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As recenlty as Thu., 6/20, we've been watching season 1 of Chicago Fire. I think we were up to episode 12. That was on free On Demand. Now it's $2.99 per episode. That this changed wouldn't be the most unbelieveable thing, but does that change for everyone? Or does Verizon track your viewing habits and pull a switch so you pay to finish a series?
What you will most likely find is that free On Demand availability is controlled by the network or company that owns the show, not Verizon. Many On Demand programs now come with warning symbols if they are soon scheduled to be taken down. The show you mentioned is currently unavailable to rent (free or paid). The price you cite is the PURCHASE price of each HD episode.
While I'm sure that Verizon tracks nearly everything you do while using their DVRs and STBs, I have yet to come across any evidence that they target individuals for price hikes according to their personal usage.
If a warning is given that a program is soon to disappear from the On Demand lineup, you will see a small red & white yield sign symbol (similar to the road sign) near the top of the information for that program. Several lines beneath this symbol there will be the heading AVAILABLE UNTIL XX / XX / XXXX (date).
I am unaware of any other listing of this information.
Is the same thing going on with Blackish? We were unable to DVR the last episode due to basketball running late, but when we try to find it on demand - no joy. Other episodes are available for free. Going through ABC or Verizon FIOS on Demand leads me to an option to buy the show!! What's going on here?