As much love as Verizon has gotten for FiOS, there is occasional disgruntled muttering over Verizon’s lack of aggression in adding HD content to FiOS TV. Why would a service provider who has all the bandwidth capacity of fiber to the home (FTTH) get stingy with HDTV? Industry veteran Matt Stump (previously of Multichannel News, now with OneTrak) has posted a well-thought-out analysis on the subject with three possible theories:
1. Cost – Stump estimates it would cost roughly $22M to retrofit Verizon’s entire build-out (18M homes) with extra QAMs to support a tripling of the company’s HD count to 72 channels. That’s not much compared to the $5B spent yearly by Verizon on FiOS, but it’s not pocket change either.
2. Hassle – Why bother with adding QAMs now when you’re planning to go all-IPTV in the relatively near future?
3. No Need – Verizon has been quite successful with FiOS TV even without tons of HD content.
That last theory seems most compelling to me. Verizon will add more HDTV down the line, but why should it hurry when it has other differentiators to offer, including high data speeds, in-home DVR networking, and personalized, interactive TV features? It’s a bit ironic given Verizon’s fiber investment, but no doubt the operator will continue to find other ways to flex its bandwidth muscle.