Sezmi is widening its hybrid broadcast-Internet TV service to 10 cities this week -- but for now, cable networks aren't part of the expanded rollout.
In February, the startup launched commercially in the Los Angeles area with dozens of local channels, Web video, on-demand content and a high-definition DVR. For $19.99 per month, Sezmi's "Select Plus" service in L.A. includes 23 linear cable networks.
However, Sezmi is launching only its entry-level, $4.99-per-month "Sezmi Select" service with local broadcast TV channels in 10 additional markets: Boston; Detroit; Houston; Kansas City, Mo.; Phoenix; Portland, Ore.; Miami, Orlando and Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.; and San Francisco.
The company said it plans to introduce the "Sezmi Select Plus" packages with cable programming in additional markets later this year. When asked why cable networks aren't being offered initially in those 10 markets, a Sezmi representative said the company "wanted to quickly roll out their Select service offering in these markets" based on "strong demand from existing OTA [over-the-air] TV consumers."
In L.A., Sezmi's cable lineup includes VOD content and linear feeds from TBS, TNT, USA Network, Bravo, CNN, Headline News, Discovery Channel, Comedy Central, Planet Green, MSNBC, VH1, Cartoon Network, Oxygen, CNBC, MTV, Nickelodeon, TLC, Science Channel, Syfy, Animal Planet, TruTV, Boomerang and TCM.
Sezmi's system, priced at $299, includes an antenna and a hybrid HD DVR set-top, which pulls in broadcast and cable programming and VOD using a combination of Internet bandwidth and multicast spectrum leased from local TV broadcasters. Customers must separately sign up for broadband service.
In addition to local broadcast content, both Sezmi service tiers offer 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 and video from other online content providers.
Sezmi touted the addition of the "Entertainment Zones" feature, which aggregate live, recorded and VOD programs, movies, Web videos and podcasts, with upcoming TV listings into one interface.