Updated: Photos On the TV? Yeah, Cable Can Do It

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Verizon is touting a new FiOS TV “widget” that lets subscribers access Kodak Gallery photos and slideshows on their TV sets. That’s in addition to providing access to photos stored on a PC through the Media Manager premium service.

The telco claims it’s “yet another feature old-fashioned cable can’t deliver.”

Actually, Time Warner Cable, for one, introduced such a feature three years ago in Hawaii — and that service goes even further than FiOS TV’s current capabilities, by letting friends and family watch slideshows on a dedicated VOD channel. You can find a description of the service, free to subs who take cable TV and broadband, here.

The MSO debuted Simple Star’s PhotoShow TV in its Oceanic division in August 2006. Since then, Time Warner Cable has rolled out PhotoShow TV in 15 more markets, including Albany, Binghamton, Buffalo, central Texas, Dallas, Hudson Valley, Rochester, San Antonio, San Diego, South Carolina, southwest Ohio and Staten Island.

AT&T, by the way, also this week announced media-sharing features for U-verse TV to let users view personal photos or listen to music playlists on TV. The feature works only with Windows XP or Vista and requires Windows Media Player 11 (see U-verse TV Adds ‘Multiview,’ PC-to-TV Sharing Features).

UPDATE: Verizon thought my comparison between the Kodak Gallery widget and TWC’s PhotoShow TV missed the point. In an e-mail, spokeswoman Bobbi Henson noted that PhotoShow TV requires users to manage photos via your computer, and not via your TV. “With FiOS, you can manage your Kodak Widget, Media Manager streaming or Facebook photo viewing onscreen by using your remote control,” she wrote.

Henson also pointed out some limitations of the TWC service which, to me, are a bigger deal.

Specifically, according to the PhotoShow TV FAQ, the slideshows “should air within a week of submission, but it may take longer depending upon participation, so please be patient.” TWC says it must approve the slideshow to make sure it’s suitable for broadcast on PhotoShow TV, before you’re sent an e-mail indicating when the PhotoShow will be available for TV viewing. Slideshows on the service “will be available for a minimum of three days. Depending upon the number of shows available, your PhotoShow may be on the air for longer than three days.”

You have wait a week — or more (”please be patient“) — to share your photos? Well, I must admit: that certainly makes this service a lot less cool than FiOS’s Kodak widget.

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