Verizon has just announced that Fios customers will now be able to "stream nearly all of their DVR-recorded shows from anywhere they have an Internet connection." The change is notable if only because cable companies had made it a habit to only allow streaming locally on your own Wi-Fi network, instead of letting you just do it anywhere. The new service comes in addition to the ability to stream live TV in the Fios app on phones and tablets — but only while at home.
Comcast, by way of comparison, provides basically the same level of services on its smorgasbord of apps, with the added benefit of downloading shows so you can watch them anywhere offline. But there's a caveat with Comcast, too: its app only lets you do all that when you're "anywhere in your home," not anywhere you can find Wi-Fi. Comcast does have another app called "TV Go" which does let you stream some live TV when you're away. Dish has its Dish Anywhere app which also lets you stream DVR and live TV while on the go, but again with certain limitations for some shows.
There are still limitations to streaming television
Verizon's new feature is already rolling out and should hit all of its markets today. But those markets are significantly smaller and fewer than many would like — Verizon has weaseled out of a deal to finish its New York build out and been rebuked by mayors around the country for stalled rollouts.
There's also the matter of the "nearly all" proviso attached to the streaming of DVR shows — Verizon isn't saying what can't be streamed, but if I had to guess I'd probably point a finger at the NFL. That's on top of the fact that Fios' streaming of live TV is also limited to the home. That's the way of live TV streaming: it's a frothy mix of rights and limitations that aren't easily untangled by even the most powerful cable and technology companies. That confusion is going to continue to be reflected in consumer apps for the foreseeable future.