Verizon just announced that it is planning to stream live FiOS TV to mobile devices, including Apple’s iPad. The announcement reflects Verizon’s goal for mobile devices to one day equal and then surpass current television.
As demonstrated today, FiOS customers will eventually be able to browse a channel selection indistinguishable from what they’d otherwise view on their television—though Verizon touted their “What’s Hot” iPad app, a mosaic view of what other FiOS customers in your area are watching, updated every five minutes. Content would be piped in via WiFi directly from FiOS, without the need for an intermediary streaming device a la Slingbox. Although Verizon CIO Shaygan Kheradpir was hot on Apple, praising the iPad’s live TV capabilities as a realization of “why [they] built FiOS,” the company emphasized that their new service would be available across all platforms.
A timeframe for the live TV service remained murky—Verizon reps at the event refused to specify a release by even next year’s time, pinning the delay on pending negotiations with content providers. The company was murkier still on the policy implications of the service with regards to recent net neutrality turmoil—as the thought of a dedicated mobile television service for FiOS customers resonates with anyone who feared the Google/Verizon proposal cleared the way for a non-neutral “second-internet.” No comment was given on whether you’d be able to, say, watch TV on your iPad over your girlfriend’s connect, if you’re a FiOS subscriber but she isn’t. The company stated that “ideally,” rival ISPs wouldn’t be discriminated against, but refused to comment further.