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Cable Technology Feature Article

November 11, 2010

Verizon's FiOS TV Taking Triple Play to Triple Screen

By Hans Lewis, TMCnet Contributor

With the introduction of Flex View, Verizon (News - Alert) is giving its FiOS (News - Alert) TV customers anywhere, anytime access to on-demand video entertainment. Flex View enhances FiOS TV Video on Demand to let customers take video programming outside of the home and view it on various portable devices, including a growing number of compatible smartphones, tablets and laptops. The new feature is now available to most FiOS subscribers and will be in all FiOS markets by the end of the month.

Shawn Strickland, vice president of consumer strategy and planning for Verizon, said, "Verizon is taking the triple play to the triple screen, making on-the-go video programming quick and easy. This is a valuable extension of our FiOS TV VOD service, enabling customers to rent or purchase video programming and enjoy it anytime, anywhere, even outside of Verizon service areas. On planes, trains and automobiles; in hotel rooms and waiting rooms; at work or at play, Verizon's new Flex View capability puts video content at customers' fingertips."

With more than 1,400 currently available movie titles, which are expected to grow to more than 2,000 titles by year-end and at least triple that by next year, including TV shows. Customers can enjoy the ease of watching their favorite titles anytime, anywhere. 

Unlike typical streaming services, Flex View lets users download titles to computers and smartphones so users can watch even when there is no Internet connection available. In addition, next year, users will be able to access their personal content including photos, videos and music on the go. There is no additional subscription fee required to use Flex View.

FiOS TV customers can find Flex View videos in the Interactive Media Guide under "Video on Demand" or by pressing the "On Demand" button on the FiOS TV remote control. Flex View titles will be found in a "Flex View" folder within the "Featured" or "Browse All" sections of the VOD menu.

Customers also can access Flex View online through their personal computers by downloading Media Manager, a free software application from Verizon that provides a rich interface for FiOS customers to store and access personal content. Media Manager already lets users organize and enjoy their personal content, including photographs, music and home videos. Customers can click the Flex View store icon on the Media Manager interface to purchase or rent a title, watch a trailer or bookmark a title. Subscribers already using Media Manager don't have to do anything to receive the free Flex View software update, which will be added automatically to their service by Verizon. In addition, customers can access Flex View via a mobile device. 

Next year, FiOS customers also will enjoy expanded access to their personal content – including photos, videos and music – through Flex View. Customers can upload their personal content from digital cameras, mobile phones, home storage, the Internet and more by using Media Manager. Once the content is uploaded, the customer will be able to access it on the TV screen, online or on select mobile devices.

"With the introduction of Flex View, we are developing an offer that goes beyond the traditional idea of phone, TV and Internet, providing customers with access to their personal and commercial content – anytime, anywhere, and on any device," said Strickland. "FiOS has always been the catalyst for innovation in our industry, being the first to introduce an advanced widget offering, social media applications on TV, multi-room DVR, and now Flex View."

Flex View is part of Verizon's next-generation FiOS service, which also includes interactive services like an advanced interactive media guide; social networking, news and entertainment widgets; DVR management via broadband or cell phone; and more. FiOS TV offers a broad collection of programming that includes more than 520 all-digital channels with up to 140 HD channels and 18,000 monthly video-on-demand titles. FiOS Internet offers the country's top-rated broadband service, with download speeds of up to 50 Mbps (megabits per second) and upload speeds of up to 35 Mbps.

Read here about how On-Demand TV solutions provider Espial (News - Alert) has released its Espial TV Browser powered by Intel set-top box reference platforms, based on the Intel Atom processor CE4100 and the recently released Intel (News - Alert) Atom processor CE4200.

Hans Lewis is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of his articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Tammy Wolf