5 Ways to Fill FiOS

Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ)'s FiOS service seems to have it all -- loads of bandwidth, plenty of room to grow, a competitive video offering, and a price that's on par with anything cable can come up with.

So what's Verizon's next big move? One word: content.

As telcos in the big pipe business are finding out, a massive amount of bandwidth is easy to pay for when consumers have massive amounts of online content to enjoy along with it. Verizon has taken note and stepped up, with several new distractions, er, services that are meant to show not only what FiOS can do, but how hip a phone company can be. Here are five fiber-filling examples:

FiOS TV gets interactive
Yes, it's just a TV channel menu, but FiOS TV's interactive services put one foot in a door that leads to a scenario where relevant content is pushed to a consumer as soon as he's ready for it and, maybe, before he even asks.

The new FiOS TV interactive media guide (IMG) has lots of promise as TV menus go. The global search capability pulls relevant DVR titles, video-on-demand titles, and TV content together for each search. If the FiOS customer has Verizon's Media Manager software already operating elsewhere in the home network, then photos, music, and home movies will be included in searches as well.

But the big bandwidth buster will be IMG's interactive features, which include weather, traffic, news, sports, and other information embedded into the menu guide instantly. Higher resolution graphics, video previews for on-demand movies, and movie poster art are some other things a superfast bandwidth connection will allow so folks will have many more reasons to stare at their TVs longer.

Online gamers represent a huge percentage of Internet users and Verizon's game product manager Jason Henderson says there are 143 million online gamers in the U.S. alone. With the Verizon Playlinc service, all of these gamers can be connected to one another through a free online server where they can pit their skills against one another, in addition to talking for free using VOIP and instant messaging during game play.

Even better, groups of gamer pals can set up virtual LANs so they can have private gaming sessions over the Internet. And, just like regular gameplay, users can talk via instant messenger or through VOIP connections.

So maybe Playlinc isn't a bandwidth hog by itself, but regular use of the service in a busy household requires a lot of bandwidth overhead. To wit, you don't want your roommate's file-sharing habits to kill your game performance. "Gaming geeks want FiOS," says Verizon's Henderson.

Beatbox mixer
If you have a lot of work to do right now, please do not click here.

Verizon's insanely addictive Beatbox Mixer lets you create your own music and beat mix, borrowing from the guttural utterings of several well-regarded beatboxers. More importantly, the constant back and forth of audio, video, and high-resolution graphics demands a fast connection, making it a FiOS staple.

Verizon says the Beatbox Mixer has received over one million blog trackbacks to date.

Action hero
Ever wanted to star in a movie about killer bugs taking a city hostage, a mad scientist plotting to take over the world, or insane killer robots programmed to destroy the human race? You can with Verizon's Action Hero app/game/thingy.

Users simply upload their picture, pick their bad guy, outline the plot, punch a few buttons, and Verizon's computers do the rest. The process takes anywhere from 30 minutes to 24 hours and, when it's all done, Verizon sends you the finished product: a high-quality, 2-minute 3-D animated flick, starring a cartoon-y version of you.

This little app, built by R/GA, has the potential to create big files, and lots of file sharing as folks send around their movies to friends, family, and, of course, YouTube. Verizon knows that streaming such a feature can certainly help fill up a fiber-optic connection -- or maybe encourage a FiOS upgrade.

Games on demand
A fee-based game downloading service doesn't sound too cutting edge, does it? Well it may not be, but we can't help but notice that most games, which are hundreds of megabytes in size, take the better part of an hour, maybe more, to get from a standard DSL connection. Verizon probably realizes this, too, hence the heavy push to get folks downloading on-demand.

Games are only going to get bigger and bigger as the quality of graphics and video continues to increase, so by hosting such a service, Verizon is simply rewarding its FiOS users with a little instant gratification.

— Raymond McConville, Reporter, Light Reading

jayja 12/5/2012 | 3:07:38 PM
re: 5 Ways to Fill FiOS The largest selling premium content, and the cable co's can't get it. VZ should leverage their DSL-satellite deals to break the exclusivity and have it on FiOS.
Spitzerman 12/5/2012 | 3:07:35 PM
re: 5 Ways to Fill FiOS Sunday Ticket is big....but is a drop in the bucket compared to PPV Adult (Porn/XXX)......It's funny...but if this revenue stream was not available to rural carriers (Tier3/IOC) operators...they would not even consider deploying an IPTV service.....
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