When you think of Verizon Wireless, you may not necessarily think about them as a source of over-the-top (OTT), streaming Internet video. Maybe you still have bad memories of their now-shuttered V-Cast service or maybe you already use other mobile video services like Hulu Plus, Netflix, or iTunes.
But in V-Cast, Verizon Wireless appears to have learned a valuable lesson: if you’re going to be the pipe, be the best pipe that you can be. At least that’s what Verizon’s latest OTT offering would seem to be targeting.
Viewdini, available to Android and iOS mobile users for tablets, phones, and other devices, is a new(ish) app that acts as an aggregated content discovery tool, offering universal browse and search across multiple online video services. It tells you where you can find the movies and shows that you’re looking for—across services, so you can decide where to watch and what (if anything) you’ll have to pay to watch it. Verizon doesn’t attempt to proxy the content in any way…it just launches the relevant third-party video apps on your device to play the chosen content.
The app is (ironically) currently optimized for Comcast xfinity customers, which perhaps suggests that Verizon is over its proprietary approach toward content and apps. A new version of the app demonstrated at CES adds optimizations for Time Warner Cable and FiOS customers. But anyone can use the app—these optimizations just help their service deliver more relevant results to you based on services from your provider and, possibly, other TV Everywhere offerings going forward.
The viewdini update demonstrated at CES also introduces some welcome cleanup to the user interface and the addition of new content partners. A notable exception to the partner list is any sign of UltraViolet retailers, which Verizon isn’t yet supporting.
After our brief demonstration in Verizon’s CES booth, we left wondering, “why haven’t we heard about this yet?” Viewdini brings universal search to mobile OTT content, letting customers choose the most economical viewing options.