Given the greater capacity of Verizon's FTTH network, it's ironic that when it comes to HD content, the company has so far been lagging not only the satellite TV service providers, but many of the capacity constrained cable companies. As this article goes to press, Verizon's offering of about 30 HD channels, and only limited amounts of HD video-on-demand in certain markets, is dwarfed by DirecTV's 90-odd full-time HD channels.
The company blames the content-provider negotiation process for the delay, and promises an upcoming HD deluge: 150 HD channels by the end of 2008, and an ever-growing assortment of HD VOD in all its markets. Verizon also anticipates adding a variety of new interactive features along with more HD. For example, the company envisions sports fans being able to call up scores of other game while local teams are battling, or being able to download a printable recipe during a cooking show. The company already allows viewers to add widgets to their screen that show local weather and traffic information.
For many of us looking at the TV service providers, the game gets really interesting once all of them are able to offer 150 HD channels. Then, the differentiators won't necessarily be who has more, but who has the best: video quality, support, reliability, and customer service.
Here again, Verizon may have the edge. In a recent Consumer Reports survey of their readers who subscribe to cable, satellite and telco-delivered TV service, Verizon was the top-rated provider - and the only company to earn the highest scores possible in every category.
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