Although Verizon has been clear about focusing its efforts and investment on the operator’s wireless network and business, it looks like the company hasn’t forgotten its pay TV business.
Verizon on Tuesday announced it has started rolling out its upgraded set-top box, Fios TV One. Verizon had previously planned to introduce a new IPTV platform but those efforts came to a halt last December.
The new set-top box features WiFi connectivity and an advanced voice remote. Users can channel surf, search for VOD content and control their DVR with voice commands. Netflix is integrated into the Fios TV One interactive media guide, similar to other major pay TV providers, like Comcast, that have integrated OTT services. The upgraded set-top also supports 4K UHD quality.
Verizon’s latest TV product brings it closer in line with set-tops like Comcast’s X1 platform and Altice USA’s Altice One.
The new offering is only available in Pittsburgh, Harrisburg, New York City, upstate New York, Massachusetts, and Richmond, Va., markets for now, but will roll out to the rest of Verizon’s Fios markets by the end of January.
Existing customers can upgrade to Fios TV one with no additional cost to their service plan, though extra equipment fees may be charged. Verizon is offering new customers Fios TV One with Fios Gigabit service and phone for $80 per month, plus a free year of Amzon Prime and a second-generation Amazon Echo.
Verizon officially shuttered its Go90 video platform in July after nearly three years, during which the service struggled to build an audience. A recent 8-K filing shows that the operator expects to take a $4.6 billion hit this quarter for its Oath media business, noting increased competition and market pressure. The integration of Yahoo and AOL, which Verizon paid $4.48 billion to acquire, had not resulted in the benefits Verizon had bet on.
Verizon also axed plans to develop its own OTT service, but has partnered with established services, including YouTube TV.
The operator launched its fixed wireless 5G home broadband service in four markets in October. New customers signing on to Verizon’s 5G Home are offered an Apple TV 4K, Google Chromecast Ultra, or three months of YouTube TV at no additional cost.