Unveiled last August and expected to ship by the end of 2010, Verizon’s FiOS TV IMG 1.9 experience is finally complete; the show stopping bugs have been squashed and the rollout has begun. Some highlights from the release notes:
IMG 1.9 is our most significant upgrade to FiOS TV’s guide since we introduced the Interactive Media Guide in 2007. There were few portions of the guide software that weren’t enhanced in this release.
- New look and feel with higher resolution graphics and smooth animations
- Re-design of search and better integration throughout the guide
- Expansion of guide data to include complete cast information and air date
- New Channel Guide view providing another option for navigating live TV content
- Recommendations for live TV content
- Ability to select the Widgets that are displayed in the carousel
- More parental control tools and a configuration wizard
- Overhaul of Message Center
- Improved 3DTV support
- Support for Descriptive Video Service, native pass through, 1080p, and MP3 and MPEG-4 decoding on select devices.
- A long list of DVR and multi-room DVR enhancements
- Even more ways to customize the guide to your personal preferences
Beyond those bullets, Verizon has also enabled eSATA hard drive expansion. However, unlike TiVo, there are no artificial brand/model restrictions based on marketing relationships.
As for me, we continue to get settled in the new home and I’m still running just two set-top boxes – one Motorola FiOS TV DVR, one TiVo Premiere. Obviously these two units can’t talk to each other… and my plan has been to enable whole home DVR functionality by acquiring a second FiOS TV DVR, muti-room/hub variety, which would run $20/month. Or to reenable my TiVo Series 3 ($10/month to TiVo, $4/month to Verizon for a CableCARD). The TiVo is a sunk cost and I’m not sure what sort of resale value a unit without Lifetime might have. So, from a purely financial standpoint, the TiVo looks to be a better bet. Yet, FiOS streams over coax whereas TiVo copies over my LAN – something I’ve rarely been able to accomplish in real time. I also happen to appreciate having OnDemand content handy, which is something TiVo can’t provide. Hm. Looks like I’ve still got a little time to settle on a plan, and acquire a new HDTV, as the nationwide IMG 1.9 rollout is expected to take a few months.