Verizon's Mammoth New FiOS DVR Aimed

Claiming DVR bragging rights in the pay-TV biz — for whatever that’s worth — Verizon Communications has launched a DVR system that lets the truly TV addicted record up to 12 shows at once and store up to 200 hours of HD programming.

But how many people really have any interest in recording up to 12 shows simultaneously? Verizon didn’t have specific stats to show what kind of demand exists for such a DVR service. The telco cited a survey it conducted of 1,000 U.S. consumers, finding that 63% were interested in having the ability to record more shows at a given time and 78% wanted more storage capacity.

Mainly, the Verizon FiOS Quantum TV service’s 12-shows-at-once feature is a marketing ploy to tout leadership, as pay-TV ops try to one-up each other in the competitive sector. And, to be sure, Verizon’s new offering is a significant step up from its current DVRs, which allow subs to record only one or two shows at once.

Previously, the title of the biggest DVR was held by Cablevision Systems, whose network-based DVR Plus lets subs record up to 10 shows at once — which, again, seems to be overkill for most humans. Dish Network recently launched an add-on for its Hopper DVR that lets subs record up to eight shows simultaneously, with the caveat that four of those tuners are tied up recording the primetime lineups of the ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC.

Meanwhile, TiVo’s top-of-the-line model for TV junkies is the Roamio Pro ($599.99), which has six tuners but triples down on recording capacity with 3 terabytes. That lets users store up to 450 hours of HD programming, TiVo claims. Still, with full past seasons increasingly becoming available through video-on-demand services, including Netflix, Amazon Prime Instant Video, HBO Go, Showtime Anytime and others, there’s less need to hoard, say, last season of “Game of Thrones.”

Verizon has begun offering the FiOS Quantum TV service in Dallas/Fort Worth in North Texas, and Harrisburg, Pa., with additional FiOS TV markets to follow in the coming weeks.

FiOS Quantum TV is available in two options: “Premium” ($22 per month) provides up 100 hours of HD programming and can record up to six shows at once; and “Enhanced” ($32 per month), which ups that to 200 hours of HD storage and up to 12 shows simultaneously. Verizon will charge a one-time upgrade fee of $25 for either FiOS Quantum TV plan, and extra boxes for watching programs on up to 10 additional TVs are $10 per month.

The six-tuner Verizon Media Server that anchors the service is supplied by Arris Group, the cable-technology vendor that acquired Motorola Home from Google. For the “enhanced” version of FiOS Quantum TV, two VMSs are hooked together. Both options let customers pause, rewind and fast-forward live TV from any room.

Verizon compared the FiOS Quantum TV launch to the telco’s introduction of FiOS Quantum Internet services, which offer 150 to 500 megabits per second. But it’s not clear how many consumers have opted for those higher-speed tiers, either.

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