No, Verizon isn't quite ready to unveil the internet TV service it's preparing to compete against the likes of Sling TV, PlayStation Vue, and whatever Apple's working on. But today the company announced that it's going to give FiOS TV customers greater choice over which channels they're receiving (and paying for). Beginning Sunday, the new "Custom TV" packages will start with a $65 bundle that pairs internet service with 35 TV channels. (The TV half can be purchased alone for $55 each month.) This one checks off the basics like ABC, Fox AMC, CNN, and Food Network. But if you want more programming, you'll be able to purchase $10 add-ons with additional channels. Sound familiar? Verizon is pretty much applying the Sling TV formula to its FiOS business. Dish's internet TV service starts at $20 per month, but offers more content in small, themed channel packs that add $5 onto the base price.
You don't have to pay the ESPN tax anymore
With Verizon, customers can switch between channel packs every month, and they'll almost definitely want to expand on the core bundle a bit. ESPN is split off as part of the sports add-on, and some bigger channels like USA and TNT also require an added purchase. Thankfully, two add-ons of your choice come as part of the monthly price — and they contain more channels than Sling's bonus packs. Expect between 10 and 17 additional channels in each Verizon pack.
Will you actually end up saving any money this way? Perhaps not, but Verizon is patting itself on the back for offering more flexibility. "While this is not all-the-way a la carte, customers have the ability to consolidate and collapse the kind of content they want to view," Tami Erwin, Verizon's president of FiOS, told The Wall Street Journal. Verizon takes the same line as everyone else in the cable business when it comes to proper a la carte; the company insists the freedom of choosing individual channels would result in costs higher than consumers would want to pay. But if you're tired of paying the ESPN tax, you can now do away with it and save a bit on your bill.