Verizon has interesting news releases for it’s digital TV service, FiOS TV, today. The operator has launched services that provide mobile application and social networking service on your television. It is even launching an Open Development Platform that will allow third party developers to provide widgets on the FiOS service, just like a mobile app store.
The application service that Verizon has released is called FiOS TV Widget Bazaar – subtle, eh? For the time being it has an extremely limited widget selection. Users can access free widgets that connect to social networks Twitter and Facebook, or access a “fantasy football” service from ESPN. Much more interestingly, to me, was Verizons announcement of an upcoming Software Development Kit for developers. Using the SDK, third party developers will be able to sell their products on the Application St… sorry, Widget Bazaar. It won’t arrive for a few months yet, though.
The Twitter Widget does do something quite cool. It can run on the same screen as a program you are watching, much like a news ticker. With it, you can follow Tweets about the show you are currently watching. The ESPN widget will do much the same, providing live and interactive information on games currently on TV.
The final bit of news from Verizon was a deal with a selection of User Generated Content video sites. FiOS users will be able to download and store videos from web video sharing sites blip.tv, Dailymotion and Veoh for free.
From the release:
“With FiOS, passive TV becomes social TV, part of the sweeping cultural shift that’s changing how people connect with one another to share ideas, information and entertainment,” said Shawn Strickland, vice president, marketing for Verizon Telecom. “We’re working with some of the most popular companies on the Web to create the foundation for a high-quality, engaging Internet-to-TV experience that will only expand and grow richer. People of all ages and backgrounds are living their lives online today. 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.”
What we think?
I’ve expressed my reservations about the Internet on your TV in the past, and I’m still not sure it’s the way forward. The services are often very good, but the hardware tends to be cripplingly expensive. I do like what Verizon is trying to do here. The integration of apps/widgets with what is currently happening on the screen could lead to some very interesting services – especially when third parties get involved.