Verizon Wireless TV Going Live

Verizon Wireless was set to announce its long-awaited live-TV service for mobile phones and detail features that link up to Verizon Communication's FiOS TV service on Jan. 7, according to executives at companies participating in the launch.

The live-TV service, provided through Qualcomm's MediaFLO USA subsidiary, initially will have fewer than a dozen channels. Those will include two from NBC Universal — one for news and one for entertainment — and at least two other broadcast networks. Until now, Verizon Wireless's V Cast video service has consisted of on-demand clips from partners ranging from ESPN to Comedy Central.

Representatives for Verizon Wireless, as well as ABC, CBS, NBC and MediaFLO, declined to comment. Fox Mobile Entertainment referred an inquiry to Verizon Wireless.

At least for now, cable programmers may be in short supply on the live-TV service. Representatives for ESPN, The Weather Channel, AccuWeather and Turner Broadcasting System, whose networks include CNN and TBS, said they were not participating in the mobile carrier's announcement at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

The service will play catch-up to the other major provider of live mobile television, MobiTV, which provides 35 channels to carrier partners, including Sprint Nextel and Cingular Wireless. Channels available on MobiTV include MSNBC, ABC News Now, CNN, Fox News Channel, ESPN 3GTV, NBC Mobile, The Discovery Channel and The Weather Channel.

But Verizon Wireless is betting its video quality will be better. Whereas MobiTV's service is typically available at 15 frames per second over existing carrier networks, depending on signal quality, the MediaFLO-provided video network will hit 24 to 30 frames per second. MediaFLO's network, which uses the 700-Megahertz spectrum, will be available in 20 to 30 markets in the first quarter of 2007, the company has said.

“The video and the resolution look incredible,” said one media executive who's seen the Verizon Wireless service.