Verizon Targets FiOS TV Media Gateway For Late 2012

Verizon Communications plans to deploy an IP-enabled media gateway for FiOS TV customers late next year that promises to cut energy consumption and distribute video wirelessly to multiple devices in the home, including tablets and game consoles.

The telco developed the gateway with Motorola at Verizon's Innovation Labs in Waltham, Mass. Verizon has not announced specific timing on the availability of the new device or pricing, according to spokesman Phil Santoro.

Along with the media gateway, the telco will distribute smaller set-top boxes -- which eventually be small enough to Velcro to the back of a TV, Verizon director of technology Tushar Saxena said in a video about the project.

The gateway and IP set-tops will be more energy-efficient than conventional set-tops, according to Verizon. The telco says that in 2011, more than 70% of the FiOS TV set-top boxes installed were Energy Star certified models that use about 30% less energy in customer than older boxes. Currently, all of the set-top boxes Verizon orders are certified under the Environmental Protection Agency's Energy Star guidelines for set-tops.

As an example of the kinds of services the gateway will enable, Verizon pointed to the app it released earlier this month for Microsoft's Xbox 360 game console that lets FiOS TV customers access 26 live TV channels.

In another project at the Waltham labs, Verizon set up an 802.11n Wi-Fi router that can send a full 3D HD signal -- encoded at 40 Megabits per second -- sent through sheetrock and steel walls to a receive 200 feet away.

Cable operators, including Charter Communications and Liberty Global, also are gearing up to deploy residential home gateways that will deliver IP video to multiple devices and reduce energy consumption.