Mobile TV

July 13, 2009

I’ve been reading more and more about how apps for the iPhone, such as that of Slingbox, could spell the end of digital tv broadcasts to mobile devices.  While the Slingbox app may be a great addition for Slingbox owners, it still allows an opening for those who wish to actually receive live tv broadcasts on their devices.  I imagine the Slingbox app will be used more for viewing programs already recorded on a dvr, though it also could allow for the viewing of live programming on a place shifting basis.

The other video opportunity on mobile devices that perhaps gets the most coverage are short clips and mobisodes.   These are generally no more than a few minutes in length, acknowledging that watching video on phones may not be the most comfortable endeavor.  Again, this leaves out live tv.

I don’t have a lot of interest in watching video clips on my phone.  I’m more interested in live broadcasting.  Specifically, being able to watch sports or news when I’m not near a tv.  There are competing broadcast standards and competing interests among the wireless carriers, tv broadcasters and content owners over how to divvy up the revenues.  How much would I be willing to pay for live tv on my phone?  I guess that depends on whether I’d be buying a predetermined plan of channels, or if I could choose them a-la-carte.  But live tv is definitely a feature I could see myself using and paying for.  More so, in fact, than many other features currently offered on phones…FM radio, for instance.  I don’t need all the channels I get with Comcast at home, just a handful:  FSNW, CNBC, and maybe the ESPN family, Bloomberg.  T-Mobile or Comcast or the various networks should be working to make this happen.  Then again, that’s part of the problem, many differing interests involved.

It’ll be interesting to see how this plays out, and which of the competing interests comes up with the most compelling idea.  And this goes as well for the competing mobile tv standards as well.