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Verizon adds interactive services to Fios TV

Verizon is adding an interactive weather and traffic feature to its Fios TV service, the company said Thursday.

The new FiOS TV Widgets service is available at no additional cost to customers with a set-top box. It's the first of several product enhancements that Verizon is adding that leverages the two-way capabilities of IP technology.

Verizon also said it plans to add a multi-room digital video recorder and a feature that lets customers access PC-based photos and music on their televisions. Additional new services are planned for 2007.

Verizon's Fios TV service provides more than 400 channels, including two-dozen high-definition channels, plus video on demand. In its initial deployments, Verizon has used similar broadcast technology used by cable networks to deliver Fios TV.

But because the service is carried over a fiber network that reaches directly to homes, there is enough capacity to add more interactive features based on IP. Verizon's video on demand service uses IP to deliver movies and shows. And the new Widgets service will also leverage IP to provide an interactive experience.

Fios TV is available more than 50 communities in seven states: California, Florida, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Virginia and Texas.