Verizon unveiled a series of new video applications today, including an upcoming iPad app that will allow FiOS subscribers to watch the same linear programming that is available on their TV screens on their tablet devices. The new app is expected to be rolled out early next year and Verizon expects to have all of its content partners on board by the time the app launches.
There will be certain limitations at the launch of the app. At first, subscribers with an iPad will only be able to watch linear programming within their own home, which allows Verizon to authenticate and make certain that the users have access to whatever content they’ve paid for. Verizon CIO Shaygan Kheradpir said in a press briefing that the iPad app takes advantage of Verizon’s architecture, which he characterized as “cloud TV.” The experience is similar to what’s available today on FiOS set-top boxes, and takes advantage of the same software that Verizon uses for its set-tops. As such, Verizon says it should already have rights to stream the content, as it’s just another screen in the home.
According to Kheradpir, the tech work for making streams available to users on the iPad is already done, and the company is now in discussions with content partners to ensure that they’re comfortable with subscribers having the ability to watch their channels on another device that’s not the TV. In a demo, Kheradpir showed off live CNN video being delivered to the iPad. CNN and Turner Broadcasting parent Time Warner has been at the forefront of TV Everywhere-type services, and is one of the content partners that have been helping to develop the app. Verizon said that it will make the app available when all its content partners are on board.
The new app comes as other pay TV providers are innovating on the iPad and other mobile devices. Comcast, Cablevision and Time Warner Cable have shown off their own iPad app prototypes over recent months, but those apps are, for the most part, focused on remote control of the programming guide and DVR.
In addition to the iPad app, Verizon showed off a new video-on-demand experience that will allow subscribers to purchase and rent videos and watch them across multiple devices and multiple platforms. Under the new VOD platform, videos can be purchased through their set-top box or through Verizon.com and then be downloaded and watched on up to five different PCs and mobile devices.
The new VOD application, which will become available in the fourth quarter, will launch with support on Droid X, Droid 2, Windows Mobile 6.5 devices and the BlackBerry Storm. While not ready at launch, Verizon also plans to make the same functionality available on the iPhone and other mobile devices.
Since rights to purchases and videos are stored in the cloud, users will be able to purchase a piece of content and download to multiple devices. If they’ve bought a video, they can download it, watch it and even delete it from whatever device they viewed it on, and will be able to access it at any time again in the future. If they’ve rented a video, they can watch it on any approved devices as many times as they want within the viewing window.
In addition to the ability to purchase media and stream it to multiple devices, Verizon showed off a new version of its media manager service that will allow users to store their media in the cloud. Users will get 70 GB of storage to start, which can scale up as users adopt the application, and once their videos, music or pictures are stored in the cloud, they can be accessed through the home TV, PCs and even mobile devices.
Related content on GigaOM Pro: The Case For Removable Media on the iPad (subscription required)