Verizon announced an increase in overall channel line up, with emphasis on 25 new HD channels, which will be available this summer. With the expanded HD line-up, FiOS customers will soon be able to get somewhere between 52 and 65 HD channels, depending on their location. New HD channels will include Lifetime, Animal Planet, TLC, Science Channel, Smithsonian Channel, Starz, and Showtime. Verizon also reiterated their commitment to offer 150 HD channels by year end 2008. “The popularity of HD, sports and multicultural content continues to grow, and we’re committed to leading the industry in the scope and quality of our programming offerings,” said Terry Denson, vice president – FiOS TV content and programming.
In addition to the new HD line-up, Verizon will be adding a new sports channel, Setanta Sports, “… a premium channel dedicated to bringing European and International soccer and rugby to U.S.-based fans.” Verizon says they will be the first terrestial based video provider to make Setanta available, at least at the time of launch. In some regards, Verizon is playing catch up with HD. Its main competitors, Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Cablevison, and DirecTV are actively increasing their HD line-ups as well. It’s a little difficult to say who has the lead among traditional cable companies, because line-ups change depending on location. DirecTV, who by most accounts, has established itself as the overall HD leader. Verizon appears to be up to the challenge, and should their promise of 150 HD channels by the end of the year hold true, they will be more than capable of meeting HD competitive challenges.