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Netflix, Verizon FiOS and (More) Utter Helplessness

Netflix

I pay Verizon FiOS about $163 a month for internet and TV service. I’ve been a Netflix customer for close to six years now. Yet even with my financial loyalty to both of these companies, I can’t watch a movie on Netflix while I eat dinner. Thanks, net neutrality!

Okay, to be fair, I can watch a movie on Netflix at dinner, but the quality’s nowhere near it should be. And it’s not like I’m not complaining about “only” getting a 720p stream; I’m complaining because the stream quality during peak hours is so bad that I can’t even read text on screen. Forget movies with subtitles! Forget TV shows that you need to carefully watch to pick up on small details!

I realize this isn’t the end of the world – it’s just Netflix. I still have blazing internet to download or stream movies from other sites, along with all the hundreds of channels I get from FiOS (that basically go unwatched). But when there’s a tech problem out of my control, it’s hard for me to let it go. I zero in on the problem and obsess over it.

It’s not clear who’s at fault here. Netflix says it’s Verizon; Verizon says it’s Netflix. I think it’s fair to say both sides have ways to make the situation better, but neither is doing anything about it. Instead of helping both of their customer bases, they’re waiting for the other to cave. Meanwhile, people like me are sitting here, watching our streaming quality dip another 17 percent last month.

There isn’t much I can do but wait out the storm. I’m not really upset with either side – my FiOS connection is killer in all other regards, and when Netflix works, its streaming library is unparalleled. Both services are great, and I’d easily recommend either on their own – as long as aren’t using both at the same time. It’s times like these that make me realize just how insignificant I am in the bigger picture.

Until one side caves, I’ll have to keep waiting – and keep watching Netflix at 8am and 11pm.

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More Stories By Shelly Palmer

Shelly Palmer is the host of NBC Universal’s Live Digital with Shelly Palmer, a weekly half-hour television show about living and working in a digital world. He is Fox 5′s (WNYW-TV New York) Tech Expert and the host of United Stations Radio Network’s, MediaBytes, a daily syndicated radio report that features insightful commentary and a unique insiders take on the biggest stories in technology, media, and entertainment.