We’ve been fans of the Verizon FiOS Internet service for about two-and-a-half years now, and as soon as FiOS TV was available for Gear Live HQ, we were first in our area to subscribe to that service as well. Aside from the uncompressed signal that they send through, the service has some features that make it truly unique, like the integration of Facebook and Twitter right on the DVR. I had some of my friends over to show off FiOS TV, and we had the cameras going to capture it all. Hit play for a look at what went down. If you’re curious about Verizon FiOS, be sure to hit up the Facts on FiOS site for details.
A big thank you to Verizon for helping make the party happen!
Remember those rising files Facebook and Twitter features we told you about? Well, they finally arrived. Verizon FiOS is in the middle of rolling out its Widget Bazaar, which includes Twitter and Facebook integration. You’ll be able to see what others are tweeting in regards to the show that you’re watching in the read-only Twitter widget. For example, if you’re watching a baseball game, you can pull up the Twitter widget to see what others are saying about the same game.
A Facebook widget is also being introduced, and will allow you to see a basic view of your news feed, even allowing you to see your friends photos. While you can’t do any manual updates, the Facebook widget does support sending status updates showing what shows you’re watching. The one caveat here, is that you can currently only have one Facebook profile on a files cable box.
There are other features here as well, as blip.tv, DailyMotion, and Veoh videos will be available to Home Media DVR subscribers.
According to Verizon, this is just the beginning. Their plan is to allow developers access to their open platform so that more interactive files TV applications will be available.
Read More | Verizon FiOS WIdget Bazaar Release
In an effort to get even more customers for FiOS, Verizon is offering some incentives. From now until August 15, new customers can sign up for a triple bundle (FiOS Internet with a connection speed of 25/15 Mbps or higher, TV Extreme HD service and Essentials voice service.) They then have their choice of a free Compaq Mini netbook (except for S&H,) retailing at $299.99 for only or a free Flip Ultra camcorder. A triple bundle that includes 15/5 Mbps Internet allows purchase of the netbook for $99.99 or the free cam.
Read More | Verizon
Earlier we posted a fairly in-depth piece looking at some of the upcoming FiOS TV features, but we figured some of you might just be interested in this juicy tidbit. We know a bunch of you are addicted to Twitter and/or Facebook, and if you are a Verizon FiOS TV subscriber, you’ll be interested to know that both are going to be integrated into your television viewing experience by way of widgets.
The Twitter integration is particularly cool, as the widget will give you a look at what people are saying about the show you are currently watching. Could be fun for sports, or reality shows. Not so much for Keeping Up with the Kardashians (hat tip to Jason on that one.)
We have no timeline for when the widgets will be pushed out, but we do know that they are currently in beta.
[Image credit: Zatz Not Funny]
Read More | Upcoming FiOS TV features
As most of you know, we are big fans of Verizon FiOS here at Gear Live. The actual Internet and television services are stellar, and it’s pretty hard to find fault with things, especially since downtime is almost nonexistent. Sure, we’ve had our issues, but those are all fixed, and at this point it is pretty much smooth sailing.
Today we were inviting to a media briefing at the main hub in Everett, WA, to get a look at some of the current and upcoming features of the Verizon FiOS TV service. We were able to sit down with Eric Rabe, Senior VP of Media Relations for Verizon to get the full scoop. Of course, being who we are, we had to make sure we got questions answered about FiOS Internet and phone services as well, just to be thorough. We will just go through these in no particular order - some of this you already know, while other parts are definitely new:
HD Content: FiOS TV is completely uncompressed through Verizon. They get the signal, and pass it straight through to the subscribers box the way they received it from one of two providers (depending on where you are located.) Every market has a minimum of 100 dedicated HD channels. The caveat here (and it’s a small one) is that the cable box does not have a mode that simply passes through the content to your receiver or television the way it comes in. This means you have to set the FiOS TV cable box to display either 1080i or 720p, and it will either up-convert or down-convert depending on what you choose. I let them know it would be nice to have boxes that just passed through the resolution without any conversion taking place. Of course, if you have a TiVo Series3 or TiVo HD with a FiOS CableCARD, you don’t have this issue.
I also asked about 1080p content, since satellite is currently offering HD content in 1080p. Unfortunately, their answer is that they are a couple of software revisions away from being able to offer that, so no timeline there.
