Verizon Wireless on Thursday launched a broadcast TV service for cell phones in about 20 Midwestern and Western markets, charging $15 to $25 a month for the initial lineup from eight leading networks.
While Verizon had already said it planned to introduce the service this month, the launch provided this country’s first detailed glimpse of the features and pricing for a long-awaited next wave in cellular technology.
Notably, the launch came one day after a demonstration in New York of a planned rival broadcast service called Modeo, as well as an announcement by MobiTV, a forerunner to these new offerings, that it has reached 2 million users.
V Cast Mobile TV, delivered over a separate wireless network operated by Qualcomm Inc., requires a new handset capable of receiving the broadcast signal in addition to the regular cellular signal for phone calls and mobile Internet access.
The eight 24-hour channels are CBS Mobile, Comedy Central, ESPN, Fox Mobile, MTV, NBC 2Go, NBC News 2Go and Nickelodeon.
While most of the programming will be identical to that shown by those networks on regular TV, only some shows will be broadcast at the same time.