& cplSiteName &

This Is the New Fios TV From Verizon

Mari Silbey
3/1/2017
50%
50%

BARCELONA -- Mobile World Congress 2017 -- While Verizon has been tight-lipped for years about what's next for Fios TV, the telco let slip significant new details this week about how the platform will evolve. At Mobile World Congress, the newly formed Exponent business unit within Verizon demonstrated the technology that will be the foundation for Fios TV going forward -- an all-IP delivery system designed to support multi-screen video services, and ultimately the integration of IoT applications. (See also Verizon's Exponent Exports Its Expertise.)

Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ)'s current version of Fios TV is a hybrid service where linear television is distributed via QAM, and on-demand video is delivered over IP. With the new platform, linear TV will also shift to IP delivery, giving Verizon the ability to introduce new features more quickly and to stream content to virtually any Internet-connected device.

Both the user interface and the set-tops for the new Fios TV look very different from their counterparts today. The UI borrows elements from other successful cloud-based program guides including personalization features, the ability to integrate online video services and support for voice commands. The main menu includes a mix of live and time-shifted content and can also host ads targeted to different members of the household. All of the guide content is served up from Verizon's own backend system, which means the telco can set up rules for determining when and how different elements appear.

"All of that is dynamically customizable," says Martin Busse, associate director within Exponent at Verizon.

There are a couple of interesting touches to Verizon's Fios UI. First, the main menu screen doesn't include channel numbers, instead identifying stations by their network names.

The second is that whatever user profile is enabled can be set to switch automatically to whoever is speaking voice commands into the TV remote. Alternatively, users can hop manually between individual profiles with the touch of a button.

Busse also explained in his demo that Fios customers will have multiple set-top options. There's a new DVR box that is substantially smaller than Verizon's current offerings, as well as two lighter-weight, non-DVR clients. One of the client boxes includes ports for Ethernet and component video. The other is wireless only and about the size of a deck of cards. If a household has solid WiFi performance, the subscriber would only need that tiny box connected to each TV set.

"You can ship this," Busse points out. "You don't need a truck roll."

Verizon also plans to offer a three-day look-back feature for customers who don't need a DVR, but still want access to television shows in a short on-demand window after an initial airing.

The TV set-tops aren't the only new hardware Verizon is introducing either. Of note, Verizon is rolling out a new gateway device with its updated Fios TV service. The new gateway combines the functionalities of a standard router with an optical network terminal (ONT). Today, the ONT is a separate box from the router, often located either outside the house or in a basement. The new gateway consolidates two boxes into one.

Old Verizon Fios gateway on the right, next to the new Fios gateway on the left.
Old Verizon Fios gateway on the right, next to the new Fios gateway on the left.


Want to learn more about the latest pay-TV and broadband technologies? Sign up now for Light Reading's Cable Next-Gen Technologies & Strategies event on March 21-22, at the Curtis Hotel in downtown Denver.


It has taken Verizon a long time to get ready for its IPTV launch. It was six years ago that the telco first started talking about delivering TV as an IP application available on any Internet device. Then came the acquisition of the OnCue IPTV assets from Intel Corp. (Nasdaq: INTC) in 2014, which was supposed to speed along the IP transition for Fios. Unfortunately, that effort appeared to get bogged down amid other priorities, including the launch of Verizon's lackluster over-the-top mobile video service Go90. (See Why Did Verizon Buy OnCue?)

Verizon's goal is to align all of its video services onto a single common platform. That will include services like Go90 and Fios TV, but also other offerings that haven't been launched yet.

For example, Verizon's broadband gateway includes IoT radios, which Verizon plans to use for a smart home service that includes video streamed from connected cameras.

"All of that is active right now," says Guru Pai, EVP and chief product officer at Verizon, "but we haven't turned on a service."

From a timing perspective, Busse initially told Light Reading that the new Fios TV service is in beta trials now and will launch before the end of the quarter. However, another Verizon spokesperson backtracked from that timeline later, saying it's not confirmed.

