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?

Filed Under: content, mobile phones, movies, streaming
Companies: at&t, sony

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  1. icon
    Derek Kerton (profile), 3 Apr 2008 @ 11:22am


    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.

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