Forget souped-up set-top boxes with fancy new UIs: Verizon hopes to eliminate them altogether with a new system that uses a home media server to distribute video to all devices around your house.
In a new promo video, the company lays out plans to eliminate set-top boxes for its FiOS pay TV service and replace them with a centralized server and tiny, more energy efficient boxes that merely relay info from the server to your TVs. The server would also beam video to wireless devices like game consoles, tablets and smartphones. As more TVs come with networking capabilities, FiOS could even start eliminating the boxes altogether.
While the video points to the reduction in energy costs as a primary benefit of the new setup, it will also provide a common interface no matter which TV you're using, instead of you being hostage to whichever set-top box a particular TV is connected to. Verizon is even testing the server's ability to wireless stream 3D video, as bandwidth demands will only increase on home networks in the future.
There's no specific timeline for the media server's roll-out, though a Verizon spokesperson told TechCrunch that it could launch by the end of 2012. And we can probably assume that competitors are working on something similar as the number of devices able to access video programming explodes.