Hints of the IPTV service first appeared almost a year ago when Light Reading reported on the appearance of a new all-IP set-top in Verizon documents filed with the FCC. (See Verizon IPTV Ambitions May Go Beyond Go90.)

Variety then reported that a new version of the Fios TV service was expected to launch later in 2016. That deadline has passed, but Verizon could keep itself within reasonable range of the projected timeline if it moves forward with deployment in the first quarter.

— Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, Light Reading

(3)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
steve q
50%
50%
steve q,
User Rank: Light Sabre
3/2/2017 | 12:14:05 AM
Re: Options
This all great but this is what going to happen in Boston ma if they done right. Are FiOS tech should start to install new service for our customer with the use of the fiber jumper and not using the ont as the many point of in entrance to the customer location. By if service it will help the customer use the newer fiber router and stb that will be using IP/TV. We can do these and can show our customer how to use the newer service before Verizon wireless comes out with 5g.
danielcawrey
50%
50%
danielcawrey,
User Rank: Light Sabre
3/1/2017 | 9:40:06 PM
Re: Options
I wonder in the age of OTT whether many people need DVRs anymore. Three day look back seems like a solution that would work for many people. I guess there are some power usres who require more flexibility, but the majoriaty of folks don't really care. 
Kelsey Ziser
50%
50%
Kelsey Ziser,
User Rank: Blogger
3/1/2017 | 4:54:15 PM
Options
I wonder which options will end up being more popular -- the DVR box or the lighter-weight non-DVR clients. The deck of cards-sized option seems appealing. I like the idea of a "three-day look-back feature" in case you miss a show once in awhile but don't need a DVR.
Featured Video
From The Founder
Light Reading is spending much of this year digging into the details of how automation technology will impact the comms market, but let's take a moment to also look at how automation is set to overturn the current world order by the middle of the century.
Flash Poll
Upcoming Live Events
November 1, 2017, The Royal Garden Hotel
November 1, 2017, The Montcalm Marble Arch
November 2, 2017, 8 Northumberland Avenue, London, UK
November 2, 2017, 8 Northumberland Avenue – London
November 10, 2017, The Westin Times Square, New York, NY
November 16, 2017, ExCel Centre, London
November 30, 2017, The Westin Times Square
May 14-17, 2018, Austin Convention Center
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
With the mobile ecosystem becoming increasingly vulnerable to security threats, AdaptiveMobile has laid out some of the key considerations for the wireless community.
Hot Topics
Muni Policies Stymie Edge Computing
Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 10/17/2017
'Brutal' Automation & the Looming Workforce Cull
Iain Morris, News Editor, 10/18/2017
Worried About Bandwidth for 4K? Here Comes 8K!
Aditya Kishore, Practice Leader, Video Transformation, Telco Transformation, 10/17/2017
What Does Automation Mean to You?
Ray Le Maistre, International Group Editor, 10/17/2017
Animals with Phones
Selfie Game Strong Click Here
Latest Comment
Live Digital Audio

Understanding the full experience of women in technology requires starting at the collegiate level (or sooner) and studying the technologies women are involved with, company cultures they're part of and personal experiences of individuals.

During this WiC radio show, we will talk with Nicole Engelbert, the director of Research & Analysis for Ovum Technology and a 23-year telecom industry veteran, about her experiences and perspectives on women in tech. Engelbert covers infrastructure, applications and industries for Ovum, but she is also involved in the research firm's higher education team and has helped colleges and universities globally leverage technology as a strategy for improving recruitment, retention and graduation performance.

She will share her unique insight into the collegiate level, where women pursuing engineering and STEM-related degrees is dwindling. Engelbert will also reveal new, original Ovum research on the topics of artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, security and augmented reality, as well as discuss what each of those technologies might mean for women in our field. As always, we'll also leave plenty of time to answer all your questions live on the air and chat board.

Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
Partner Perspectives - content from our sponsors
The Mobile Broadband Road Ahead
By Kevin Taylor, for Huawei
All Partner Perspectives