Just as everyone suspected, Verizon Wireless is bringing programming from the small screen to an even smaller screen with today's announcement of V Cast Mobile TV. At a multimedia-filled event at the hip Palms Hotel, Verizon execs unveiled the service and the two phones that will support it.
As we told you earlier today, V Cast Mobile TV will bring live full-length television programming to selected handsets via Qualcomm's MediaFlo technology. The service is set to launch by the end of March and will offer eight channels of programming available including CBS, NBC, MTV, Fox, and ESPN. Verizon did not announce pricing at the event but it's known that V Cast Mobile TV will be an additional monthly fee beyond the base $15 per month for V Cast streaming video.
V Cast Mobile TV will not transmit via Verizon's standard EV-DO network, but will broadcast directly and independently to the supported handsets instead. Verizon promises that the video quality will match that of a standard television with 30 frames per second (V Cast streaming video is 15fps) and without any connection hiccups or rebuffering. Also, Verizon promises near perfect audio/video syncing.
Depending on the channel, V Cast Mobile TV shows will broadcast at the same time that they run on standard TV channels. Local programming won't be offered at launch, but could be offered later. And for the time being at least, you'll have to watch shows when they broadcast instead of being able to save them for later.
As of launch time, supported handsets will include the LG VX9400 and the Samsung SCH-u620. Both phones offer landscape displays for better TV viewing, dedicated TV buttons, and high-end features. Verizon said it will introduce additional models in the near feature.
After the announcement, I viewed a demonstration of V Cast Mobile TV and noticed a huge difference over streaming video from V Cast. There was no pixilation, and videos didn't look choppy in the least. And as promised, audio and video were remarkably in sync. In all, it looks very promising provided that Verizon can launch the service at a fair price and in enough markets. On the other hand, I'm not thrilled about watching an hour-long program on a cell phone's tiny display.