Variety reports that Verizon is readying a new TV service for launch in at least one FIOS market this year. Specifically, they are launching a new set-top box based on technology they acquired from Intel two years ago.
The new device will offer pay-TV services with a new interface that won't look at all like Verizon's existing Fios TV service. Moreover, it will also offer access to online video services, according to multiple sources. There's no word yet on which services will be added, but Netflix would be a plausible candidate, as would a tight integration of online video programming developed at Verizon subsidiary AOL.
By moving to an entirely IP-based architecture, Verizon can rethink what constitutes a television channel. Initially this will mean a more level playing field for services like Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu, allowing them to be treated as equals with traditional channels like Fox and Comedy Central. We are already seeing this as Comcast today announced that they will start including Sony's Crackle service as part of their Xfinity On-Demand service. But this is only the beginning‚ as the definition of a television channel continues to loosen, who is to say that even smaller media companies, like Above Average or some of the MCNs, couldn't host ‚Äúchannels‚Äù on Verizon's service. Importantly, with IP-based architectures it is much easier to accommodate a greater number of channels. This is all part of the continued fragmentation in the TV ecosystem. And Stareable will be key in helping users navigate all of the new diverse options.