The Verizon FiOS TV 1.6 Update

FiOS TV customers will begin receiving the 1.6 set-top box software update in a staggered rollout beginning later this summer. Since I’ve already covered streaming Internet video features slated for deployment towards the end of this year or early next, this post focuses on more immediate functionality. However, we’ve seen much of this previewed before… The major upgrade had been pushed back to squeeze in a maintenance release (1.5) – inclusive of improved video quality, higher VOD reliability, and support for new Morotola (MPEG-4 capable) CableCARD set-top boxes to meet the FCC’s July 1 separable security extension deadline.

In addition to over 200 bug fixes and enhancements, here’s a run-down of some of the more visible and significant features of 1.6:

Widgets – More informational widgets with 1.6 at launch and going forward. Internet-based data is pulled via RSS/XML. Pictures of news, local weather, and horoscopes below. Though I still prefer Moxi’s ticker style presentation of this info (think ESPN or CNN).

Games – A variety of games will be offered. Some of the casual gaming will be free and/or sponsored (notice the ad in the Sudoku pic below), while other games will incur a fee. Of course the real power and promise comes via Internet-connectivity… and the ESPN Fantasy Football integration looks hot.

HD Streaming – Multi-room viewing will be available in HD. Stream recorded HD content from a DVR to other HD Verizon set-top boxes (DVR or not) around the house, up to two simultaneous streams. Somewhat related, the new Motorola boxes have slightly larger hard drive capacities though an external storage option will not be available until 2009.

Content Discovery – What’s Hot displays what other folks in your region are watching (anonymously). Content discovery functionality will ultimately be expanded to include affinity (friends) and computed show recommendations.

Web Scheduling – Real-time DVR web access will be made available including scheduling, management of currently recorded programing, and a free space indicator. Initially customers in the top tier DVR package will receive access, though it’ll ultimately be made available to all. Related, DVR phone scheduling will also be made available later this year.

PC-based Video Streaming – Verizon Media Manager software will be updated to allow the transcoding and streaming of a variety of PC-based video (including high definition), in addition to the existing photo and music support.

Additionally, Verizon’s incorporated a variety of subtle enhancements subscribers should appreciate – such as concurrent 60 minute buffers on both tuners within a snappier and more efficient interface (less clicking “OK”). Verizon’s also been doing some significant work on the backend to facilitate forthcoming interactive television services. Last but not least, VZ wanted to assure customers that they’re taking feedback very seriously – not only do they continue to monitor forums and blogs, they’ve expanded and formalized external beta testing.

59 thoughts on “The Verizon FiOS TV 1.6 Update”

  1. If I ever move to a FiOS neighborhood, it’ll take expandable storage for me to dump TiVo. That’s the one thing that FiOS’s box is missing — the UI is much more pleasant than TiVo’s dated interface.
    Side note: It just now occured to me that the FiOS OS looks like it shares DNA with the soon-to-be outdated X-Box 360 Blades.

  2. ” the FiOS OS looks like it shares DNA with the soon-to-be outdated X-Box 360 Blades”

    Isn’t that due to the fact that MS are the developers of the interface software? Or was that a earlier version that got dumped?

    Anyway, I hope the interface IS SNAPPIER.

    Lastly, for us that watch FIOS on 1080P TVs, is the green vertical line FINALLY, HOPEFULLY……fixed?

  3. @RandomRage It looks similar in some still shots, but it doesn’t feel the same (to me) in function at all.

    @Juice The first incarnation of FiOS TV was MS software. No more – it’s all Verizon.

  4. As a Verizon customer with two HD DVRs, One HD, and Four 2500s I wish I could select which DVR I pull a recorded show. But the possibility of streaming HD Content is a good one.

  5. “concurrent 60 minute buffers on both tuners” does this mean that if you pause one tuner go to a watch a show on the other tuner then come back to the first tuner you will be at the same point you pause at?

  6. I currently have one HD Multi Room DVR, 1 HD Box, and 4 SD Boes so I can watch the DVR anywhere. When this comes out, I will want to trade my five SD boxes in for HD boxes. I wonder if this will be common and create a shortage? I could change now, but I would loose MR capability and I would like to see it work before I switch. Should be fun.

  7. Wow that’s pretty impressive. And it all runs on Motorola hardware! Ok Comcast, your turn!

    Love the colorful interface, graphics and all the extra features. Add on features and interface is whats going to make a provider stand out above the competition in a world where providers will eventually all carry the same, if not simular content.

