Verizon FiOS Users Now Using Smartphones To Control TV Experience

Up until today, most every major home automation or A/V control application for phones was reserved for the iPhone. It felt like every major developer was only coding apps for controlling equipment for Apple's App Store, and so it's a breath of fresh air to see something like this. Verizon's FiOS service, which just became one of only two TV providers in America with access to HBO Go, has yet another notch in their belt today thanks to a new app for Motorola's Droid and HTC's Imagio.

FiOS TV users can now use either of those smartphones to control their DVR and TV content, which kills the need for a remote to do those tasks. It's the early days of seeing phones replace remotes, and with these mobile devices becoming ever more powerful, we suspect the trend will continue. Effective immediately, FiOS TV customers who have an HD set-top box and a Motorola Droid or HTC Imagio mobile phone can use the phones as a television remote control.  The mobile remote has virtually the same functionality as the standard FiOS remote, plus additional features including instantly transferring photos from the handset to the TV screen. 

Verizon Wireless even promises that the functionality will be added to more phones in the coming months, but considering that the same parent company oversees VZW and Verizon FiOS, we kind of doubt that this will be offered on other cable networks. Goodbye remote, hello smartphone control!

FiOS TV customers, including small-business customers, access the new feature through the applications store on their mobile phone handset and then pair the device with their in-home FiOS network by opening up the Mobile Remote Widget on FiOS TV and selecting either the Motorola Droid or HTC Imagio icon.  Customers will be asked to register their wireless telephone number, using the widget.  Customers can register their handsets on any FiOS TV, at home or away.

Once set up, FiOS Mobile Remote offers these features for Motorola Droid and HTC Imagio customers:

  • My Remote -- Controls a FiOS TV set-top box from the mobile device, with features  including changing channels, adjusting volume, managing parental controls and using DVR functionality such as  pause, rewind, fast forward or record live programming.  Customers can also use the handset to control the FiOS TV onscreen full QWERTY keyboard, or use their handset's keyboard to search for TV programming and video-on-demand titles or manage the Facebook and Twitter widget applications.
  • My Photos -- Photos stored on the handset can be instantly transferred from the phone to the TV, with two options.  With the touch of a finger, subscribers can flick one picture at a time and see it appear on the TV screen. Subscribers can also display an entire slide show of stored pictures.
  • My Favorites -- Users can import to the mobile device favorite-channels lists currently stored on the TV set.  The mobile device can then be used to flip through and select channels from the lists.  
  • Tele- TV Mute -- Automatically mutes the TV when a call is answered with the handset and resumes the previous TV-volume level after the call is ended.

FiOS TV offers a broad collection of programming, with more than 560 all-digital channels, and up to 138 HD channels.  FiOS provides next-generation interactive services including an advanced interactive media guide; social-networking, news and entertainment widgets; remote DVR management via broadband or cell phone; multi-room DVR, Internet videos on TV; streaming of personal videos, photos and music from home computers to the TV; and many others.  The FiOS TV Widget Bazaar is a marketplace for applications that includes a selection of free interactive services, including widgets that let subscribers interact with Facebook, Twitter, KODAK Gallery, HSN and other services on their TVs.