Sezmi brings broadcast stations and VOD to 36 U.S. markets

August 6, 2010

Sezmi, a Silicon Valley venture-backed company, has expanded its entry-level television service using broadcast and Internet spectrum to 36 U.S. markets.

For $4.99 per month, the Select Plus service offers access to broadcast channels, DVR features, and some VOD and Internet video content. It requires consumers to pay $150 for the Sezmi antenna and a 1TB DVR.

The terrestrial TV service is now available in such major markets as Atlanta; Dallas-Ft. Worth; Houston; Jacksonville, FL; Milwaukee; Minneapolis-St. Paul; Philadelphia; Phoenix; Salt Lake City; San Diego; Seattle-Tacoma and St. Louis.

Sezmi’s technology delivers TV programming and VOD using a combination of Internet bandwidth and multicast spectrum leased from local broadcasters. Customers use an antenna and must separately sign up for broadband service. It is “geared toward people who are tired of paying the high price of cable and satellite,” the company’s advertising pitch said.

Sezmi has offered the premium Select Plus service — with 23 linear cable networks — only in Los Angeles, its first commercial market launched in February. Eventually, the company said it will roll out Select Plus to all U.S. markets, but it did not say when.

In addition to local broadcast feeds, Sezmi offers movies and TV shows on-demand, ranging from 99 cents to $4.99 each, from partners including 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment, Lionsgate, Paramount Pictures, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, Universal Studios and Warner Brothers. Users also are able to access YouTube clips, as well as video and podcasts from other online content providers.

For $19.99 a month, Sezmi adds a lineup of popular cable channels on top of the broadcast and VOD content. The Sezmi antenna and DVR system is available through BestBuy.com and at Best Buy stores.

Sezmi, based in Belmont, CA, has raised $75.5 million in funding from Morgenthaler Ventures, OmniCapital Group, Index Ventures, TD Fund, Legend Ventures and Advanced Equities.

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