Why Mobile TV?

from the what's-the-benefit? dept

There are so many mobile TV efforts underway these days, that it seems odd that the real use case hasn't been outlined. A few months back, I wrote why it seemed unclear why mobile TV would be a very big market and now Mobile Pipeline has a similar article noting that mobile TV seems to fail on two criteria that seem to explain why mobile applications are successful. First, video isn't a mobile application. There doesn't seem to be a huge advantage to being mobile and watching video. This is especially true in an age of TiVo. Second, it doesn't fit with the device or the activity. Watching TV on a tiny screen doesn't seem all that appealing and it's difficult if not impossible to do while actually moving. The thing that has always struck me about mobile TV is that it really doesn't provide much that's new in a way that provides value. I don't need to watch TV now because my DVR is recording stuff back home. Also, if I'm out and about, I'm out and about doing something, not watching TV. Obviously, there are some cases where these faults don't necessarily apply -- such as commuting on public transportation, or viewing video in the backseat of a car. However, are those markets really so big as to justify some of the investments being made in mobile TV? Again, it always seems to come back to a single issue: mobile devices are primarily communications devices, not broadcast devices -- and most of the mobile TV efforts seem heavily focused on simply moving the TV broadcast experience to the phone -- which just doesn't seem that compelling.

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  1. identicon
    John Dowdell, 15 Feb 2005 @ 4:15pm

    new usage patterns

    I wouldn't want to watch a 30-minute sitcom on a small screen either. But that format developed in response to the need for interchangeable program blocks, viewed in unison by millions.
    Looked at from the viewpoint of "okay, so the tech has advanced enough so that the price has dropped" and "video is just another media type", combined with a smidgin of "service providers want you to pull traffic" and a heaping spoonful each of "recommendation systems let friends and agents shape your viewing" and "it's now trivially easy for individuals to create their own video content", and we're looking at totally different formats and packages for video content.
    I want my pocket device smart enough to continually pull small content I might be interested in.
    Regards,
    John Dowdell
    Macromedia Support

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