Verizon’s FiOS TV service has quietly been adding a number of new features for its users of late, including FaceBook support (which, honestly, is fair at best) and free VOD from forthcoming pay network Epix. Now it’s elbowing further into Comcast’s territory.
The phone-company-turned-television-provider has unveiled a trial run of FiOS TV Online, letting customers view select programming from any broadband connection. For now, only TBS and TNT are included, though other providers will be added soon. (FiOS customers can sign up here.) There is no charge for the service.
Users simply need to log in using their Verizon Online user names and passwords and (assuming they’re FiOS customers) they’ll be able to watch programming on demand.
It’s part of Time Warner’s TV Everywhere initiative, one that Comcast has been touting loudly in recent months. Comcast, though, hasn’t yet opened its trial program. And when it does in the coming months, only 5,000 select customers will be invited. (No word on whether Comcast plans to offer a larger selection of programming or just Time Warner channels. Also unknown is whether the service will cost an additional fee.)
"As an industry, it's critical that we get the TV Everywhere user experience and value proposition right," said Shawn Strickland, vice president of FiOS product management for Verizon in a statement.
FiOS has gotten rave reviews from the people who have it, but the service is very limited, versus Comcast’s wide audience base. But if Verizon can expand its distribution of the service, it could ultimately become a real threat to Comcast and other cable companies. And freebies like this certainly help to convert the company’s existing customer base into evangelists for the service.