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Verizon Highlights Multi-Room DVR to Sell FiOS TV

Since Verizon launched its Home Media DVR service (whole-home/multi-room DVR) I’ve wondered why the feature hasn’t been highlighted more prominently. Cable, teleco and satellite operators have few attractive options for differentiating their video services. The choices come down to:

  • Price, which is not an attractive option at all;
  • Content, which requires difficult negotiating for exclusive rights;
  • Video quality, which can require costly network upgrades and/or compromises on video quantity;
  • New video applications

Logic seems to dictate that offering new video applications is the easiest way to stand out. Verizon’s had Home Media DVR for two years now, and apparently it’s ready to test new marketing strategies to turn the differentiator to its advantage. As of today, Verizon is offering new FiOS TV subscribers a free HD DVR set-top for a year to use with Home Media DVR service. That’s a free, shiny Motorola set-top that will let you access DVR recordings and features anywhere in the home.

Of course, some cynical folks might point out that the freebie offer is the result of a not-so-stellar Q2 for FiOS TV and telecom in general. But whether it is or it isn’t, the marketing move is a smart one. It highlights a true differentiator, and ultimately, multi-room DVR service is likely to increase the overall number of set-tops per home. That’s a payoff that all TV service providers should be considering.

10 Responses

  1. I am excited to see this feature advertised more. It is truly one of the great differentiators between Verizon and pretty much every other choice.

    We’ve had the Multi-room DVR for 1 1/2 years and it works pretty well. We used to do multi-room streaming with ReplayTVs. Moving to the Verizon DVR lost some features but is generally just as good, and the recording quality is better.

    I think one reason that Verizon hasn’t promoted it more is because the multi-room feature still can’t stream HD recordings between rooms. Not even standard recordings can be streamed to HD set-top boxes at the moment. Supposedly this is fixed in the upcoming 1.6 release to the Interactive Media Guide (IMG), but that hasn’t been released to everyone just yet.

    Maybe once the multi-room HD streaming is a reality they can really sell the whole package properly.

  2. Of course both Motorola and Scientific Atlanta/Cisco have had multi-room capabilities on their STBs for some time. And for whatever reason cable cos like Comcast and Verizon have not enabled these features, or purchased the STBs with the capability to support this. Presumably trying to keep costs down? Not sure. Nice to see at least the competition recognizes the value of this feature.

    The best implementation would let me watch both HD and SD on any TV. Don’t really care whether that’s by giving me an HD capable STB or by transcoding, but since the latter likely isn’t technically feasible the former is fine.

    I currently do this with Tivo’s in each room, and that works fine other than the fact that I can’t play the HD recordings from my Tivo HD on my older Tivo DTs. Will probably upgrade the bedroom Tivo to an HD at some point to fix this.

  3. The multi-room capability looks great, but, with only a 160GB hard drive, there is very little room to store HD programming. The spec sheet indicates that it has the ports for external disks, but, is it able to use them?

  4. @Joel I think they’ve got the HD multi-room package now. Which makes sense. “Early” adopters who want multi-room probably also want HD.

    @Glenn As far as I’ve been able to understand it, MSOs haven’t been sure how multi-room DVR could make them money. Of course, if it increases the number of set-tops in a home, that’s an ARPU bonus.

    @Chris Back in May there was a Seagate external drive that was certified to work with Motorola set-tops. Not sure if it works with the Verizon ones, but I’d bet money that more and more hard drives will be labeled compatible in the near future.

  5. [...] of the year) and the addition of video to Media Manager’s PC-to-TV networking. I have said time and time again that in-home networking capabilities should be getting more attention than they do. For [...]

  6. [...] some of its innovative television services. How many people use FiOS TV widgets, and how often? Is Home Media DVR (multi-room DVR) continuing to gain traction? How popular are games on the set-top? Of course [...]

  7. [...] Friday dose of frivolity. Motorola and Verizon have worked together to introduce new skins for your FiOS set-tops. Silly? A bit. Fun? [...]

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  9. [...] taken a while, but multi-room DVR finally appears to have gained some momentum among providers. Big and [...]

  10. [...] started in 2005 when Verizon launched FiOS. Since then, the TV operator has gone on to debut whole-home DVR services (aka Home Media DVR), TV widgets, 3D broadcasts, and now new multi-screen video applications. [...]

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