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Verizon has introduced a digital video recorder (DVR) that will allow customer connected to its fibre to the home network to watch three different pre-recorded programmes on three TV sets simultaneously.
One TV is connected direct to the 'media hub' DVR, a Motorola QIP6416 which is a combined DVR and STB. The other two TVs require their own standard-definition set-top boxes (the Motorola QIP2500). Verizon rents the DVR/STB for $US19.95 per month, $US7 more than its basic DVR. Each set top box costs $US3.95 per month.

The media hub also functions as a dual-tuner DVR on which viewers can watch one program while recording another. The recorder also incorporates a feature called Media Manager which interfaces to their personal computer and allows photos and music stored on the computer to be accessed from any of the three connected TV sets.

According to Verizon, customers don't have to set up a complex home network. However Verizon has not specified how the STBs are connected to the DVR.

Future releases of Home Media DVR will increase the number of set-top boxes that can simultaneously access recorded programs, provide playback of protected content on the PC, and permit playback of home videos stored on the PC.

Verizon says both functions are supported by software and technology already built into the FiOS platform on its fibre-to-the-premises network. Verizon's FiOS TV provides up to 180 channels, including two dozen high-definition channels, and up to 2,500 video-on-demand. It is delivered over Verizon's fibre-to-the-premises network to communities in parts of seven states: California, Florida, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Virginia and Texas.

The latest development will increase the service's competitiveness of FiOS versus cable. Verizon says it is expanding the network as it obtains local franchises giving it the legal authority to do so. And it claims that "several independent studies have shown that cable companies respond with lower prices in markets where Verizon offers its highly competitive FiOS TV service."

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