by Mike Masnick

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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  • identicon
    Beck, 15 Feb 2005 @ 1:38pm

    One Application

    I had a small Sony Watchman. The only place I ever used it was at football and baseball games so that I could see replays via the network broadcasts of the games. I suppose that application still applies, although they show a lot of replays on the stadium scoreboard screens now.

    The difference with the new wireless mobile TV concept is that you would not be picking up over-the-air television signals, and I would guess that MLB, NFL etc will probably want to charge a fee for the ability to view the games.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • 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.
    John Dowdell
    Macromedia Support

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    mike, 16 Feb 2005 @ 4:02pm

    mobile tv

    the key is to only offer what people will watch.
    Sports, news and weather. Porn when the screen
    is bigger :)

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    drivedog, 16 Feb 2005 @ 5:34pm

    watch where you're going

    The only type of video that makes any sense to me for people moving about is augmented reality. An overlay, fed through video glasses or something could be useful and attractive and would not be as cool when sitting still. Receiving broadcast video seems silly except for "backseaters".

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anon, 21 Feb 2005 @ 7:22am

    Like some cheese whith that whine?

    You offer nothing new in this, yet another rant about mobile TV. Who really cares? If it's really not in any demand then why worry about it? No one is going to buy it. If, on the other hand, you're wrong, and it is something people want, then you're just making yourself look foolish by constantly spouting off about how no one wants it.

    Me personally? If I had a cheap, and most importantly reliable mobile device I could watch TV on while on the bus I'd definitely use it, assuming it's not outrageously expensive.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

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