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If you’re a Verizon Fios TV customer, you’ll likely be thrilled to know that your TV provider has finally gotten with the program and released the long-awaited set-top box version of its Fios TV app, letting you replace dedicated Fios boxes with an Apple TV.
While Verizon has offered a Fios TV app since 2012, it’s always been limited to phones and tablets, making it a great way to stream your Fios TV content onto your iPad, but not so useful if you wanted to watch on the big screen.
Instead, Fios TV customers who wanted to set up a TV in additional rooms had to pay Verizon for additional dedicated Fios TV One boxes around their home.
While Fios TV customers will still be required to have one Fios TV One box installed, every customer gets their first set-top box at no additional charge anyway. However, now you’ll be able to install the tvOS app on an Apple TV to use that on a second TV set elsewhere in your home.
Unfortunately, there’s still one small catch: your Fios TV One box will still only support two simultaneous streams — meaning you’ll only be able to use two Apple TVs at the same time.
Of course, that should be more than enough for most people, and if you really need more, you can still pay for a second Fios TV One box to get two additional simultaneous streams. In other words, you’re now effectively able to set up three TVs for each Verizon set-top box in your home, which is still a pretty significant upgrade from the previous arrangement, where you needed a separate Fios TV One box for each set.
Verizon announced the details in a press release today, which also added that Mix & Match customers will be able to choose other alternatives such as Sling or YouTube TV in place of Verizon’s Fios TV cable service, while still using the Fios TV infrastructure to deliver content to all the screens around your home.
While Verizon is a bit behind the game on this one, it’s better late than never. However, many other TV providers around the world have already pulled ahead by offering versions of their services that are entirely app-based without the need for any physical hardware at all.
For example, in Canada, communications juggernaut Bell has been offering an app-based version of its Fibe TV service for about five years now, with full support for not only the Apple TV, but also Fire TV, Android TV, and Chromecast boxes — and the service works from anywhere you have a Wi-Fi or cellular connection, not just in your own home.
While subscribers to the full hardware-based Fibe TV have access to extra features like PVR recordings, the app-based service is fully functional for simply watching live and on-demand TV without the need for any additional hardware.
By contrast, Verizon doesn’t seem to have actually expanded how the Fios TV app works. It still basically streams content directly from the Fios TV One box in your home, but now at least it’s been upgraded to run on the Apple TV and not just your iPhone or iPad.
As an added bonus, you won’t need the latest Apple TV 4K model to take advantage of it, as it’s also fully compatible with the original 2015 Apple TV HD, so it could be a good reason to push an older Apple TV box back into service.