LAS VEGAS — Samsung isn’t wasting any time in changing the way we consume live TV on its just-announced line of Smart HDTVs. The consumer electronics giant has unveiled at least one new app partner: Verizon. The company will deliver its FiOS TV app, featuring 26 channels of content (and thousands of streaming videos) to both Smart TVs and Smart Blu-Ray players sometime this year.
Samsung’s new line of smart TVs were unveiled this week at CES 2012. More computers than HDTVs, these sets include a dual-core processor, multitasking and a built-in camera. Apps like FiOS’s clearly make these sets even more computer-like. It will offer 26 channels of live, steaming TV, as well as access to 10,000 on-demand video titles via Verizon Flex View.
Verizon execs acknowledged that its FiOS TV service, currently in 12 U.S. states and the District of Columbia, actually offers 1,000 channels, but says it has good reason to deliver just a fraction of them in the smart TV app.
Instead of delivering the TV content though the fiber to the set-top box, and then to the Smart TV, this content flows over the IP connection from the router to the Wi-Fi or Ethernet connection on the Samsung TV. The infrastructure to support all 1,000 channels would have been humongous, they said. It’s also notable, though, that not a single over-the-air broadcaster is included in the channel lineup.
You do have to be a Verizon FiOS customer to use the app, however, and depending on the channel and content, you can access and view some of the offerings (like Flexview) on mobile devices outside the home.
“This collaboration with Samsung is the latest example of Verizon’s commitment to creating innovative solutions to simplify and enrich our customers’ everyday lives,” said Eric Bruno vice president of consumer product management for Verizon.
This app, by the way, is quite similar to the one Verizon showed off on the iPad over a year ago. When asked why iPad users still don’t have the ability to stream live TV to their devices in their home, Verizon executives noted that they “made the strategic decision” to focus on rolling out the service to other devices, like the Xbox and, now, Samsung Smart TVs, first. We did, however, see at the show a FiOS-streaming app working on an iPad, so expect that app, soon
Growth and Speed
Verizon reps also touched upon the somewhat slower expansion of the FiOS service in recent years. They reported that FiOS is in 18.2 million homes and though the company is still slowly expanding the Fiber-based service to new locations, it’s focusing much of its energies on improving services for existing customers.
The company was also recently embroiled in a just-settled lawsuit with Cablevision over advertised speed claims. According to Bruno, Verizon based the TV commercial in question, which claimed that Cablevision’s Optimum online was delivering slower-than-advertised broadband speed to customers, on an August study by SamKnows. Bruno acknowledged that Cablevision, like other broadband providers, has improved its service since then. Verizon stopped running the ads, but doesn’t sound too happy with Cablevision’s latest advertising claims.
Bruno told Mashable that Cablevision is comparing its best service to Verizon’s lowest tier. He said that, obviously, their highest would be faster than FiOS’s lowest, just as FiOS’s best would be better than Optimum Online’s lowest tier service.
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