US telco Verizon is extending the FiOS television service to 2012-model LG connectable TV sets, and BP620-model LG Blu-ray players. Offering FiOS pay-TV subscribers access to 75 linear channels, the application provides access to Verizon's transactional on-demand portal, FlexView, and is compliant with LG's proprietary, gesture-based UI control, dubbed the Magic Remote.
Dating back to working demonstrations from CES 2012, Verizon has made good on its prior promise to port the FiOS experience directly to LG sets. In continuing to deploy services to IETVs, Verizon is inching toward a vision to bring IPTV to connected living-rooms that exist in varied configurations across households. With its Xbox360 and Samsung Smart TV apps, Verizon supports three devices that allow it to push FiOS directly to connected screens in the home.
Relative to its American pay-TV peers, this launch also places Verizon in rarefied company. While Comcast, DirecTV, and TWC all unveiled plans to deliver IP-video to a range of Samsung, LG and Panasonic IETVs, Verizon remains the only operator to fulfil its CES 2012 promises.
Its head-start in the market notwithstanding, Verizon's moves in the IETV space need to be placed in their proper context. Given that the LG offer is only available to households with FiOS pay-TV subscriptions, Verizon's connectable TV strategy does not revolve around launching a true OTT service, and reaching more deeply into competitors' markets. Rather, IETV apps allow Verizon to secure a foothold on secondary sets, to do so without incurring the cost of set-top procurement, and to provide on those same sets an alternative to 3rd party OTT video services. Given that the LG proposition lacks content that is core to the complete FiOS experience - such as the ESPN channel - this launch should be seen more as a market-leading proof of concept, and less the full-blown service that will discourage viewers from consuming 3rd party content on secondary screens.