Verizon TV users can now access their DVR content from any network, virtually anywhere in the world from their mobile devices. Verizon announced the new feature as an update to the FiOS mobile app this morning, which now lets FiOS subscribers access DVR content outside of their home network for the first time. Subscribers are also now able to stream live TV channels on a mobile device, though that feature is still limited to home viewing.
Mobile users won’t get everything on their DVR, though. The company has yet to clarify what in particular will be excluded from on-the-go DVR playback, but Verizon did indicate that some programs will be unavailable, announcing that “nearly all” shows would be watchable outside of the home network.
Verizon is just the latest cable provider to implement this on-the-go option for DVR content. Comcast added similar functionality for its subscribers last year, and Time Warner (credited with pioneering the TV Everywhere concept) and TiVo have both supported out-of-residence DVR streaming for even longer.
TV providers like Verizon and its competitors have been working on the TV Everywhere model for some time now, in a bid to keep pace with streaming companies like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime Video. In a recent speaking engagement for the New York Times, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings called TV Everywhere apps the key to beating Netflix and other streamers. However, Hastings believes that, for a number of reasons, cable and satellite companies won’t be able to pull it off.
So far, the numbers seem to agree with Hastings’ assessment of the viability of TV Everywhere. A recent poll by Adobe Digital says that just 13.6 percent of pay-tv subscribers even used their providers’ TV Everywhere apps in the third quarter of this year, with just 8 percent annual user growth overall from last year.
The growth problem can be at least partly attributed to cord cutters, who have dropped traditional cable services, and instead get all their video content via internet-based streaming services. A recently-released study by eMarketer say that 21 percent of American’s won’t pay for traditional cable by 2018 — numbers that have cable companies rapidly expanding mobile and streaming options in an attempt to stave off a mass exodus.
Time will tell whether added streaming and mobile options are enough to entice users to keep their traditional cable packages. But, for now, the added functionality does add some real value for FiOS TV users, who now have a lot more viewing options for that next layover at the airport.