FiOS TV’s New Widget Bazaar Applications Marketplace and Internet Video Service Will Help Subscribers Extend Their Online Lives to Social TV
Company Plans Open Development Platform for FiOS TV Widgets
Verizon FiOS TV continues to advance innovation leadership in interactive TV with the launch of two new and highly anticipated social TV services – the Widget Bazaar applications store and Internet Video on TV.
Verizon also plans an open development platform to permit content partners to write interactive FiOS TV applications to be available through the Widget Bazaar.
The new services combine television’s larger-than-life entertainment experiences with the Internet’s social networking capabilities to create entirely new ways for customers to connect and engage via the biggest screens in their home – their TVs.
According to a recent report by The Nielsen Company (“The Global Online Media Landscape, April 2009”), there are 87 percent more online social media users now than in 2003, with 883 percent more time devoted to social media sites. In February social network usage exceeded Web-based e-mail usage for the first time. The same study reported that the number of American users frequenting online video destinations has climbed 339 percent since 2003 and time spent on video sites over that period increased by almost 2,000 percent.
“People of all ages and backgrounds are living their lives online today,” Strickland said. “They increasingly want to expand their online lives beyond their computer to other networked devices in the home. This especially holds true for their TVs, which remain the favorite entertainment source at home.”
Analysts briefed on today’s announcement were enthusiastic. Kurt Scherf, vice president and principal analyst for the industry research firm Parks Associates, said, “Once again, Verizon is at the innovation forefront with this first-of-its-kind integration of interactive social multimedia into the FiOS TV platform. And, because the major cable TV companies have yet to say when they’ll be able to deliver these capabilities, FiOS TV will be the only provider to offer these exciting new features for the foreseeable future.”
The new Widget Bazaar applications marketplace, located within FiOS TV’s Interactive Media Guide, is launching with free Facebook, Twitter and ESPN Fantasy Football Widgets.
FiOS TV subscribers with Facebook accounts can login to Facebook through the FiOS TV Widget to update their Facebook status with messages about what they’re watching, view their own photos and view their friends’ photos and status updates.
The ESPN Fantasy Football Widget provides instant on-screen access to personalized ESPN Fantasy Football points and football statistics, including rosters, box scores, scoring leaders and player information. All the information is available, at no additional charge, for FiOS TV customers who are registered ESPN Fantasy Football players.
These applications are only the beginning for the FiOS TV Widget Bazaar. In the coming months, Verizon will add to the FiOS TV Widget Bazaar dozens of additional free and transactional applications developed by the company and other applications developed by Verizon partners.
Verizon soon will publish its Software Development Kit (SDK) to enable open development. The open development platform will enable developers to publish applications to FiOS TV’s growing base of more than 7.5 million interactive set-top devices in FiOS TV homes. The company expects open development to unleash a plethora of innovative, television centered applications.
The SDK will use Lua as the programming language. Lua is an ideal choice for embedded devices like set-top boxes because of its extremely small footprint, efficient implementation and sandbox environment for running applications, as well as its ability to provide an easy way to expose the full power of Verizon’s FiOS services.
Internet Video and My Videos:
New Features for Home Media Manger
Later this month customers who subscribe to the Home Media DVR service will have access a new “Internet Video” feature that will allow them to search and view on FiOS TV user generated online videos from video-sharing sites blip.tv, Dailymotion and Veoh. In addition, a new “My Videos” feature will let these subscribers view via FiOS TV personal videos stored on their PCs.
Both new features will be available free of charge to FiOS Home Media DVR customers and require no additional equipment.
Verizon is the only company in the U.S. to bring 100 percent fiber optics straight to the home, giving customers the ultimate home-upgrade by delivering America’s top rated broadband with download connections speeds of up to 50 megabits per second, more HD, amazing picture-and-sound quality, and interactive capabilities that cable can't match.