The telecom giant just introduced a couple of potentially very social features for FiOS television customers like myself. With a couple of remote-control clicks, I can watch Twitter streams about the show I'm watching, or tell everyone on Facebook what's filling my plasma screen right now.
I say "potentially" social because these widgets are pretty limited at launch. It's easy enough to read the update streams on both Twitter and Facebook, but sending my own updates isn’t yet allowable for Twitter and stops at that "what I'm watching" feature for Facebook. I can't respond to interesting comments, nor post anything original. But hey, it's a start.
Verizon also gives you access to your ESPN Fantasy Football team, courtesy of Walt Disney
And that's still not all: An updated Media Manager application lets your stream online videos from certain websites (notably missing: YouTube) or your own video files straight to the TV. I took part in a beta trial of this feature last fall and have been itching for the general rollout -- but it still feels like a beta-quality feature.
The video streams turn choppy when anything else is running on the media host PC, and my set-top box crashed completely while I was browsing around my daughter's dance recital videos. Turning the box off wasn't enough -- the power plug had to come out.
Maybe the video-playing feature is asking too much of my poor Motorola
But again, it's a pretty good start, and Verizon can build on this first try. Neither Comcast
A recent-model TiVo
This feature launch is far from perfect, but I appreciate Verizon's trend sensitivity here. Will it lure new subscribers by the boatload? Probably not -- but Facebook and Twitter have performed stranger miracles before.
Some more social Foolishness:
Fool contributor Anders Bylund owns shares in Disney, but he holds no other position in any of the companies discussed here. You can check out Anders' holdings or a concise bio if you like, and The Motley Fool is investors writing for investors.