If you’d like a big choice of movies for viewing on your smartphone, Verizon is now offering a service that will give you just that — assuming that you’re a FiOS user, and that your smartphone is on the list of mobile device models supported by Flex View.
FiOS is Verizon’s home Internet, telephone, and television service which operates over fiber-optic cables. Flex View makes Verizon’s TV Video on Demand (VoD) available through smartphones and PCs as well as the previously supported FiOS remote control units. Verizon’s VoD offering already contains more than 1,400 movie titles, and it’s set to expand to over 6,000 movies and TV shows by the end of 2011.
Also next year, Verizon expects to start letting users store personal videos, photos and music in the FiOS cloud through uploads from smartphones, PCs, and digital cameras, for instance.
How Does It Work?
Instead of streaming media out to PCs and smartphones, Flex View allows downloads of purchased and rented movies to be watched anywhere, even when there isn’t an Internet connection available, according to a statement from Verizon.
Verizon isn’t charging FiOS customers any additional subscription fees for use of Flex View, although users will pay extra for the movie downloads.
Customers can authorize Flex View on up to five devices per account, including smartphones, tablets, PCs, and FiOS TV set-top boxes, with all of the set-top boxes in a household counting as a single device. Once you buy or rent a movie, it automatically becomes available for viewing of each of the “authorized devices.” If you rent a movie, Verizon gives you 30 days to play the flick, and 24 to 48 hours to watch it.
FiOS users can access the movie downloads through two free downloadable apps from Verizon: Media Manager, for PCs, and Flex View Mobile, for mobile devices. Media Manager provides extra features such as the ability to organize home movies and other personal content.
Verizon appears to be offering Flex View and related services as an enticement to switch from cable TV, FiOS’ arch-rival. Also this week, Verizon issued a separate press release touting the results of company-performed network performance tests. Tests showed that customers with 25 megabits-per-second (Mbps) FiOS received “at or above the advertised tier speed” for both download more than 90 percent of the time, the company said.
Right now, though, the numbers of customers are to use Flex View remains relatively small. Although Verizon’s fiber optic network is growing fast, the FiOS service was available to only about 12.5 million “premises” (or homes) as of September 30, and actual customers amounted to 3.5 million, according to the company’s own numbers.
Also, while support for more mobile devices is planned for the near future, Flex View Mobile currently supports only ten mobile models: Motorola’s Droid and Droid X; Samsung’s Omnia II, the LG VS750; BlackBerry Storm 2, HTC’s HD2, Imagio, and Touch Pro2; the Toshiba Satellite T230 thin notebook; and the Archos 605 Wi-Fi Portable Media Player.
The eight currently supported smartphones run an assortment of mobile OS, including the Android OS, RIM’s BlackBerry OS, and Microsoft’s Windows Mobile Classic and Windows Phone 7.
Meanwhile, though, Verizon plans to support other smartphones with Flex View soon, as well as to start supporting tablet PCs.
Flex View is available right away in most FiOS markets, and it will arrive in all FiOS markets by the end of this month, according to Verizon.