In addition to the iPad hoopla yesterday, Verizon unveiled a number of other FiOS TV updates. Specifically, version 1.9 of the IMG platform arrives by the end of the year in Q4 — Bringing with it a number of sought after features, including a true HD UI and the ability to augment DVRs with external storage.
Amongst my peers, who live in a FiOS TV region, the most common complaint and request has dealt with the limited recording capacity of FiOS TV DVRs. Verizon has teased additional storage for some time, but they’ve finally come clean with the plan and timing. Basically, you’ll be able to slap any eSATA drive (up to 1 terabyte) onto any of your DVRs once the 1.9 update hits. Verizon will vet perhaps half a dozen brands and models. But, unlike TiVo, they won’t actually software-lock you to specific drive hardware.
That’s the good news. However, there’s even better news. Verizon’s whole home DVR will also be getting an IQ upgrade that includes a unified playlist of recordings around the home… on your drives or theirs. Record it anywhere, watch it anywhere – it doesn’t matter, all drives add up to a single virtual storage device. And, as most of you know, Verizon efficiently pipes data around the home via MoCA. Yes, I’m excited. It could be enough to get me to jump once we move later this year (assuming we’re in a FiOS ‘hood). And I know my buddy Jason was waiting for these two developments to dump DISH.
In terms of the UI, Verizon’s taking their 16:9 prototype into production. It’s a true widescreen, HD UI as opposed to the existing stretched affair. So, not only will it look better, more data can and will be presented. For those familiar with the current UI, the new IMG obviously also happens to look a lot different with a fresh color palette. But, what you can’t see from the screengrabs, are the new animations and 3D effects (as statically pictured by the cycling widget carousel above). Based on tweets from Verizon’s product guy, it sounds as if their new UI is faster than TiVo’s HD UI and more consistant in its speed throughout the experience.
There’s all sorts of other little enhancements sprinkled throughout the new UI. Some of the more notable additions: Automatic chapter creation leading to a much more interesting progress bar of thumbnail images that possibly surpasses the traditional skip-to-tick, an undelete/recycle bin of recordings (something we have on TiVo), and faster, broader search functionality with autocomplete available via the B button from just about anywhere in the UI.
Click to enlarge: