Who Wants To Watch Full Length Movies On Their Mobile Phones?

from the please-tell-me-this-is-an-april-fools-joke dept

We were just talking about how people don’t want to watch broadcast TV on their mobile phones, as the content isn’t really designed for people on the go, and all of a sudden Sony thinks that people will want to watch full-length feature films on their mobile phones? Yes, Sony has worked out a deal to offer streaming feature films on AT&T mobile phones starting in May. The films are old films that have already had all the marketing life squeezed to death out of them (“Karate Kid,” “Ghostbusters,” “Bugsy”). While there won’t be a charge to watch them, they will include advertisements (because there’s nothing people like better than watching commercials on a tiny mobile screen as they wait to see the ending of “Ghostbusters”). Oh yeah, also, viewers have no control over the timing. It’s not “on-demand,” it’ll just be an ongoing loop. Weren’t companies like AT&T just complaining about too much bandwidth being wasted?

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Companies: at&t, sony

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Comments on “Who Wants To Watch Full Length Movies On Their Mobile Phones?”

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Crosbie Fitch (profile) says:

How about a web tablet, e.g. Nokia N800

I recently used the Nokia N800 to watch a movie, but then it has a 4.1″ 800×480 pixel dispay.

I managed to squeeze a movie into 128Mb. So given you can put two memory cards in it, e.g. 16MB, that would allow the loading of 128 movies (in case you needed such a large choice). You can buy small rechargable battery packs to extend viewing time from 2 hours to the 12 or so that you might need in a long series of plane flights.

Not everyone can afford business class flights.

Twinrova says:

What in hell is a "cellphone"?

All I see today are music players and mini-computers. I don’t think these things even have phones in them anymore.

Of course, I jest, but this move by Sony isn’t surprising given that people actually PAY for their favorite song to be added as an annoying ringtone.

Here’s what’s going to happen. Sony will release these movies for free. People will download them, because it’s there. Then, when Sony sees this, they’ll say “Damn, dudes! People do want to see movies on their iPhones! We were right! Now, let’s charge these idiots and sue everyone else for file sharing via RIAA.”

Call it.

alphageek (profile) says:

Screens are getting better...

Originally, I thought that watching films on a small screen would be strictly a gimmick for showing off to people the capability of the iPhone and would quickly get pushed to the wayside as it had been on various other high end phones that I and colleagues have owned.

However, it turns out that the iPhone screen really is good enough for watching films while commuting and I’ve actually started copying films in from time to time.

But since you rarely have 2 hours of dedicated time, it’s the sort of thing that you want to have locally since you’ll watch at bit and then get interrupted, pause and continue later. Which means that this rolling broadcast model is not interesting at all for a user perspective.

The iPhone software automatically bookmarks your progress in the files (and even rewinds by a couple of seconds) so you’re dropped back in where you left off automatically.

Crosbie Fitch (profile) says:

A better delivery

It seems someone’s figured out that the mobile phone network can also be used for low bandwidth TV broadcasting (to all mobiles).

It is indeed a waste of bandwidth. It would probably be better simply to turn the whole thing into a wireless Internet and let people choose whether they send text, voice, data, or video.

There’d be no point in broadcasting movies because these can be distributed via landlines and uploaded to mobile phones via a domestic wifi service (which could be made hassle free). The only benefit of broadcasting to mobiles would be for live video feeds (news, sport, etc.).

Tech Savvy London Commuter says:

Use Nokia N81 8Gb
Install Smart Movie Software on Computer
Get Movie as AVI and convert using Smartmovie Desktop
Install Smart Movie Software on Phone
Transfer converted AVI (approx 700Mb) to phone
Using headset watch and enjoy even if crammed on Londons Finest Tube Train !!
So it might be a bit small and strain your eyes.. but the quality is superb !!

Anonymous Coward says:

If you had done your research properly you would have found out that it does not use the data bandwidth, I would recommend doing some research before making a statement about something which you do not fully understand or even if you think you do.

I used this on a trial basis, the quality is good and it was quite useful when stuck waiting in places that I did not want to be at, The Hospital for example.
The tv portion does not kill your battery, it does not use data connections, there is no buffering or downloading, it streams and it’s like your TV at home minus a DVR and quite smaller.
It was also rather convenient to quite my nieces by putting on the cartoon channel while we were in the car.
The ads I saw were the same frequency I would see as if I was watching regular tv I truly did not see any downside to having this feature. It was kind of a cool experience to get to use it for a while and like most of you above before I used it I was thinking, who the hell would want this crap. I wouldn’t use it everyday but once you get to see and use it you may feel differently. I know not everyone will ilke, want or use it but I would.

Mike (profile) says:

Re: Re:

If you had done your research properly you would have found out that it does not use the data bandwidth, I would recommend doing some research before making a statement about something which you do not fully understand or even if you think you do.

Oh, I know it’s using Qualcomm’s MediaFLO offering, but it’s wrong to say that it “does not use data bandwidth.” It’s just using it via MediaFLO, which is basically a waste of spectrum and a huge expensive albatross for Qualcomm at this point. That spectrum could have been put to much better use.

David tz says:

Here in South Korea, people on the subway are constantly watching TV shows and movies on their cellphones. Most new models come with streaming TV content provided by the major South Korean TV stations. They can watch a TV show on their phone, and when they get home, continue to watch the same content when they switch over to their large-screen flat-panel displays.

