Verizon Resumes FiOS TV Guide Upgrade

After being held up for about two months to make changes based on customer feedback, Verizon has resumed deployment of its next-generation interactive program guide for FiOS TV, bringing the upgraded software to its Tampa, Fla., and Pittsburgh markets on Thursday.

In mid-April, the telco rolled out its internally developed FiOS TV Interactive Media Guide version 1.9 -- whose features include a full 16-by-9 screen for HDTVs, more personalization options, improved search capabilities and DVR enhancements-- to customers in four markets: Harrisburg, Pa., and Syracuse, Albany and Buffalo, N.Y.

At the time, Verizon expected IMG 1.9 to roll out to all remaining FiOS markets through June. That didn't happen. "We slightly delayed the rollout in order to make some tweaks based on customer feedback," a telco spokeswoman said, adding that the guide will be deploying to all markets over the next few months.

A lot of what was incorporated in the guide based on customer feedback dealt with the typeface and background, according to Verizon.

Among the IMG 1.9 personalization features are guide customization, enabling users to choose a mini-guide on the bottom of the screen, a half-guide on the right side of the screen or a full guide with a view of more hours of scheduled programming.

IMG 1.9's new DVR features include: DVR "chaptering," which provides a DVD-like ability to navigate recorded programming via using on-screen thumbnails in 10-minute increments; "multi-hub DVR," which lets customers record and manage DVR settings from any room in the home if one of the DVRs is a multiroom DVR; eSATA external storage device compatibility, available with most FiOS DVRs; and "play all" and "delete all" options, which let customers play all recorded episodes of the same show sequentially or automatically delete all episodes of a show with one command.

Verizon said improved search capabilities include a "smarter" search function that predicts what a subscriber is looking for and automatically provides potential matches. IMG 1.9 also lets users filter and sort by channel, and more easily locate favorite programs.

On the 3D front, the upgraded guide detects when a customer tunes to a 3D program or channel and automatically changes the necessary settings for watching those programs on a 3DTV set.

IMG 1.9 also includes new parental control options to make monitoring children's viewing easier, with the ability to block out portions of programming by rating during key hours of the day and schedule certain times for parental controls to be automatically turned on and off for greater flexibility.