Why is Verizon Looking to Push LTE Multicast in TVs?

Mari Silbey —  January 31, 2014 — 2 Comments

Verizon LTE TV

Verizon has remained steadfast in its claim that it will not use the acquisition of Intel’s OnCue assets to launch a nationwide over-the-top video service. However, the fact that Verizon is now apparently talking to CE manufacturers about embedding LTE multicast technology in TV sets does have me wondering how long the company will stick to that plan.

As quick background, Verizon spent time demoing LTE multicast at an event in NYC this week. Unlike how most video is delivered in individual streams to consumer devices, multicast technology allows multiple devices to access the same stream of video at the same time. This is useful for live events, when theoretically many people want to watch the exact same content.

Verizon has been futzing with LTE multicast for some time, but the fact that the company is now talking to manufacturers about adding it to TVs is what interests me. My first thought is that Verizon could use the technology to deliver FiOS video service virtually anywhere. However, Verizon VP Shawn Strickland told Steve Donohue at Fierce Cable that while that move would be possible, it would take up a significant amount of the company’s 700 MHz spectrum.

So, maybe the multicast technology would be used strictly for companion content? Or for multi-viewer events on Redbox Instant? Or maybe for additional interactive features to go with Verizon’s recently acquired OnCue platform?

The answer isn’t clear to me. Donohue speculates that Verizon could target cost-conscious consumers with a low-end video service on LTE-connected displays.

And I am holding on to the point that Verizon didn’t flatly rule out using the technology for FiOS TV.

2 responses to Why is Verizon Looking to Push LTE Multicast in TVs?

  1. Hmm, let’s see.

    Put a 4g modem in an apple tv, give Verizon $15 B to play with, and download the movies you want. Hmm….

  2. LTE Multicast + only streaming things that people actually want to watch, U-Verse style maybe?

    The way the question was posed, there’s weasel room in that FiOS is technically every channel broadcast all the time. Move to multicast + demand-streaming you could offer every channel FiOS has, and take up significantly less bandwidth than if they were all in the air all the time.

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