Word came this week that Verizon’s FiOS TV set-top box is expected to get a raft of new features, including a widget platform that adds Twitter and Facebook integration on your big screen, as well as the ability to stream online videos from YouTube. ReadWriteWeb has the full skinny along with screenshots.
We love the concept of social TV, and FiOS’ new functionality looks like it will turn what is now a two-screen experience (laptop + TV) into a one-screen experience. From RWW’s writeup, the Twitter integration is particularly interesting because you can narrow the Twitter feed to Tweets about the current show you are watching. It could also be a way for Twitter to make some money, as there is room for ads built-in.
Facebooking while watching TV would also have a whole new dimension, especially when it comes to sharing photos on a big screen. Twitter and Facebook are both part of a widget platform that Verizon is opening up to developers.
The online video capabilities of FiOS’ upcoming service are a bit more complex. FiOS gives users big screen access to YouTube, blip, Veoh and more, but the video actually comes from a computer on the network running Verizon Media Manager software, and the set-top box pulls the content from that PC.
The Internet video feature is expected to be released this summer, and the widget platform will be released this fall.
Verizon FiOS isn’t in that many markets yet, but a move like this should spur rival cable and telcos into offering similar services. Additionally, Yahoo is building its own widget platform that will undoubtedly offer similar social features, at some point built directly into television sets.