    I see all of those pictures that the guide fills the 16:9 screen. Is the TV stretching the guide, or does the box send HD resolution now? One of the gripes (besides the 1990’s archaic, slow, no frills interface) of the Comcast DVR is the low resolution graphics (or lack thereof graphics).

    If Fios was an option in my area, I’d switch from Comcast right away. All the bells and whistles are what make it stand out on top.

  8. So will Verizon let us know when these updates are being rolled out? I have been waiting for the multi-room DVR to support HD streaming for a year now…

  9. Looks Like Oregon has got the 1.6 push. see dslreports.

    so far so good! Dave next time you are invited, I’m in the neighborhood ;-)

  10. That last pic with Verizon tv on the go on the blackberry. Is that only for 1.6 update? Can I get it now and if so how?


  11. I am a Verizon customer with both a Motorola DVR and a TiVo HD. The Motorola DVR looks pretty, however, it really just isn’t usable by anyone who really uses a DVR. I keep the Motorola for the kids.

    1) Hard drive capacity. This is crucial. Not upgradable, no external drive support available. This has been a complaint for years, and the latest announcement is 2009. Oh great.

    2) Missed recordings. The box still sometimes messes up recordings. This used to be REALLY bad. Now it is FAR less frequent, but this is inexcusable.

    3) The Guide Data is very weak. This is a problem for scheduling recordings. If you don’t have good guide data, it really doesn’t matter what the DVR options are.

    4) Software support. There have been two times in the last two years Verizon has distributed a buggy update that caused more problems than it fixed. It then took MONTHS for the to fix the new issues. TiVo support is better. If there is a problem, it is fixed quickly. I know this may sound like sour grapes, but honestly, if you are to depend upon the device to catch all your live sporting events and first run shows, you can’t just have it “fail” at random moments.

    For the time being, I will keep using my TiVo HD (with 1.3 TB of storage) for all of my primary DVR functions.

  12. Tivo’s response time to bugs may be debatable… depends which bug you experienced. But it’s the same for all these guys – software dev and testing cycles are longer than customers want. I experience it as the guy making the purchase and I’ve seen it for years on the other end as the vendor.

  13. Have you heard anything about the ability to burn content to DVD? Would really love to see this feature but I am not sure if I will have to buy a Tivo to get it. Where can one submit feedback for Verizon for such things?

  14. Sorry, Mark – I lost a few comments over the weekend. Verizon hasn’t indicated to me a way to offload recorded content. You can transfer content from a TiVo to a computer and then burn to DVD. It works, though I find it tedious and reserve it only for special occasions.

  15. Does anybody know if the new Verizon set top boxes (QIP7100 HD and QIP7216 HD DVR) will output LPCM stereo from the digital audio outputs (in addition to Dolby Digital)? The current STBs do NOT, they only output Dolby Digital stereo and surround sound. While the Motorola supplied boxes have an embedded menu that is supposed to allow the user to switch the digital audio outputs to PCM (for use with PCM only digital audio processors or DACs), Verizon finally admitted to me (after numerous phone calls and emails) that they had disabled that function for unspecified “technical” reasons. As a result, my PCM based DAC cannot read the Dolby Digital audio signal the STB outputs– I am forced to use the lesser quality analog audio outputs. Direct TV and Comcast STBs do provide the PCM option. The majority of digital AUDIO stereo equipment is PCM based, be it CD players, DATs or stand alone DACs.

  16. Well I enabled Web scheduling last Thursday (Aug. 21) and it one of the best features yet that Verizon has added. Now I don’t have to turn on the TV to make a small change to the DVR schedule. (Our computers are on more than the TV.)

    I’m in the Portland, OR market which was the first to get the 1.6 update in early August (the 6th I think). I’ve posted my findings and screen shots on

  17. IMG 1.6 has come to Fairfax County, VA! It appeared this morning.

    And I had just ordered an HD STB for our second HDTV, in anticipation for the IMG 1.6 upgrade, and it came yesterday. What timing! I couldn’t have planned it any better.

    Now we can watch recorded SD AND HD from the main DVR on either HDTV! Yahoo1 And the menus seem more responsive too!