This does not surprise me in the least, in fact I’m more surprised that a major player like the US has taken so long in catching up with technology that is at least 2 years old here.

chris (profile) says:

i do

but i’ll watch one of mine rather than paying twice.

the problem with a lot of mobile services is that they make sense in europe and asia where people use public transportation and are sitting around doing nothing.

in the us, everyone who could afford those kinds of services drives a car and there are hundred laws in place that make it illegal to even think about a cell phone when you are within a hundred feet of a car.

Pat says:

Nobody wants to use their phone for movies. Nobody wants to use their computer for movies – or to read books on. TV sets work well for playing movies and libraries and bookstores handle reading material quite well. Anyone with time to sit in front of a computer, or a phone, to do either one, well, has too much time on thier hands…. or no good use to either thieir phone or their computer.

Dan says:

I used my phone to watch TV

So, i know it sounds a little crazy, but I’ve actually loaded a bunch of tv shows onto my blackberry, and I watch them on the way to work. Helps pass the time, and let’s me catch up on episodes I miss.

The screen is small, but it works amazingly well. The player on the BB pearl isn’t the best, but it’s surprisingly good, and when you compress the shows they actually aren’t too big, so they fit on my microSD card.

Derek Kerton (profile) says:


The tv portion does not kill your battery, it does not use data connections, there is no buffering or downloading, it streams and it’s like your TV at home minus a DVR and quite smaller.

There are two main battery burners when people watch video on their phone. Number one is the screen, number two is the processor which is used to decode the video stream. The third, the radio, is less relevant here since it is just in receive mode, not transmitting. So, sorry, but you’re wrong, this does consume a lot of battery power.

Broadcast TV, like MediaFLO, is a relatively efficient use of spectrum, since at least all users share the same data feed, as opposed to unicast streaming, where each user needs their own data feed to watch video. But as Mike said, he doesn’t have a lot of faith in MediaFLO as a business, largely because mobile usage patterns don’t match a broadcast TV model.

BTW, my predictions are that within 5 years, every single one of you will be watching some amount of video on your phones. You will watch some broadcast, some unicast streams, and some that is stored on your device (from a PC, storage card, Wi-Fi network or similar). You will do it because it will be cheap, built-in, and readily accessible.

However, you will not be doing it in the way that the mobile carriers and Qualcomm currently expect. They expect you to pay between $10 and $15 a month for mobile TV. Those business plans will fail, people will accept mobile TV, but most won’t pay that much for it (especially when you already pay for content at your home). Only a few premium channels will appeal to a subset of customers for high subscription fees.

I currently watch a fair bit of video on my phone. The small screen doesn’t bother me – it seems adequate. What do I watch? I use Slingbox to tune in my home Tivo, and I watch the same stuff I would at home. Yesterday I was in Las Vegas leaving the CTIA show, and boarded my plane early. While waiting to depart, I fired up a 30-minute comedy show on my phone, plugged in my headset, and enjoyed. When the pilot announced “electronics off”, I paused my Tivo, and turned off the phone. Upon arrival at home two hours later, the Tivo was ready, still paused at the exact point I left it. I watched the last 5 minutes of the show. User experience: excellent. Incremental cost to me: nil. Did AT&T get screwed by me? No, I subscribe to an unlimited phone data plan, and they make plenty money off me.

That was streaming from my Tivo, but I also have a few shows stored on the phone for in-flight viewing, from each of kids DVDs, Amazon Unbox, and from Tivo-to-go.

Now, I’m an uber-geek. But this stuff is only getting easier to do, cheaper, and embedded in more devices (think iPhone and the Apple content stores). You’ll be doing it soon enough.

Bill (profile) says:

Who watches movies on phones? I do - but not theirs.

I always carry 2 or 3 feature-length films on my iPhone. I rip them from my own library of over 600 DVDs and change them out frequently so that there is always something new for me to watch.

My iPhone plays video extremely well, has a great wide screen, and fits in my pocket. The audio is great through headphones and no worse than a cheap motel TV through the speakers. It has a compact cable which allows me to play the movies back on a full-sized TV if needed. I throw the cable and my charger in my carry-on when I travel. I watch movies in waiting rooms, in airports, on planes, in hotel rooms, on my patio, and other places where I have long periods of time to kill.

As far as streaming TV goes, I will never pay for streaming network TV. I already pay Cox far too much to watch network TV and I certainly don’t do it according to their schedule. I have a DVR box to watch only the shows I want, when I want to watch them. That is the only way I will ever watch TV. I would, on the other hand, buy a SlingBox for a one-time charge and stream my OWN choices of shows when I want them. Once there is an iPhone client, I may just do that.

Media sources need to get it into their collective heads that this is now a “have it your way” society. We want only what we want, precisely when we want it, and delivered exactly how we want it delivered. If they can provide those precise capabilities, and find a way to make money at it in the process, they will be immensely successful. Google is a prime example. If they don’t provide those capabilities, we don’t settle for a half-baked attempt. We find another way to get it.

The greedy media companies killed brand loyalty and consumer respect for their corporate needs long ago. Their decade of aggressive customer-hating actions made it so most folks wouldn’t care if every company in that whole industry died and dried up tomorrow. If they did, modern digital-age companies with far more sense would step in and take it all over in a heartbeat providing exactly what we want with less fuss and greater sucess.

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