Today, Verizon Wireless announced it’s Mobile television service in fifteen markets west of the Mississippi, the first such service in the American market. Verizon’s V Cast Mobile TV service doesn’t use cellular frequencies. Instead, a broadcast television transmitters on channel 55 on the 700 MHz band have been installed in cities across the country.
It offers up to eight tv channels including NBC and NBC News, Fox, MTV, Comedy Central, CBS, Nickelodeon, and ESPN, mobile versions of the network channels.
The service is available in a limited package, which gives you four channels for $13 per month, a basic package that offers all eight channels for $15, and a select package that offers all eight channels, plus unlimited access to the mobile Web and Verizon’s V Cast Video service, for $25.
A special phone is required to pick up the signals explains InfoSynch. The only phone so far available for the service is Samsung’s U620 phone which will sell for $199, or $149.99 with a two-year contract. Verizon plans to add an LG swivel phone in a few weeks.
Currently, the markets with access to the V Cast Mobile TV service include Chicago, Dallas, Denver, New Orleans, Las Vegas, Portland, Salt Lake City, and Seattle, as well as many smaller cities.
The big news is that the FCC has approved Modeo’s request to boost signal power by 10 times in urban markets and 20 times in rural areas, giving the company a much easier path to coverage rollout and better signal quality.
Modeo also mentioned that while it’s currently testing service in NYC only, it has designs already in place for moving into the top 30 markets in the US. We also got our hands on upcoming DVB-H SD and mini-PCI cards, with the SD cards up and running in a myriad of Pocket PC devices, and the mini-PCI card running smooth — though rather pixelated — video on a Dell laptop.
The next move for Modeo is to get channel changing time under 2 seconds, continue to improve video quality, add PVR and mediacasting capabilities, and stick interactivity into the programming. Modeo’s software partner Penthera already had most of those capabilities up and running on demo unit
The third national mobile tv competitor, Aloha Partner‘s HiWire also intends to use the DVB-H mobile tv standard on two 6 Mhz wide channels, UHF channel 54 and 59, which they bought cheap at the FCC’s lower 700 MHz auction 5 years ago.
Chuck Townsend’s HiWire, has yet to make any big splash. What with all the action around 700 MHz for two way radios, perhaps it’s understandable.
Related DailyWireless Mobile TV articles include; Mobile TV: Six Flavors, Verizon Launching MediaFLO, Modeo’s NYC Mobile TV Delayed, Hiwire Moves on Mobile TV, Zune Phone Goes WiMAX?, Sprint to Demo Mobile WiMAX at CES, MobiTV + NDS = Content Management, Verizon Wireless Does YouTube, Modeo in NYC, UK Tests TDtv, T-Mobile: 3G, No FLO, Mobile TV Metrics and HDTV from Aircraft.