Verizon said today that it’s launching 30 new channels, including 17 in high-definition (HD), in its Philadelphia region.

With the recent additions, Verizon said that its FiOS TV service now offers more HD content than Comcast.

Comcast’s headquarters is located in Philadelphia. Verizon also announced today that it had negotiated a cable franchise agreement that could allow it to offer its FiOS TV service in the city of Philadelphia, but the franchise agreement is being reviewed by the city council and mayor.

In the Philadelphia region, FiOS TV is available to consumers and businesses in much of southeastern Pennsylvania, Delaware and southern New Jersey. The service is also available in western and south-central Pennsylvania.

FiOS TV customers in the area now have more than 1,100 HD choices available at any time, with a total of 104 HD channels and more than 1,000 HD video-on-demand (VOD) titles offered each month.

Verizon said that it will continue expanding its FiOS TV channel lineup this year, with a major focus on HD content. By year-end, Verizon plans to offer all available major HD programming. The company has previously stated that it will have 150 HD channels by the end of this year.

Verizon also announced today that subscribers who sign up for its video service between today and Dec. 31 are eligible for a year’s free use of either an HD digital video recorder (DVR) or an HD home media DVR.

To further lure customers away from cable and satellite providers, Verizon is also offering new FiOS TV customers three free months of HBO, Cinemax and FiOS TV’s Movie package, which features Showtime, Starz, The Movie Channel, Encore, Sundance Channel and IFC. This package includes 40 HD premium channels, as well as more than 9,000 free VOD titles per month.

Previously, Verizon offered one month free of HBO and Cinemax when it rolled out more HD choices in other areas.

Verizon also announced today a partnership with Velocix for a new broadband content-delivery network.

Velocix technology will be deployed in the Verizon backbone network to reinforce Verizon's network design, offering content owners and distributors a new pathway to Verizon customers. Verizon said the Velocix platform includes peer-to-peer (P2P) CDN capabilities to meet the needs of the rapidly evolving P2P-based media-distribution industry.

The new CDN will be used to distribute content that Verizon contracts for directly with content owners like movie studios, TV networks, video rental sites and entertainment services, and also to distribute content from content owners with which Velocix has agreements of its own.

As a first step, Verizon has arranged for Velocix to begin delivering Starz Entertainment's Starz Play broadband entertainment service to Verizon broadband customers.

In other Verizon news, the company said that the city council in Camas, Wash., approved a franchise agreement Monday night for Verizon’s FiOS TV service.

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