Mobile TV: There’s Sizzle, But Is There Steak?

Business 2.0 has an article/review slamming the experience of watching TV on mobile phones…”It was the talking heads on MSNBC who convinced me that mobile video isn’t even close to being ready for the mass market. After spending 10 minutes peering at a news broadcast on my Nokia 6620, I can tell you this: The 2-inch screen is the last place I want to watch the evening news, or a concert, or a basketball game.” Some of his criticisms are misplaced, for example he should give the audience some time to sign up…but on the whole the rant is indicative of the problem that is mostly ignored by the mobile TV hypers, namely that the experience isn’t very compelling.
Mobile TVABI Research recognizes the problem but thinks it will be overcome: “Ultimately the steak behind the sizzle is industry momentum and mobile TV roadmaps; in recent news both Samsung and Nokia have announced multiple DMB and DVB-H handset designs, and operators Orange and O2 announced Mobile TV trials and deployments in the U.K.” Basically the industry wants it bad enough to keep pushing it until it starts rolling…ABI Research has released some papers on the topic, Mobile Broadcast Video Services about the myriad different technologies that are springing up to broadcast mobile TV, and Mobile Television Devices and ICs about why handset makers are gung-ho for the technology.
The driver for mobile television could come from a different source altogether. Mark Pesce argues that as traditional TV shows are pirated the business model will change to accomadate hyperdistribution over the internet (read that as ‘trading through BitTorrent’), which will lead to people watching the shows they’ve downloaded on their portable devices. As this becomes more commonplace the producers of shows will shorten the episodes to fit with the different viewing and behavioural format. (via The Mind Trap)
Taken all together it appears that it is inevitable that most of you will eventually watch TV on your mobile handsets, but the uptake is unlikely to be as quick as the hypers suggest and the eventual model and format are likely to be different to what is expected as well…
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