Sezmi expands its footprint

Sezmi, a new TV service that has been competing with cable
and satellite providers in the greater Los Angeles area since February is ready
to expand its reach.
Sezmi2  

The company today announced it has now expanded to 36 U.S.
markets, including Atlanta, Philadelphia, Seattle and Washington D.C. Customers
willing to spend $299 upfront for hardware can receive over-the-air TV stations
(their high-def main channels, plus their digital subchannels), Web video,
on-demand content as well as 15 basic cable channels for just $19.99 per month.
(Customers who just want local channels and Web content can pay $4.99 per
month.)

The service also includes DVR functionality that will store
up to 1,400 hours of programming. The service, which is available through Best
Buy stores, leases unused spectrum from local broadcasters to transmit the
channels. The Sezmi box decodes the transmission.

“Consumers are
frustrated with the current services that are available, and not just from a
pricing standpoint,” Sezmi co-founder Phil Wiser told my colleague Peter
Caranicas in February
. “It’s still hard to just turn on the TV and find
something to watch.”

Sony
Pictures, MGM Studios, Paramount Studios, Warner Brothers, Lion’s Gate
Entertainment and Universal Studios have all signed on to stream movies on
demand. NBC Universal, Turner, MTV Networks and Discovery channel will offer
some or all of their cable offerings (making up roughly 25 of the most-watched
TV channels). And all of the major broadcast networks  – ABC, CBS, CW, FOX, NBC, Telemundo,
Univision – are on board as well.

The
company has also received another $25 million in funding from several
investors. Among those banking on the company are Morgenthaler Ventures, Omni
Capital, TD Fund, Index Ventures, and Legend Ventures and a new, unnamed
strategic investor.

The roll-out takes place much later than Sezmi had hoped.
Last November, Sezmi said it was aiming to start its wider roll out by the
middle of the first quarter of 2010. 

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