Verizon FiOS Plans ‘All Major Available’ HD Programming

By year’s end, subscribers to Verizon FiOS service will be able to receive “up to” 150 HD channels. This summer, the company will roll out more than 60 new channels, including at least 25 new HD channels, the company said this week.

Verizon said the lineup “will include all available major HD programming” and 1,000 HD VOD titles by the end of 2008.

The announcement did not include specifics on local HD channels, but the aggressive rollout would put pressure on Verizon’s local cable competitors and satellite providers to maintain growth in their own HD offerings.

“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, Verizon vice president of FiOS TV content and programming. “We are aggressively acquiring high-quality programming in both standard and high definition that appeals to a broad array of viewers.”

Verizon will roll out the new content, region by region, to areas where FiOS TV is available, beginning by early July.

The 25-plus new HD channels will bring the total number of available HD channels to at least between 52 and 65, depending on the customer’s location.

The new channels will include Lifetime, Animal Planet, TLC, Science Channel and Smithsonian Channel. Those who subscribe to FiOS TV’s Movie Package will get five new HD channels from Starz and Showtime.

FiOS will also add approximately 15 “multicultural” channels, much of it from WorldTV, a division of content management and delivery company GlobeCast, which previously signed a distribution deal with Verizon for top-tier international channels. The new GlobeCast WorldTV international television channels include MBT (Arabic), RTPI (Portuguese) and RTR Planeta (Russian).

Verizon will be also be the first U.S. carrier of Setanta, a channel featuring European and international soccer and rugby.