A year ago, Verizon Communications introduced an Android TV-powered connected TV device, which one leading tech blog pondered was “possibly the worst option for streaming,” based largely on the fact that the $70 gadget didn’t give users access to Netflix.
Twelve months later, Verizon is debuting the latest iteration of Stream
TV, updating the user interface, the device profile and the silicon inside. There’s a
nifty new wall mount included, and a cool new feature that lets you press a button
on the set-top that chimes the remote when it’s lost.
And this time, Verizon Stream TV didn’t leave out support for the world’s most popular subscription streaming service, Netflix.
“Stream TV features the top streaming apps from the Google Play Store,” Verizon said in its product announcement, specifically touting support not just for Netflix, but also Amazon Prime Video, HBO Max, Disney Plus, Hulu, YouTube TV and “much more.”
It was unclear as to why the first iteration of Verizon Stream TV didn’t support Netflix. Ostensibly, an Android TV device should allow access to any app available within the vast selection of Google Play. Then again, Verizon is using the operator tier version of Android TV, which lets set-top and gadget suppliers customize the OS.
We asked a Verizon rep if that latter assertion holds true for version 2.0 — for example, is Peacock supported? "Peacock is not preloaded, but it is listed in the Play Store, and I'm not aware of any compatibility issues that prevent it from working," the rep said.
Subscriptions are managed through the individual streaming services, Verizon confirmed, but there is also an on-demand store that gives access to video rentals and purchases billed through Verizon. If users want to use another transactional service, say Vudu, they’ll have to hunt for it and download it within Google Play.
As for finer technical details, Verizon Stream TV supports 4K Ultra HD, HDR10 and HDR 10+ display formats.
It also supports WiFi 6 (802.11ax) dual-band 2.4 GHz/5GHz connectivity.
Verizon is giving the device away free to new Fios Gigabit Internet customers and to fixed 5G wireless customers, the latter through a promotion that will launch Thursday.
Otherwise, Verizon Stream TV is available for purchase at verizon.com/streamtv.
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Daniel Frankel is the managing editor of Next TV, an internet publishing vertical focused on the business of video streaming. A Los Angeles-based writer and editor who has covered the media and technology industries for more than two decades, Daniel has worked on staff for publications including E! Online, Electronic Media, Mediaweek, Variety, paidContent and GigaOm. You can start living a healthier life with greater wealth and prosperity by following Daniel on Twitter today!