With high definition proving to be a key driver in subscriber uptake in the U.S. market, Verizon has had to move to declare its HDTV upgrade, promising its FiOS service will deliver 150 channels--albeit by the end of 2008.
Verizon and AT&T's U-verse have been caught short as the cable and satellite companies have aggressively promoted their increased HDTV offering. Satellite operator, DirecTV has just expanded its HDTV portfolio and is now showing 70 channels and promising another 30 by year's end.
Not all are available nationally, and some (NFL) only on a Sunday, but who's counting? Cable giant, Comcast, has actually claimed it will offer 400 HDTV "choices" by the holiday season. A choice is say a movie made in HD and of course is entirely different from a whole channel. And of course there is the whole question of what is real HD and what is the cheap and nasty compressed stuff.
No matter what, with take up stalled at one-in-three homes, Verizon FiOS needed to be able to compete in the marketing hype game that is driving much of the HD claims. Never mind that the 150 services won't be here until at least this time next year--Verizon promised last week to begin increasing its offering in the spring with a doubling on a "market-by-market" basis--whatever that means.
Whatever the numbers, Verizon's trump card is the bandwidth that fiber can deliver: "FiOS TV delivers a true HD experience," Shawn Strickland, vice president of Verizon video solutions said. "Unlike some other service providers, Verizon doesn't compromise quality by compressing programming into limited bandwidth. Our fiber-optic network has the capacity to deliver programming the way programmers intended it to be seen."
In the hoopla everyone has forgotten that in most major U.S. markets there is already crystal clear HD channels and programming available free of charge for any one who cares to spend the $10 at Radio Shack for a pair of rabbit ear antennas to watch local channels and networks direct from their TV. For quite some time most decent wide screen televisions have come with HD receivers built in. It won't work for everyone, but try it.
- Verizon Plans Fivefold Increase in HD Channels on FiOS TV in 2008 Release
- Verizon Targets 150 HD Channels in 2008 Report
Fewer Channels better quality Report