More choices and access on our devices, and faster delivery of TV shows and videos are all planned with new products touted this week by companies with suburban ties.
Verizon Wireless plans to offer its free Viewdini app starting later this month. The new portal aggregates your choices when you search for a TV show or video. The app will be available from Google Play or Verizon Apps initially for the Android devices that run on Verizon's 4G LTE network. Other devices will be added later and you can search by title, topic or a star's name.
But a free app doesn't necessarily mean what you find and select will be totally free. Viewdini accesses shows from various websites, cable and other providers. Initially, it will include Comcast Xfinity, Hulu Plus, mSpot and Netflix and more will be added. If you find something you want to see, you can select it. But you'll need to be a subscriber to that provider, like Netflix, in order to watch the show you want.
"If you are looking for the TV show, 'Lost' you can search our content providers and you'll see which ones offer it," said Verizon spokesman David Samberg. "If it's Netflix, and you are a subscriber already, you can go right to it."
If you are not a subscriber, a screen will ask you if you want to subscribe before you can access the show, he said.
"There won't be any pirated content here," Samberg said. "Our providers have a relationship with us. And there's no need to worry about downloading a virus."
At Comcast, Xfinity x1 will use a cloud-based platform, which offers more space for even more choices and a more modern interface for easier searches.
The so-called cloud platform has been growing among all types of businesses because it can store data or content via the Web for use anywhere in the world.
The Xfinity x1 rolls out this year starting in Boston. A specific date for the Chicago and suburban market is not yet available.
Still, x1 will offer consumers an easier way to search for listings and OnDemand shows, said Comcast spokesman Jack Segal.
On Demand offers roughly 75,000 video choices, and even more are expected using the limitless cloud platform, but the total number also will be available at a later date.
In addition, Comcast subscribers can download an x1 app to coordinate their TV viewing for their iPad and other devices, Segal said.
"For example, I use an iPad and I can use the app that will provide the same look and feel of the content," Segal said. "The x1 offers more consistency on all platforms."
The x1 will be available to new Xfinity Triple Play with HD/DVR service customers at no additional cost. But installation fees apply to get a new box. So if you install just one service, it could be about $30; or the Triple Play of voice, TV and Internet, could cost about $90.
Also, Motorola, already one of the pioneers of the TV industry and having launched digital TV, HDTV systems and VOD/DVR whole-home DVR and other products, now is going after two other areas for consumers.
Motorola will offer network DVR, also called nDVR and multi-screen software. This includes its innovative DreamGallery, a video navigation software system using the cloud platform that allows a consumer to personalize their experience, the company said.
The nDVR offers more space, so consumers won't have to erase one show in order to record another. No immediate information was available on when these services will be available.
While set-tops, video gateways and other hardware solutions are still critical in the consumer's home, it's how consumers will be watching TV programs, sports and movies in the living room or on a mobile device, that's changing the TV experience, Motorola officials said.
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