Verizon vCast Video on Demand
LG VX9900 aka enV
The vCast Phone
I recently cancelled my Cingular wireless plan and got a new phone offered by Verizon Wireless. Not only did I get a new phone, I also signed up for Verizon's $15/month vCast service, which offers unlimited mobile web and lots of free video content for viewing/streaming, and a comprehensive (yet expensive) music download service.
The phone that made this all happen was the LG VX9900 aka enV. What drew me to this phone was its small form factor. I had previously owned a Treo. While I liked the great functionality of the Treo, I never liked the big size and wide open screen. The Treo does not fit into your pants pocket (unless you have some big pants). However, the enV is a very nice size, fits in my pocket, and unfolds to reveal a nice and bright 2.25" screen. The phone also sports a 2 mega-pixel camera with video, condensed qwerty keyboard, and a decent selection of pre-installed software.
vCast Initial Impressions
So far, I am quite pleased with the vCast Video on Demand service. I have had the phone for 2 months now, and the number of video channels and content (see below) has nearly doubled. The daily news clips are very good and the weather information has been very helpful already. I tend to watch mostly in the mornings, while still in bed, or if I am stuck somewhere waiting. If there is a decent network signal it can be quite entertaining and kill time quickly.
Video streaming can be temperamental. If you don't have at least 2 bars of EVDO signal, you will likely have to buffer the video several times while watching a 1-3 minute clip. Sometimes I will pause the video just as it starts to play, to allow a little more buffer. This usually lets the video play all the way to its end. Otherwise, the re-buffering process can be quite slow (sometimes longer than the remaining video you are watching). If there is no EVDO network available, streaming video is nearly pointless. It can take many minutes to buffer a short clip on the 1x network, and it usually never plays the entire video without re-buffering several times. It is nice to know that some of the free clips (like news/weather programs but not entertainment/sports clips) are available for download or streaming. If you download them, you can store them on the phone or flash memory card for viewing when you are not within network range.
To the right I have created a short video showing some of the Video on Demand menu screens, selection, downloading, and real-time streaming of a couple different video clips. For these clips, I was at home and connected to the EVDO network with 3-4 bars reception.
There is a lot of content and variety of channels to watch (see below). I have not come close to watching all that is available. There is also a lot of video content for purchase (which I have also not done). The video lineup changes nearly every-time I connect. I am so happy to see additions like the Daily Show and The Colbert Report, but was sad to see Looney Tunes disappear (maybe it will come back?). I imagine that over time and an ever increasing user-base, the selection will continue to grow and improve.
Current vCast Video Offerings
Here is the current list of Video Channels & SubChannels currently offered by Verizon Wireless*
CNNtoGO - U.S. News, Entertainment News, World News, Politics, CNN to Go, Business News
NBC Mobile - The Latest, Just In, What's Hot, Entertainment Buzz
ABC News Now - Money Matters, Latest Headlines, Healthy Life, Top Stories, Wild and Wacky, Techlines, Hollywood Buzz, Good Morning America
Wall Street Journal - Market Updates, Interviews
ET To Go - What's Hot, Star News, Brad Pitt News on ETtoGO, Britney Spears News on ETtoGO
CBS News w/ K. Couric - Celebrity Circuit, Katie Couric
ESPN - ESPN College, Original, Deportes, News
V CAST Sports
FOX Sports - NFL News, Top News, College FB News, NBA News
CSTV & SportsLine
The Madden Zone - Madden Trivia, Madden Report
SI's Swimsuit Video - Sexy Savers 2 for 1, Sizzling Hot Clips
YouTube - Sports, News, More Videos, Entertainment, People
Revver - Animation, Laughs, Editor's Picks, Cute Overdose, Viral Video Classic
V CAST Showcase - The OC, People's Choice, Stand-Up, Supernatural, SmashBrain, Jib Jab, The Tonight Show, Movie Trailers, Ugly Betty Telenovela, Sls Riffs of Reilly, Estrellas del Futuro, V CAST This Week, Extra
Music Videos - Pop, Rock, R&B, Rap Hip-Hop, Country, Latin, Reggae, V CAST Performance
CBS To Go - Comedy, Action-Drama, Retro Cafe, David Letterman, Wee Man's All Work and No Play!, New Show and Retro Gold
E! - E! News & Gossip, E! Shows, Movies, Wild Zone
AtomFilms - Star Wars Fan Films, Comedy, Animation
ABC - Jimmy Kimmel, The View, Brothers & Sisters
Sesame Street - Sesame Favorites, Plaza Sésamo
Heavy - Suck Countdown, Heavy Petting, Pranking the Suburb, Music that Sucks
Comedy Central - Stand-Up, What's On, The Colbert Report, The Daily Show, Mobile Shows, South Park
VH1 - Web Junk 20, Best Week Ever, VH1 Music, VH1 News, VH1 Originals
MTV, MTV2, mtvU - MTV Daily News, News Today, Shows, Music
Fox - Simpsons & More, Prison Break, 24, Funny Stuff, Bones, House, Clip of the Week
Just For Laughs - Gags, Stand-up Stars, Comedy Jam
Nickelodeon - Nick Jr., Nick
Comedy Time - Funnysodes, Stand-Up Showcase, Latino Stand-Up, Urban Stand-Up
Cartoon Network - Foster's Home, Class of 3000, IMP, Naughty Naughty Pet, Gym Partner
Adult Swim - Sealab, Robot Chicken, Aqua Teen Hunger Force, Home Movies, Squidbillies, Harvey Birdman
AccuWeather.com - Breaking Weather, V CAST National, Weather Humor, Regional Forecasts, Cities
The Weather Channel - Local Forecasts, National Forecasts, Severe Weather
* This is what was listed on the evening of January 8, 2007. Updated listings can be found by clicking here >