Verizon Launching MediaFLO

Verizon Wireless has announced that it will offer mobile television to its cellular subscribers using Qualcomm's MediaFLO. We reveal the channels on offer.

“Change occurs because there is a gap between what is and what should be.” — Craig McCaw

Verizon Wireless  announced that it will offer mobile television using Qualcomm’s MediaFLO to its cellular subscribers, reports the NY Times.

The service, which should be in operation by the end of March, will consist of eight channels and will include popular shows from NBC, CBS, Fox and MTV, they said. ESPN is reportedly also in negotiations to offer programs, which will be offered for the cellphone screen soon after they appear on television.

MediaFlo pumps out major power. In Portland, MediaFlo begin radiating from their new antenna at the top of the main KGW tv tower on Jan. 5 on channel 55, 716-722mhz — at 50,000 watts ERP.

The programs will be among the first full-length television shows to be offered to cellular subscribers in the United States. Media companies will receive a fee based on consumer subscriptions.

Samsung’s U620 and LG’s VX9400 are two phones that are compatible with the MediaFLO network.

Verizon is working with MediaFLO U.S.A., a subsidiary of Qualcomm, which transmits 240×320, 30fps video (as well as audio and data files) through its own dedicated network on channel 55 throughout most of the United States. MediaFLO, on channel 55, plans to go live in 20 to 30 markets in the first quarter and already has live networks covering entire metropolitan areas from Las Vegas to Chicago.

Verizon’s MediaFLO service will compete with Sprint’s Vue service which has not yet been announced. Sprint has also not chosen their favored mobile tv technology. Currently, Sprint uses MobiTV for their cellular-based streaming video.

Also at CES this week, Sprint’s Mobile WiMAX is demoing multicast and unicast tv using MobiTV. MobiTV on WiMAX uses WiMAX frequencies, not a separate broadcast channel.

The “F-L-O” in MediaFLO stands for Forward Link Only, meaning that the data transmission path is one-way, from the tower to the device, explains WikiPedia. MediaFLO’s quality rivals European and Asian Digital Multimedia Broadcasting (DMB) standards, media executives say.

Verizon’s Samsung phone, a slider called the U620, will come with VCAST Mobile TV, a rebranding of their streaming cellular-based V-Cast cellular service to the broadcast-centric MediaFLO model.

According to Telephony Magazine, the less proprietary mobile television standard, Digital Broadcast Video-Handheld (DVB-H), is being supported by Modeo (at 1.67GHz) and HiWire (on 700 MHz channels 54 and 59) in the United States.

In Asia, Terrestrial DMB (T-DMB) service (using radio towers) broadcast on VHF TV channels 8 and 12 in South Korea. The service consists of 11 TV channels, 25 radio channels and 8 data channels.

Mobile satellite television (S-DMB) uses a service similar to XM and Sirius satellite radio in the United States (supplemented with terrestrial repeaters). In South Korea it consists of 11 TV channels, 25 radio channels and 3 data channels using the 2.6 GHz band.

Of course, XM Satellite Radio and Sirius Satellite Radio in the United States would also like to do mobile satellite television. But they have no space on the dial to add video.

Last year XM hoped to pay $196 million for WCS wireless. XM would like to buy AT&T’s 2.3 GHz (WCS) spectrum which is right next door — and they’ve got just the man in Washington to get it though. Conversely, AT&T could buy XM or Sirius. They’d probably have to rejigger their satellite platform to support an extended bandwidth. But XM-5, their next satellite with two 9-meter reflectors, could be just the ticket — and good to go next year.

Of course, no one on the inside is stupid enough to publicly talk about a satellite radio takeover since the AT&T/BellSouth merger is so fresh. Maybe Rupert Murdoch or Craig McCaw would.

Luke Pensworth Written by: Luke Pensworth

Luke is the managing editor and site manager of Dailywireless. As a wireless enthusiast/consumer, he reviews a lot of services based on his own experience. Disgruntled as he may be, he tries to keep his articles as honest as possible.

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