It was a long time coming, as an eager customer, but Verizon finally pulled the wraps off live tablet television late last year. Their updated iPad app provides FiOS TV subscribers access to 75 channels. Well, in reality, it’s “up to” 75 channels as you may not subscribe to all offerings… as I discovered the hard way. Overall, the app is easy to use and generally works well — turning that iPad into the kitchen or deck television (given it only streams in the home). I did encounter the occasional playback bug, usually resolved with an app relaunch, and the video previews are technically impressive but not quite as useful as traditional channel logos. Presumably more social interaction and Android support will be arriving this year, as well as enabling access from smaller screened smartphones. Given Verizon’s licensing approach, the solution isn’t nearly as expansive as the TiVo Stream. On the other hand, it doesn’t require the purchase of a TiVo ($150+) and streaming accessory ($130).
As Verizon continues offering options beyond the set-top, they’ve also flipped the switch on LG “smart” televisions and Blu-ray players, joining Samsung’s recent lineup and an expanded Xbox offering. Leading me to question the viability of all these rumored (Apple, Intel, Sony) virtual MSOs as the incumbents are continuing to expand their product offerings in modern, innovative ways. Albeit not as fast as we’d like.