If you’ve followed us for any amount of time, then you’d be familiar with our gadget and tech video show, Bleeding Edge TV. You can find it here on Gear Live, on YouTube, on Blip.tv, and a bunch of other places on the interwebs. However, today we are happy to tell you that if you are a FiOS TV subscriber, you can catch the show there as well, on demand. To check it out, just pull up On Demand, and go into The Cutting Edge category. From there, choose Blip.tv, and you’ll find us (along with other top Blip-hosted programming). Expect to see our other show, Unboxing Live up there shortly as well.
For those of you on other cable systems, no worries - we are working hard to bring our content to your cable boxes as well. In the meantime, the Internet will have to do.
If you’re in Reno and you use AT&T as your broadband Internet provider, you’re now unfortunately the latest victim of this whole capped bandwidth nonsense that seems to be taking hold across the US. It started when Comcast implemented a 250GB per month cap on October 1. Now word has hit that metered billing of between 20-150GB per month is going to be tested in Reno on AT&T’s DSL network. If you are a new customer who’ll be apart of the trial, depending on the speed tier you choose, you’ll get a cap somewhere between 20 and 150 gigabytes per month. If you’re an existing customer, you’ll be chosen to be a part of the trial if your monthly bandwidth happens to exceed 150GB in a month.
The trend is something we are vehemently against, so I figured I’d ask one of the Verizon PR reps that I know on Twitter, Kevin Laverty, if we should expect a similar announcement from Verizon, after another Verizon rep said no. His answer:
That’s an affirmative - Verizon has no plans to cap bandwidth on either its FiOS or High Speed Internet/DSL services.
It doesn’t get much clearer than that. It’ll be a nice bullet-point for Verizon if they can say that FiOS is not only faster, but also is completely uncapped as far as usage goes.
Ten days ago, Verizon FiOS TV officially launched here in Washington state. I was actually invited to speak at the launch event that took place that day, alongside Verizon representatives, and local government officials. I was specifically chosen as a case study of just how good FiOS is, since I literally moved specifically because Comcast was way too slow for the things we expected out of our Internet connection here at Gear Live HQ. It was an event meant to talk up the advantages of FiOS over cable (specifically, Comcast, in this area). Obviously, with FiOS looming over their territory, Comcast went into damage control mode to combat Verizon’s claims that they were the best option for Internet and television services. We were sent both the FiOS press release and the Comcast press release, and we figured we would respond to the claims of each, point-by-point.
For some background, we’ve been Comcast customers for over six years, for both Internet and television services. When we moved for FiOS 15 months ago, Comcast was still our cable television provider. As of today, I am a FiOS customer for both Internet and television, and as of 10 days ago, am no longer a Comcast customer. Now, on with the comparisons.
For all you Verizon FiOS subscribers out there, Verizon just announced this morning that they are going to be upping a couple of their speed tiers across the country, beginning next week. Of course, you need to live in one of the FiOS-covered areas in one of the 16 states where the service is available, like we do.
So, first things first - if you are in New York or Virginia, don’t expect any changes. You guys are already enjoying the upgraded speeds that the rest of us have been waiting for. For the rest of us though, two changes are in order. First, the 30/15 speed tier will be going away, and will be replaced by the newer 50/20 tier. Crazy, we know. The 50/20 speed will remain at the same $139 per month cost. Those of you on the 15/15 symmetrical tier will also say goodbye to your current speeds, as you will be upgraded to the new 20/20 speed tier, and it will remain at the same $64 per month cost.
The lower tiers are getting upgrades as well, as 15/2 becomes 20/5, and 5/2 becomes 10/2. It should be noted that Comcast recently bumped up their speeds across the board to 16/2. I guess Verizon was just waiting on Comcast before spreading their NY and VA speeds to the rest of the country.
Read More | Verizon Press Release
A little under two weeks ago, we made a long-standing issue that we had with Verizon public. The fact that they had ignored our request to fix a huge oversight that resulted in our private FiOS account info to fall into the wrong hands for over 8 months was starting to upset us just a tad. We knew that if we shared it with you, our readers, that Verizon would have no choice but to respond quickly. At least, that was the hope.
Well, sure enough, after the story was picked up on The Consumerist as well as made it to the front page of Digg, we received a phone call. Then an email. Then another phone call. Then a couple more emails. Verizon Damage Control had stepped in.