Blog Post

@ CES: V Cast TV Launching Q1; Composite Channels, Some Simulcast; FiOS Next Gen

It’s a clear, bright, chilly Las Vegas afternoon and a couple of hundred people are sitting in a blacked-out pseudo TV studio watching Verizon roll out the next phase of its video strategy. A pulsing video is playing right now to show us the sometime-this-quarter glories of V Cast TV powered by Qualcomm MediaFlo. Verizon Chairman Denny Strigl opened the press conference by explaining the company’s strategy: “Build great content delivery systems and offer great content.”
V Cast TV: As Verizon CMO John Stratton talks up the live TV service that finally will be launching in the U.S., announcements from V Cast TV content partners are popping into my inbox. Fox, NBC, CBS and MTVN are the first on board. Make no mistake — the V Cast service will not be providing live transmission of existing networks. Instead, the content providers are creating new linear channels that will blend current programming and some original content. Pricing will be announced closer to launch, but Q1 rollout in most major markets.
The two phones are LG VX9400 and Samsung SCH-u620…pics of the cameras here.
FiOS Next Gen: FiOS is preparing an update that will allow users to search and control via remote PC. Next phase will include ability to do so via Verizon Wireless, which would be the first true meshing (my words, not theirs) of the two services.
Update: A few interviews later, I think I can better explain the network setup. Some programming may be broadcast simultaneously on a parent channel and its MediaFlo version — for instance, the Today show could air on both at the same time — , but this first batch of networks doesn’t include any that are complete simulcast versions. On the other hand, “24” will be seen a day later. For some networks, the issues are contractual ones with other distributors or rightsholders. Qualcomm CEO Paul Jacobs, MediaFlo President Gina Lombardi and Dan Novak explained to me (more from that discussion later) that the goal is to program for mobile TV prime time, which is different and leans more toward daylight hours, commuting, etc.
Also, to be clear, these deals are with MediaFlo, not Verizon, so would be included in the service wherever it is offered. No comment from them about the length of the exclusivity with Verizon. More later.