  18. Just got the 1.6 update on my boxes here in Northern Virginia (Leesburg). Too bad my DVR isn’t here yet. It’s been over 1 week since I ordered it to be delivered instead of paying for installation. Bummer.

  19. Subsequent to my August 23 message, Verizon has confirmed to me in a phone call that their new STBs will still NOT output PCM digital signals from the digital audio outputs–only Dolby Digital.

  20. Where is the best place to monitor when the esata hard disk expansion capabilities will be activated in ’09? This is really the thing that they need to do and I want to be ordering my external hd the second they activate this!

  21. How does FIOS compare to Direct TV? I’m presently living in the League City, Texas and presently have FIOS Internet and phone. TV will be coming to our service area over the next few months. I’m thinking about switch but wanted to get feedback from current users.



  22. we have fios tv. no need for hi def as this picture is as clear as i’ver ever seen. have seen hdtv on cox and it absolutley sucks, got lightning fast internet,sometimes so fast you don’t see it happen. get fios and be happy.

  23. Do you think Verizon will offer the Media Manager to be compatible with an Apple Mac with the Intel chip? I just signed up for the Media Manager and was disappointed to see that it is only compatible with PC’s. How can I contact them and ask for this?


  24. I have two questions:

    1) Is anyone else using the digital coax audio connection? It sounds great for me while its working, but sometimes it stops working and I have to go to the audio options menu and without even changing anything, the audio pops back on… Anyone else? Any thoughts or solutions?

    2) I’m not an audio expert so maybe I’m missing something simple, but this doesn’t make sense to me. My Sony receiver system has two HDMI inputs and one output. I send HDMI from the DVR to receiver and then to the TV. The Sony receiver refuses to play the audio, but the TV can still play the audio from the HDMI even when it goes through the receiver. (this is why I’m using the digital coax from the DVR).

  25. I have the same issue. Exact same. I don’t even have to select the surround option, just highlight it. As soon as the menu for sound selection pops up the sound comes on. Strange.

  26. Fios is great but if sports programming is important to you
    NFL Sunday Ticket, NHL Center Ice, MLB Extra Innings, NBA League Pass) stay where you are. Verizon does not offer them and will not give you a straight answer if they will offer them in the future.

    The sales reps have and will lie to you about this programming. I was told in Jan 08 that the NHL Network and Center ICE would be available by the beginnig of the season. Well the season is here and guess what? Not here. I have read of a lot of other people who were also deceived.

    Except for that Fios is and has been great.

  27. Just got the new DVR. New capacity is 160 GB. I’d prefer more, but when 1.6 is pushed in southern CA (scheduled for 10/15 but was just pushed from 10/9 so who knows) the streaming video functionality will make up for it. The ability to stream bit torrent files to the main tv sounds so cool. As a DTV convert who had severe regrets for the first few months I have to admit Verizon has stepped up. If it delivers like it seems to, this is really utilizing technology to its fullest. The day I can stream TV to my laptop I will officially get my Verizon fanboy tshirt.

    PS Yes I do miss NFL Ticket, but it’s just not enough to justify sticking with DTV.

  28. My update started last night and it kept cycling between the info and volume control. I was unable to check it this morning, so I will check it this evening when I get home.

    I was unaware that it enabled more capacity without changing any hardware. Why were they limiting HD Space at all in the first place (unless they are compressing the video more…)?

  29. Reminders are useful again, huzzah! It only took them nine months to get reminders to actually tune to the channel like they used to…

  30. Just got FiosTV and this is the DVR Box they gave me.
    What a crock! NONE OF THE EXPANSION PORTS WORK! I wasted two days trying to track down an eSATA drive from my friends too. I tried FireWire, eSATA, AND USB. They should have just shipped these things with duct tape over the god damn expansion ports – At least then I wouldn’t have wasted my time trying to add a drive to it. What’s the deal with this BS? 2009? Yeah right. How much you wanna bet this never gets enabled.
    Also, how big is the internal storage on this thing? I can’t find that spec anywhere. I bet its like 200 gigs. 200 gigs for an HD DVR? Nice joke, but I’m not laughing. Anyone know of any firmware hacks for this bad boy so I can put my external western digi 750 usb drive to work on it?

