The rush to get 100 HD channels is on, and Verizon FiOS just announced they’re joining the party. If all goes according to plan, FiOS TV customers will get up to 150 HD channels by the end of 2008. The expansion will begin in the Spring of 2008, when Verizon will initially double its current HD line-up to 60 channels on a market by market basis. They will then continue to add channels throughout the year until they reach the 150 bogey. Verizon also announced the expansion of HD VOD content.
This move further illustrates the role HD plays in offering a competitive channel line-up. Nielsen Media Research recently reported that 13.7% of U.S. television households have an HDTV, and 11.3% are actually watching HD programming. Verizon wants to meet the growing demand for HD, and it doesn’t hurt that its 150 HD channel boast trumps DirecTV’s current 100 HD channels by year end campaign. Verizon also hopes to differentiate itself over competitors by emphasizing its FTTH architecture which, they claim, allows an uncompressed HD feed. This gives their customers a so called “true HD experience.” I guess everyone else is giving a “fake” HD experience. Time will tell whether that so called “true” experience offers any true competitive advantage. In the mean time, expect to see an escalation in HD “wars,” as service providers seize on the growing appetite for HD programming.