Mobile Television Generating Much Interest From Communications Companies

By May 15, 2008

Once thought of as too far-fetched to be taken seriously by communications companies, mobile television is quickly growing into the next big thing in mobile media.   Recent cell phone innovations and partnerships with leading cell

phone providers are enabling mobile TV to be taken seriously, and a growing market reinforces the position that it will be a much bigger business that once thought.   Many say the market is opening up because of digitally recorded television. Recorders like TiVo give viewers the possibility to see whatever programs they want at whatever times they want.   Users “want to be a bit more in control of the experience, rather than having to sit down in front of a particular device at a particular time to consume a piece of content,” said Michael Gartenberg, JupiterResearch vice president and research director in an interview with the   This feeling of empowerment translates very well to mobile TV, as you can download particular episodes or watch your favorite programs whenever you want to. Available shows include “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Lost,” “Heroes,” “30 Rock,” and many more.   In the past month, Microsoft began selling television shows for its digital media player Zune, and AT&T launched a subscription television service.   A year ago, Verizon Wireless launched its Verizon V Cast Mobile TV subscription service, where users pay $15 a month to access a range of shows that have partnerships with Verizon.   This week, HBO began selling some of its television shows to Apple’s iTunes for users to download and watch through their iPod or iPhone, a service the iTunes store has been offering since 2005.   The currently most used means of watching mobile TV is through a per-episode download. The cost of the episodes hovers around $1.99.   Many people once wondered where and when people would want to access such content, as it is hard to find the time to dedicate to an entire television episode during the day. Research shows that people are interested in watching mobile television in most places they are comfortable using their digital music player.   A big reason for this comfort is the improved size of the display screens on cell phones and digital media players like the iPod and Zune.   “Plus, even on a small screen, when you’re holding it relatively close to your eye, it has the same impact on you as a large screen that’s across the room,” Gartenberg said.   ABI Research, a consumer research firm, reiterated the sentiment, saying that more people are attracted to mobile TV because of the larger, higher-resolution screens as well as a variety of subscription options from which to choose.   The standard by which mobile TV reaches mobile devices varies, and the Advanced Television Systems Committee, a non-profit U.S. organization, is working to create the same standard for all mobile devices.   In addition, over 420 local commercial and 350 national public television stations have created the Open Mobile Video Coalition with the goal of not only creating a universal mobile standard, but also a means to directly broadcast shows to mobile devices, eliminating downloads.   The large number of companies involved in mobile TV development show that it is a future of digital media many thought was dead before it started.   By Danny Scuderi FEEDBACK For comments on this article, email us at

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