Verizon Communications pushed forward on the delayed upgrade to its FiOS TV Interactive Media Guide, rolling out the HD-optimized version of the software this week to more than 2.9 million households in the Philadelphia, New Jersey and Delaware service areas.
The telco in mid-April began deploying the FiOS TV Interactive Media Guide version 1.9 -- which among other features provides a full 16-by-9 screen for HDTVs, more personalization options, improved search capabilities and DVR enhancements -- in Harrisburg, Pa., and Syracuse, Albany and Buffalo, N.Y., followed in July in Tampa, Fla., and Pittsburgh.
Originally Verizon expected IMG 1.9 to roll out to all FiOS markets through June, but that was delayed to make tweaks to the guide's typeface and background, according to the telco.
The guide's enhanced personalization features let users choose a mini-guide on the bottom of the screen; a half-guide on the right side of the screen; or a full guide with a view of more hours of scheduled programming.
IMG 1.9's new DVR features include: DVR "chaptering," which provides a DVD-like ability to navigate recorded programming via using on-screen thumbnails in 10-minute increments; "multi-hub DVR," which lets customers record and manage DVR settings from any room in the home if one of the DVRs is a multiroom DVR; eSATA external storage device compatibility, available with most FiOS DVRs; and "play all" and "delete all" options, which let customers play all recorded episodes of the same show sequentially or automatically delete all episodes of a show with one command.
The guide improves search capabilities by predicting what a subscriber is typing in and automatically providing potential matches. IMG 1.9 also lets users filter and sort by channel, and more easily locate favorite programs. On the 3D front, the upgraded guide detects when a customer tunes to a 3D program or channel and automatically changes the necessary settings for watching those programs on a 3DTV set.
IMG 1.9 also includes new parental control options to make monitoring children's viewing easier, with the ability to block out portions of programming by rating during key hours of the day and schedule certain times for parental controls to be automatically turned on and off for greater flexibility.
The IMG 1.9 release is not supported by some FiOS set-tops, including the Motorola DCT700 and the standard-definition Motorola QIP 2500 P1 and P2. All other Motorola and Cisco Systems set-tops are automatically upgraded to IMG 1.9 with no user action required.
Verizon introduced IMG in 2007. Initially the telco was developing the FiOS guide with Microsoft but took the software in-house in 2006.