Sure, everyone knew this was coming but Verizon Wireless formally switched on its new V Cast TV network today in 20 markets. As we told you earlier this week, the lucky locales for the Media Flo-powered service are concentrated mostly in the Midwest and West with Jacksonville, Fla., and Norfolk/Richmond, Va., being the sole outposts on the East Coast. The full list includes Tucson, Ariz.; Palm Springs, Calif.; Denver/Boulder and Colorado Springs, Colo.; Chicago, Ill.; Wichita, Kan.; New Orleans, La.; Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minn.; St. Louis and Kansas City, Mo.; Omaha/Lincoln Neb.; Albuquerque/Santa Fe, N.M.; Portland, Ore.; Dallas/Ft. Worth, Texas; Salt Lake City, Utah; Seattle/Tacoma and Spokane, Wash. Las Vegas also is on the list, which is not surprising, considering V Cast made its formal debut there earlier this year at CES.
According to Engadget, coverage is planned for New York City, Atlanta, and Los Angeles, but Verizon isn't confirming when those cities will get it. And, as was the case with Verizon's initial 3G V Cast rollout, the San Francisco Bay Area is nowhere on the list. We're not thrilled about waiting again, but as Verizon spokesman Jeffrey Nelson told Wireless Week the carrier needs to clear more 700MHz spectrum, which V Cast TV uses.
Though Verizon showed two supported devices at CES--the Samsung SCH-U620 Mobi and the LG VX9400--only the Samsung model will be available for now. That's a bit disappointing as we liked the VX4900 better. What's more, we have no clear idea when the VX9400 will launch. As for programming, the eight launch channels include MTV, Nickelodeon, Fox Mobile, Comedy Central, NBC, ESPN, CBS Mobile, and NBC News.
Pricing plans include three options at start and they're more varied than we expected originally. The $25 per month Select plan gives you all eight V Cast TV Channels and the V Cast Pack service, which includes unlimited streamed video clips from the V Cast service, access to the carrier's mobile Web 2.0 application, and unlimited data and e-mail. The Basic $15 per month includes only the eight V cast TV channels (V Cast content is extra), while the $13 per month limited package gives you just four channels: Fox Mobile NBC, NBC News, and CBS Mobile.