Verizon to Stream TV, Games to Phones

Verizon announced "VCast," a new high-speed wireless multimedia and video service, at CES on Friday. For $15.00 USD per month, customers will be able to access over 300 videos optimized for the company's new CDMA EV-DO network. The new service distances Verizon from its rivals in terms of "next generation" wireless services.

The company says that its EV-DO network will support speeds of between 300 and 500kbps, roughly as fast as a low-grade DSL connection. However, trials have shown that real world speeds are less than what Verizon claims, Deutsche Bank Securities Inc. analyst Brian Modoff said in a report last September.

Verizon told reporters that VCast will go live on February 1 in 32 of the company's largest markets that already support the EV-DO network. "3G is here," Verizon Wireless CEO Denny Strigl said in a statement. "This is not a plan for services on the horizon, this is about now."

Launching with VCast are three new phones that will support the EV-DO standard, from LG, Samsung and UTStarcom - formerly the wireless division of Audiovox. LG's phone, dubbed the VX-8000, will offer a 1.3 megapixel camera with a 10x digital zoom, as well as the capability to capture and send 15-second videos with sound.

VCast programming will be available through the GetItNow store and will feature video content from FOX, VH1 and Comedy Central cable channels. Also available to VCast subscribers will be new 3D games through the service's getGAMES section.

For those not in Verizon's top markets, the company promised that its 3G network will double in size during the year. "We will deploy our 3G network -- our BroadbandAccess and VCast service areas -- to cover 150 million Americans by the end of 2005."

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