Verizon Previews FiOS Guide

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Verizon Communications is offering a “sneak peak” at its new interactive-media guide for FiOS TV at

www.verizonfios.com/img, touting the software’s visual features, responsiveness and usability.

Verizon will first roll out the IMG, as the company refers to the guide, in Fort Wayne, Ind. Spokeswoman Sharon Cohen-Hagar said the guide will be deployed throughout rest of the FiOS TV footprint over the course of the summer.

The telco announced the media guide in January, when it said customers in New Jersey would be the first to receive the new TV applications. Cohen-Hagar said it has conducted trials with the guide in the state and is on track to go live the next few months.

The IMG features hierarchical, tabbed menus and a search function that spans TV channels, video-on-demand titles and digital-video-recorder recordings. The VOD section includes movie poster art (also viewable in a list) and provides trailers for some titles.

For entering text, the IMG provides an on-screen keyboard, a scroll wheel or “cell-phone style” entry (using the letters on a number keypad). IMG includes interactive-TV applications, called Widgets, that offer weather and traffic reports based on ZIP code.

Verizon also claims the guide has very low latency, responding to a remote-control command in less than two-tenths of a second.

Other enhanced features for IMG are still in development, such as allowing viewers to rate programs and then providing personalized recommendations of TV shows.

Verizon initially struck a deal to use on-screen guide software from Microsoft. However, last year, the telco took over virtually all of the development of IMG internally. Separately, Comcast this month said it would replace the Microsoft IPG in Washington state with one the cabler created itself.

Meanwhile, Verizon recently announced it licensed IPG-related patents from Gemstar-TV Guide International. Under the terms of that agreement, the two companies will jointly develop a solution to let FiOS TV customers remotely schedule recordings on their DVRs using TV Guide’s listings.

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