Verizon Demo's iPad App, Cloud-Based Storage Offering, Multiplatform VOD Service

Verizon Unveils iPad App that Displays Live TV Channels

--Adds "Auto Correct" Capability to its Interactive TV In-Home Agent Service

At a press event, Wednesday, Verizon demo'd a new application, dubbed "What's Hot," that will bring live TV channels from its FiOS TV service to the Apple iPad. The app, which will be offered at no extra charge, features a multiscreen mosaic interface that includes thumbnail videos of 12 channels: which 12 channels a FiOS TV subscriber sees displayed on the app will be determined by which channels are popular in that subscriber's local area at any one time. Subscribers can, of course, tap on any of the 12 thumbnail channels to watch it in full-screen mode. Other features of the app include the ability to sort programming offerings by genre. (Note: a video of the app, which was shot by technology journalist, Steve Donohue, is embedded above.)
 
Initially, the app--which is scheduled to launch commercially early next year, once Verizon has secured approval for it from its various FiOS TV programming partners--will work only inside the subscriber's home, as the company expects that this restriction will make it easier for it to convince content providers to sign up to support the app. However, the ultimate goal is to enable it to let customers watch FiOS TV channels outside the home via WiFi. According to Verizon CIO, Shaygan Kheradpir--who stated that technical development work on the app is complete--the company plans to roll out versions for other tablet devices, including devices based on the Android operating system, in the future.

Verizon's new iPad app is the latest in a series of apps for the Apple tablet device that have been announced by major US pay-TV providers this year: At the NCTA Cable Show, Comcast demo'd its Xfinity Remote app for the iPad and other IP-enabled devices (see the article published on itvt.com, May 12th); during Cablevision's most recent earnings conference call, the company's COO, Tom Rutledge, revealed that it is developing IP video applications that will allow customers to view its programming on the iPad, smartphones and other connected devices, and that will also allow customers to navigate through content on their TV sets (see the article published on itvt.com, August 9th); earlier this month, DISH Network announced the launch of an iPad version of the DISH Remote Access app (see the article published on itvt.com, August 9th); and last week, Time Warner Cable announced that it is developing an iPad application that will serve as an EPG and a remote control/DVR scheduler, and eventually as a platform for social/interactive TV, personalization features, and "TV Everywhere" services (see the article published on itvt.com, August 12th).

Verizon also unveiled a number of other new services for FiOS TV at its press event Wednesday, including:

  • A new version of its Media Manager service that will initially allow subscribers to store in the cloud 70GB of videos and other media, which they will then be able to access through the TV, PC's and mobiles (h/t Ryan Lawler, NewTeeVee).
  • A service, slated to launch in Q4, which will allow subscribers to watch VOD content, that they rent or buy on FiOS TV or Verizon's Web site, on up to five different TV's, PC's, laptops or mobiles. At launch, Verizon says, the service, which will be offered at no extra charge, will support the BlackBerry Storm, the Droid 2 and Droid X, and any Windows Mobile 6.5 handset. iPhone and iPad versions are slated to roll out at a later date.


Separately, in a posting on its corporate blog, Wednesday, Verizon announced that it has added a new "Auto Correction" capability to its interactive TV customer self-help tool, In-Home Agent (located within the FiOS TV Interactive Media Guide). "The latest enhancement to the In-Home Agent service allows our customers to give one or more of their set-top boxes a 'jump start' right from the In-Home Agent service section of the IMG," Verizon's blog posting explained. "After selecting 'STB Auto Correction,' customers see a list of the set-top boxes installed in their home. From here, you can select one or more STB's using the FiOS TV remote control. What's cool is that Auto Correction can be performed on any of your set-top boxes from any other set-top box. Correct an issue in the living room from the bedroom, or the bedroom from the den. Once you've confirmed the selections, the In-Home Agent reprograms then restarts each of the selected STB's. In a matter of minutes, without making a phone call or leaving your easy chair, your set-top boxes are back in business--and so are you."

Region: 
North America