March 5, 2007
V CAST Mobile TV Launches in 20 Markets

Plans for mobile television capabilities have expanded, now that V CAST has launched a mobile television service in 20 American markets. The product comes along with the full V CAST plan, which includes mobile Internet and video clips, for a package of $25 a month or costs $15 a month on its own. The launch took place last Thursday.

Initially, V CAST Mobile TV will offer eight channels of television content, featuring content from C3 partner MTV Networks, as well as CBS, NBC, and Fox, among others.

Markets who feature the technology initially will not include usual suspects like NYC and LA but rather major cities in Colorado, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Oregon, Washington, Nebraska, Utah, Kansas, Nevada, Illinois, Virginia, Minnesota, and Missouri, as well as Palm Springs, California, and Jacksonville, Florida.

According to a story by Kelly Hill of RCR Wireless News that appeared on TelevisionWeek's Web site, these markets were chosen primarily by where distribution network MediaFLO USA currently had spectrum rights and the appropriate infrastructure. The story points out, "Qualcomm's MediaFLO effort is spending $800 million to build out markets where it owns spectrum."

Hill writes, "Wireless carriers have dabbled in mobile TV offerings, whether through live services running at slower speeds from MobiTV or from video clips from certain shows, like Jay Leno's monologue from the Tonight Show. But today's launch marks the beginning of a full-fledged effort for carriers to offer robust TV services to their customers."

RCR Wireless News is largely a premium subscription-based news service.

The mobile TV service is available on one particular Samsung phone right now, but Verizon is expected to launch another mobile TV phone soon from LG Electronics.

The company's initial press release about the service from Jeffrey Nelson provides much more information. According to the press release, "the programming will be presented in 'time block'/scheduled availability, consistent with familiar cable and satellite TV models, in both Eastern and Pacific Time zones.

Staci D. Kramer at MocoNews provides a detailed consumer response to the V CAST service. Staci writes:

When you have a real choice, odds are you're going for the large screen. But this is a high-quality option for place shifting as long as one of the limited channels is what you want. This is likely to be popular with travelers as long as battery life holds and coverage is wide enough. Will it have appeal for others? Quite possibly for anyone who spends significant time away from their home set and doesn't want to use Slingbox Mobile or other options--and who's willing to up their monthly viewing bill.

See my previous writing about V CAST services here.

Also, see this recent piece about MobiTV's announcement of reaching 2 million viewers.