Thursday, July 16, 2009

Verizon Adds Internet Capabilities to FiOS TV

Verizon has added the ability to access certain Internet applications and websites on its FiOS TV IPTV service. It added what it calls its Widget Bazaar applications marketplace, located within FiOS TV's Interactive Media Guide, with free Facebook, Twitter and ESPN Fantasy Football Widgets.

With the Twitter Widget, FiOS TV subscribers can follow Tweets related specifically to the program, movie or sporting event they are watching. They also can select from a list of top topics to view Tweets associated with today's hottest topics and trends, search for specific Tweets, and create and save a favorite-topics list.

FiOS TV subscribers with Facebook accounts can log in to Facebook through the FiOS TV Widget to update their Facebook status with messages about what they're watching, view their own photos, and view their friends' photos and status updates.

The ESPN Fantasy Football Widget provides on-screen access to personalized ESPN Fantasy Football points and football statistics, including rosters, box scores, scoring leaders and player information. All the information is available, at no additional charge, for FiOS TV customers who are registered ESPN Fantasy Football players.

Verizon will add to the FiOS TV Widget Bazaar additional free and transactional applications developed by the company and others. It will publish its Software Development Kit (SDK) to enable open development. The open development platform will enable developers to publish applications to the more than 7 million interactive set-top devices in FiOS TV homes.

Later this month, customers who subscribe to the Home Media DVR service will be able to search and view on FiOS TV user generated online videos from video-sharing sites, Dailymotion, and Veoh. In addition, a new My Videos feature will let these subscribers view via FiOS TV personal videos stored on their PCs.

Verizon has put a page on its website that contains more information about these features.

This is a good start at providing access to Internet applications by Verizon. It is starting to make good use of the IP capabilities of its FiOS TV service. Verizon was able to move in this new direction because it now has taken over the development and maintenance of its middleware software. Other IPTV providers will follow Verizon's example.