Qualcomm's $800 Million Wireless TV Network No One Wants

from the say-what? dept

For quite some time now, we’ve been wondering if anyone actually wants TV on their mobile phones. People have had access to portable TVs in the past, and they failed. The idea of watching mobile TV on your phone doesn’t seem to make that much sense. You’re usually on the go, meaning you’re much less interested in actually watching a tiny, tiny screen in your hand — especially when the programming designed for TV requires you to sit still for 30 minute or one hour chunks. In fact, it cames as no surprise today that a new study showed that almost no one wants to watch video on their portable devices. They’d much rather listen to music, or something that actually fits with what they’re doing and what’s going on around them, rather than requiring them to find a chunk of time and sit alone. So, can anyone explain why Qualcomm has decided to blow nearly a billion dollars on a wireless system for broadcasting TV to mobile devices? The idea, of course, is to drive demand for Qualcomm technology — pushing people to adopt higher speed networks and newer phones, all of which require a payment of some kind to Qualcomm. However, if no one actually wants mobile TV, then isn’t this just a big waste of money? Not only that, but is there really a reason why a separate network is needed? We already have things like MobiTV that is offered by both Sprint and AT&T Wireless to let people watch TV on mobile phones, and it doesn’t seem like the demand is so strong that it needs its own special wireless network just for TV.

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Comments on “Qualcomm's $800 Million Wireless TV Network No One Wants”

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1 Comment
Anonymous Coward says:


First, a significant aspect of MediaFLO is its audio channels.

As for video, I think the concept is brilliant in creating a new media approach as significant as satellite TV, basic cable, extended cable or over-the-air TV.

This discontinuity will create new classes of programming which will bring as much creative change as going from CBS/ABC/NBC oligopoly of yore to 200+ cable channels today.

Consider the simultaneous changes occuring: the capacity & QoS of the FLO air interface, the link budget at 700 MHz, the screen resolution and battery life using the new Iridigm technology (which QCOM recently paid $170M to acquire), the steeply declining cost of SD memory, the explosion of IP-based video content and demographics of people <30.

Comparing MobiTV to MediaFLO is like comparing WAP 1.0 to the interface on a Treo 650.

Past failure is not necessarily a good predictor of future failure.

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