Tech Briefs: V Cast Sends Video to Cellphones

Feb 21, 2005  •  Post A Comment

As Verizon Communications surges forward with its plans to deliver competitive television services, the company is also on a parallel track to provide video service over cellphones through Verizon Wireless.

Earlier this month Verizon Wireless launched its new wireless broadband service, called

V Cast, in what could be a model for what advanced multimedia and video services will look like over cellphones in the future.

The V Cast service costs $15 per month and includes unlimited access, with no airtime charges, to more than 300 daily video clips. The videos run from 30 seconds to five minutes and include content from Comedy Central, NBC News, Fox, MarketWatch, AccuWeather, ESPN, Fox Sports, VH1, E! and CNN, which offers 25 to 30 news clips at any given time on the service.

V Cast is video-on-demand for the cellphone, since it serves up customized mobile content at high speeds. The speed at which the video is delivered is comparable to DSL or cable modem-about 300 to 500 kilobits per second, Verizon Wireless spokesman Jeffrey Nelson said.

That means viewers watch video at 15 frames per second, much closer to broadcast quality than the slide-show speed of 1 to 2 frames per second at which most cellular providers send video today.

The V Cast service is a similar initiative to the video service that parent company Verizon Communications is building to offer video content on television, but there isn’t any high-speed handoff or data connection between the two services, Mr. Nelson said.

V Cast service is similar to the cable distribution model, in which a customer pays a monthly fee for a range of video content. In most cases, Verizon pays affiliate fees to content providers.

WSI Intros Weather Sensors

Weather technology company WSI plans to deploy next month to local stations in the top 50 markets a new weather sensor network with detailed, ultra-local weather data. Called NowNet, the service can be branded by stations with their logos and call letters. The weather information from NowNet can be delivered across multiple platforms, including on-air, online and cellphones. The weather sensors can detect and forecast at neighborhood level more than 100 different weather conditions, such as sky conditions, rain, snow or sleet, as well as temperature, wind and barometric pressure.

Starz! Upgrades Web Interface

In an effort to reduce churn for its online movie service, Starz! introduced a new user interface for its broadband on-demand movie service at StarzTicket.com that allows users to see which movies the service offers before they sign up. Previously, the site didn’t offer details on the different films available in its $12.95 monthly subscription. “We think it will increase the number of subscribers we have and it will reduce the churn, because people will know what they will buy,” said Bob Greene, senior VP of advanced services. He also said the site will enable Windows Media Player functionality later this year, and in about a month will feature a tutorial on how to connect a PC to a TV.