Verizon Upgrades its FiOS TV Interactive Media Guide

In a posting on a Verizon blog, Wednesday, the company's SVP of media relations, Eric Rabe, announced that it is upgrading its FiOS TV Interactive Media Guide in order to "make on-screen purchasing and navigation faster and easier." According to Rabe, the upgrade was in response to feedback from FiOS TV customers: "FiOS TV customers wanted more detailed program information, interactive video-on-demand, more shortcuts and easier ways to upgrade their FiOS TV, and I'm happy to say the folks in the FiOS lab have come up with some pretty neat responses," he wrote.

Among other things, the upgrade--which is currently being rolled out in Texas and California and which is slated to be rolled out in every FiOS market over the next few months--will allow viewers to see the original air date of a show (alongside information on cast, genre, director and plot/content). "In an age when programs run more than once and when many folks use DVR's to watch favorite programs regularly, this should make it easier to know whether or not you've seen an episode," Rabe wrote.

In addition, when viewers tune to an ESPN pay-per-view offering, such as GamePlan or NBA Full Court Pass, and see a "You are not subscribed" message on the screen, they can now "just click 'OK' on the remote and order within minutes," Rabe wrote. And viewers who are looking to rent a VOD movie are presented with two new features: "Recommendations for You" (recommends other titles "based strictly," Rabe wrote, on movies the viewer has rented in the past) and "More Like This" (invites viewers who have clicked on a VOD title for a preview to click an on-screen button to see additional VOD titles in a similar genre or starring the same actors).

Also, Rabe wrote, viewers looking for additional parental control features for VOD can now lock certain ratings, hide adult titles or activate the parental control PIN without leaving the show they are currently watching. Finally, the Interactive Media Guide upgrade also activates a shortcut button on the FiOS TV remote control: according to Rabe, pushing the button now brings up a brief menu of some of the service's more popular features, making it faster and easier to set parental controls, block specific channels, see a list of times when a program will be aired again, or record a program.