.
Now when you turn off your Set Top Box, the sleek front display goes completely Black. As soon as you turn on your DVR, it illuminates. This setting will also work for your other HD and SD set top boxes.
One more tip: When you are Watching TV, if you want the display to always show you the channel or go to the time after you’ve selected a channel, use the same process described above and just stop at “Front Display”, scroll right and choose between “Show Time” or “Show Clock.”
FYI-3: Here’s the Technical Installation Manual for the QIP 7232 P2 DVR for you techies. This is a hardware installation manual, not a user’s manual.