We began noticing something was amiss a few months ago.
It started with the audio while watching dinnertime reruns of Last Man Standing on channel 510 (WLNY/55). I shrugged it off as a glitch in the matrix and went back to my salmon.
A few days later, while watching The King of Queens on the same station, it was noticeable again. I checked different TVs and experienced the same annoying audio issues. My first thought was WLNY might be having some problems and never gave it a second thought.
A week or so later, the audio issues became more frequent and channel 510 became unwatchable. I wasn’t experiencing those issues on other networks, so it certainly wasn’t worth waiting two hours on hold with Verizon.
That’s when the video issues started.
Different channels were occasionally showing pixilated lines. Again, I dismissed it as a random issue with the movie we purchased on demand but made a mental note to call Verizon if it got worse.
It got worse.
Suddenly, most of the broadcast networks (NBC, FOX, ABC, etc.) had both video and audio problems, becoming unwatchable. Now we have a problem. Without access to PIX 11, I can’t watch The Honeymooners on Saturdays. With Sunday afternoon football on the horizon and the Islanders still making a run at the Stanley Cup (with games on NBC), I will need those channels.
I sucked it up and made the call on Friday afternoon.
Thanks to the recent pandemic, the recording informed me they were experiencing longer than usual wait times to speak with a “representative.” It would be at least an hour, so I took the option of having a callback when they were ready.
The service rep was pleasant and apologetic, immediately diagnosing the problem and scheduling a technician to visit my home. Unfortunately, the earliest he could get a technician was on Tuesday. That was a bummer, but it’s my own fault for waiting so long to make the call. It looked for all the world like I was going out on Sunday to watch football.
Then I got a text later Friday evening indicating a technician was available on Saturday between 1 and 3 p.m. Imagine that? Next day service. I tempered my optimism until someone actually showed up.
By 1:30, my technician “Pete” showed up.
He quickly diagnosed the problem was the main box outside the house. Pete replaced the outdated box, installed a new battery backup system, replaced my ancient splitter and put new ends on all my cable connections. He was one of the nicest, most pleasant people I had ever encountered. Pete made sure everything was working correctly and seemed devastated when he found out the landline telephone was not working.
While waiting patiently for headquarters to fix the telephone issue, we chatted about our families, work, the pandemic and just about anything else. He refused to leave until they fixed the problem. I finally insisted he go home and enjoy the rest of the quickly fading weekend. We were just waiting for someone else to resolve the issue anyway.
Pete insisted on exchanging cell numbers, instructing me to call him, “Even if it’s two in the morning.” I assured him I would not be calling him at 2 a.m. for any reason. He did keep me updated and returned personally to repair the phone issue.
On Sunday afternoon, I sat down to enjoy my sports Sunday with full audio and gorgeous images. Too bad all three of the games I watched turned out to be losers. The Jets, Islanders and Mets all lost without a single video or audio glitch on my TV.
I’ve heard nightmare stories from FIOS customers and experienced my share of frustrating experiences with them. This time, however, they did me a solid, so thanks to Pete and FIOS for their quick response.
Now, I wonder if Pete can catch a football, throw a baseball or put the puck in the back of the net…
Paul DiSclafani, a Massapequa resident, is a Press Club of Long Island award-winning columnist (2018, 2020) and an Anton Media Group contributor since 2016.