News

FiOS Takes HD to Extremes

10/03/2008 8:00 PM Eastern

Verizon Communications is widening the rollout of a new flagship TV-programming package that is $10 per month higher than its previous offering in most markets, while simultaneously stuffing in more than two dozen new channels.

The telco plans to offer the FiOS TV Extreme HD programming package across all of its territories, describing it as providing “the most HD programming available” with more than 50 channels included, as well as more than 200 standard-definition channels.

Extreme HD, listed at $57.99, is replacing the $47.99 Premier package, which is no longer being offered in markets where Extreme is available. Those currently include the New York City metropolitan area, Massachusetts and Rhode Island, Portland, Ore., and Fort Wayne, Ind. (In the New York City area, the telco is offering Extreme HD at $47.99.)

By emphasizing the HD portion of the package, Verizon is taking aim at cable operators, which generally do not offer more than 50 HDs as part of a baseline package.

And “Verizon is constantly launching new HD content in each region and offering a lot of this HD content as part of the Extreme HD service tier,” said spokeswoman Heather Wilner.

Meanwhile, the telco is introducing a lower-priced package with an HD lineup limited to local broadcast TV. The FiOS TV Essentials tier, which includes up to nine local HD channels, is listed at $47.99.

The 40-plus HDs available only with the higher-priced package are cable networks, including ESPN HD, TBS HD, FX HD, Food Network HD, HGTV HD, Discovery HD Theater, Disney Channel HD, MGM Channel HD, CNN HD and Fox News HD.

In addition, two SD channels with FiOS TV Extreme HD are not included with Essentials: Current TV and RFD-TV.

Verizon is planning to introduce Extreme HD and Essentials soon in other markets, including Southern California, North Texas, the Florida Gulf Coast and Buffalo, N.Y.

While it is increasing the price of the flagship programming package, the company does offer significant bundle discounts, Wilner noted.

For customers in northern New Jersey, for example, the telco knocks about $60 off a triple play that includes Extreme HD and a $5.95 HD set-top fee, the Freedom Essentials calling plan ($49.99), and 10-Mbps downstream Internet service ($42.99) — to come in at $94.99 per month.

September