Verizon Wireless Spreads EV-DO, Bets On Video

from the sounds-familiar... dept

Well, it leaked out earlier this week, but now the announcements are official. Verizon Wireless has expanded their EV-DO network (no surprise there, as they had earlier promised this expansion before the end of the year, but held off a few days to push it into CES) to a bunch more cities. However, the thing that’s going to get them much more attention is the plan to offer TV on those phones. Well, not TV exactly, but the ability to stream some TV shows to phones. Of course, don’t get too excited about this. Sprint has been offering something similar for a while, and AT&T Wireless started streaming video just as they were getting swallowed up by Cingular. So, it’s not really that new. Of course, on the fast EV-DO network, you can bet that it’s likely to work much better. Still, as has been discussed many times before, there still isn’t much evidence that people really want to watch TV on their mobile phones. Unlike some other services and applications, this really doesn’t let people do all that much new. It’s a nice-to-have, but certainly not a need-to-have — especially in an age of time shifting TiVo-like devices. There are fewer reasons why someone needs to watch a TV show now (with some exceptions for sports and news). While it may be useful in some niches, it’s yet another example of the industry betting that the killer app for high speed networks is about broadcast rather than communication. The mobile phone is a communications device. That’s why people buy it, and that’s what they look to do with it. Broadcast video is unlikely to be more than a novelty.

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Comments on “Verizon Wireless Spreads EV-DO, Bets On Video”

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Mark says:

need to have/nice to have

“There are fewer reasons why someone needs to watch a TV show now (with some exceptions for sports and news).”

Well, another thing people don’t need in their cellphones is a camera, but cameraphones have been doing pretty well nonetheless. The truth is, mobile television won’t succeed or fail based on how much people need it. It will succeed or not succeed based on how much people like having it, once it becomes an option. That’s something the market will decide, and all we can do is sit back and see how it goes.

Mike (profile) says:

Re: need to have/nice to have

Well, I disagree on that. The camera actually does have many useful features… for communication, not broadcast. Already, we’re seeing plenty of new applications for camera phones that let you do more than you could before. For example, take a picture of a building and get all the info about it automatically. These things start to become much more valuable.

TV, however, is a one-way medium, just designed to keep you staring at your screen.

So, I think there’s a big difference in the two.

Lynne Martin (user link) says:

Re: need to have/nice to have

Camera phones are useful in ways that TV phones can’t possibly be, but my best guess is that they will be popular none the less — if for nothing other than the ability they would provide to make traffic jams and waiting rooms more bearable.
What would really be useful is if you could send tv programming to other people via your phone. Like a link to a web page, only it’s a link to a stored tv broadcast or snippet.

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