Continental Airlines has contracted JetBlue Airways subsidiary LiveTV to provide a 36-channel live television system – and onboard connectivity – to a large portion of the SkyTeam member’s Boeing narrowbody fleet.

Every seat in Continental’s Boeing 737-700s, -800s, -900s and -900ERs, and Boeing 757-300s, will be equipped with LiveTV’s in-flight entertainment IFE platform, a system that has been in use by JetBlue since the New York JFK-hubbed carrier’s inception. In addition to live television, the system will offer a moving map and other stored informational and entertainment content.

Continental says it will offer complimentary live television access to all first-class customers. Economy-class customers can pay a $6 access fee for access. Services are expected to be available on flights operating within the continental USA beginning in January 2009.

Additionally, Continental reveals it will offer complimentary WiFi connectivity services onboard its LiveTV-equipped aircraft, becoming the latest US operator to announce plans for bringing connectivity to passengers. Alaska Airlines and Southwest Airlines have unveiled deals to test Row 44’s satellite-based solution, while American Airlines and Virgin America have selected AirCell’s air-to-ground (ATG) offering.

Under Continental’s agreement with LiveTV, passengers who have WiFi-enabled laptops and Yahoo Mail or Messenger accounts will be able to send and receive messages while aircraft are in flight. Passengers who have Research In Motion (RIM’s) new WiFi-enabled Blackberries – the 8320 and 8820 models – will have access to emails and messaging.

Last month JetBlue began testing this limited air-to-ground (ATG) offering onboard one of its Airbus A320 aircraft. The JetBlue subsidiary owns a 1MHz narrowband license in the 800MHz band allocated to ATG services; AirCell owns the 3MHz broadband license.

During an earnings conference call today, JetBlue CEO Dave Barger said LiveTV will aggressively pursue new business with other airlines.