Verizon Adds Even More Interactivity to FiOS TV's Facebook and Twitter Social TV Widgets

Social networkers who love Twitter and Facebook will really love FiOS TV, which now has new ways to use the most popular social networking places on the Web.  Verizon is enhancing its recently launched Facebook and Twitter Widgets with additional features that give subscribers even more ways to connect with others while watching TV.

The enhancements include using the onscreen keyboard to send Tweets and the ability for subscribers to update their Facebook status with personalized messages.

[For screen shots of the FiOS TV social-TV Widget enhancements, visit verizon.mediaseed.tv/Story.aspx?story=36874.]

In just three weeks since Verizon introduced the new Twitter and Facebook Widgets, millions of Tweets and Facebook gallery photos have been viewed by FiOS TV subscribers on their TV screens.

"FiOS TV subscribers are enthusiastically embracing our new social TV experiences and are asking for more," said Shawn Strickland, vice president, marketing for Verizon Telecom.  "We're very quickly adding new features so that users can create and send more personalized information, in addition to viewing content.  FiOS TV subscribers can count on us to continually expand their enjoyment of social networking on TV with innovative, interactive applications that cable can't deliver."

Through the free Verizon Fios Twitter Widget, subscribers can already follow Tweets related specifically to the program, movie or sporting event they are watching; select from a list of top topics to view Tweets associated with today's hottest topics and trends; search for specific Tweets; and create and save a favorite-topics list.  With the new enhancements, subscribers now will be able to use the onscreen keyboard to log on to their Twitter account and post Tweets about the show they are watching, plus choose from a list of predetermined messages they can send as Tweets.

FiOS TV subscribers with Facebook accounts already can log in to Facebook through the FiOS TV Widget to view their own photos and view their friends' photos and status updates. These subscribers can now also use an onscreen keyboard to update their Facebook status with personalized messages so they can connect and share with their friends online.

Verizon FiOS TV's free social TV Widgets are found in the new Widget Bazaar applications marketplace, located within FiOS TV's Interactive Media Guide.

According to Shaygan Kheradpir, Verizon's chief information officer, the introduction of Widget Bazaar is just the beginning of what promises to be a deep, rich applications offering for the FiOS TV platform.

"Soon we'll be launching a software development kit, complete with the required application programming interface (API) and a platform emulator, and we will invite open development of new applications for the Widget Bazaar," he said.

"Developers should start thinking now about applications that are appropriate for the 'big screen,' not the pocket-sized screens they've been writing for so far.  We'll be looking for tools that engage TV viewers and enrich or enhance the 'living-room' experience in new ways."

Once applications are written and tested on the platform emulator that is included in the developers' portfolio, they will be reviewed for appropriateness and value before being posted to the Widget Bazaar.

Verizon is the only company in the U.S. to bring 100 percent fiber optics straight to the home, giving customers the ultimate home-upgrade by delivering America's top-rated broadband with download connections speeds of up to 50 megabits per second, more HD, amazing picture-and-sound quality, and interactive capabilities that cable can't match.

FiOS TV offers a broad collection of programming, with more than 500 all-digital channels, more than 115 HD channels and more than 15,000 monthly VOD titles. FiOS provides next-generation interactive services including an advanced interactive media guide, news and entertainment Widgets, remote DVR management, multi-room DVR, casual games, and many others. 

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