August 14, 2006 9:48 AM PDT
Verizon adds multiroom DVR
The new multiroom DVR, made by Motorola, lets customers view recorded programs on up to three televisions at once. The media hub, called the Home Media DVR, also functions as a dual-tuner DVR, which allows customers to watch one program while recording another.
Customers using the multiroom DVR will pay $19.95 per month, plus $3.95 per month for each standard-definition set-top box that will be used to receive recorded video from the DVR.
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Verizon has bundled the recording function with software it calls Media Manager, a new feature that lets customers access photos and music stored on their personal computer and play them on their televisions. For now, copyright-protected content, such as movies and music, will not be accessible through the Home Media DVR.
But Verizon expects in future releases to add playback of protected content. The company also plans to increase the number of set-top boxes that can simultaneously access the Home Media DVR to watch recorded programs and to permit playback of home videos stored on PCs.
Verizon is delivering the new TV service over a fiber network it's building throughout its territory. The network, called Fios, reaches directly to the side of a customer's home, bringing customers nearly limitless bandwidth capacity. The company is spending about $20 billion over the next few years to build this network, which should reach roughly 16 million homes once complete.
Verizon's Fios TV service is a key component in its fight to compete with cable operators, which have added telephone service to their bundle of TV and broadband services.
Verizon is now offering its TV service in parts of seven states: California, Florida, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Virginia and Texas. The phone company is adding new cities and states to its TV network as it obtains local video franchises.
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