  31. :) Okay, so with a little hacking, I figured some stuff out.
    Apparently, the FCC mandated that the firewire port on all DVR Boxes *MUST* be enabled. It outputs a weird ass D-VHS format though. A hard drive will not work. You need to output to a computer, and then use hacked drivers to capture the stream and record to storage on that computer — It’s jerryrigged up all to hell, but it works. Only drawback is that it does not work for encrypted streams..which includes some movie channels and some other channels as well. If you want to try it, all the info you need is here:

    Hope I’ve helped someone bring at least SOME life into their crippled bastardized DVR.

  32. Too bad the “First Run Only” and “Record Duplicates = No” options are nearly useless. Perhaps they would work if the guide info listed the EPISODE instead of the just describing the SERIES so often. Of course even if there IS episode info you only see the episode name in “Recorded programs” if the recording is in a folder. You can drill down to “Program Information” to get to it but why should you have to do that?

  33. I was given a free server with four hard drives.
    I am setting it up in my cold cellar. I am going to put a
    FIOS campatible video card into the server with an ATI Radeon 2600 pro gold seperate and use two of the hard drives for video storage.
    I already have the cable for the signal ran and all I will have to do is reroute it.
    I am going to split it.
    One to my server video card and the other to the downstairs television.
    I already have my fastest machine of the two pcs I built upstairs going to our big set.
    It should work great.
    We get FIOS in Dec. here and I am really excited.

  34. so with a little hacking, I figured some stuff out.
    Apparently, the FCC mandated that the firewire port on all DVR Boxes *MUST* be enabled. It outputs a weird ass D-VHS format though. A hard drive will not work. You need to output to a computer, and then use hacked drivers to capture the stream and record to storage on that computer — It’s jerryrigged up all to hell, but it works. Only drawback is that it does not work for encrypted streams..which includes some movie channels and some other channels as well.

  35. Do i have to rent a digital reciever? I have to HDTV’s with QAM. I have 3 analog TV’s. I just hate the ideas of all those added monthly fees going to Verizon!


  36. Similar question, I’m looking at adding a second TV, do some TV’s have a built in receiver that willl take the FIOS signal?

  37. Yeah, it sounds like something happened to the original deployment plan. I now hear of v1.7 rolling out to all customers by the end of the summer. I checked in with Verizon last week and I’m waiting for more info, if they choose to provide it.

  38. Just venting a little…..

    The None DVR Box (HD QIP7100) has all the slots to do so much more but with the limited software Verizon fios supplies the only option is to spend another $13.00 dollars more a month to be able to use these slots…

    I have the box with 2 USB connections, 1 Ethernet and a 1394 firewire connection, there all right here and one could do so much more with this unit however it’s all about the big buck once again… With a working USB port one could do it all however if you want to pull a picture, Music and media off your PC ya better cough up the money and get the DVR box….

    Peee offed

  39. anyone ever hear if VZ has enabled video streaming yet? their current promotion ends this weekend, and I am coincidentally at the end of a comcast promo period. trying to decide about switching, and a streaming video solution would be a big + for VZ.

  40. Lol, my last comment on here is from september, and guess what? It’s June 2009, verizon still have not enabled video streaming for media manager, or enabled the storage ports on their DVRs. I called it, they are a bunch of liars and they advertise features that aren’t even available, and NEVER will be.

  41. Well, a multi-million dollar company should know that advertising goals that even have a 10% chance of not being met is NOT good for business. It just pisses people off, and ultimately causes people to lose faith in the company.

  42. Well what do you know, some of the stuff is finally here!! I got all excited the past year over nothing. The video streaming from media manager sucks. It’s all blocky even on the “high” setting — and the box running it has a dual port gigabit nic bonded together, and the media’s coming from a 3TB raid5….so I guess this is why it took so long, crappy programming. Oh yeah also it doesn’t keep the video in it’s native resolution, it will stretch it out for your TV and make it lookall nasty.

  43. Eh.. Surge. Neither a bonded interface or a raid 5 array are going to do anything for transmission speed, so I’m not sure why you felt either of those were worth mentioning, other to sound “really technical” or something. Which seems to be your main M.O. for posting.

    As far as media streaming goes, I highly recommend just using a PS3.

  44. I do not care about getting media OUT of my STB to wildly inferior display technologies (compared to very big LCD)

    I want to set very high quality HD media (x264 aac) to my very big LCD over MoCa or Ethernet … preferably through one STB

  45. I love that the gui font becomes more difficult to read with increasing versions

    And I am delighted that there is ZERO option to increase font size — despite consumer demands!

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