You'll learn to love mobile TV
Or the kitten dies
Comment Prophets predict the mobile phone will kill the fixed line and the internet will kill newspapers.
What usually happens is the old systems shuffle up to make space. Nothing dies. Television didn't kill cinema, cinema didn't kill theatres. The internet means newspapers carry less advertising and some things, like stock prices, disappear from the pages, but they remain the favourite reading in bed on a Sunday. Very little goes the way of the LP record and the typewriter.
So I'm not going to predict the death of TV advertising by P2P, but it is threatened. When I get Desperate Housewives using BitTorrent, I don't get the adverts. Some dedicated seeder has chopped them out. And anyway, when I've downloaded the programme at home there isn't much point in Verizon asking "can you hear me now", I don’t have CDMA coverage in London.
Downloading TV has a good future. Sometimes it will be stored and watched on TiVo-like devices, but more often it will be illegal rips of TV shows zipping around the world. And as compression, processor power, memory and wireless USB become important enablers, those programmes will zip into our pockets. Sideloaded into mobile devices.
TV in the bus queue is nerdy now, but then so was listening to a Walkman with funny blue headphones in 1980. It won't just be phones - it's already iPod nanos and PSPs.
Ultimately, this is good for everyone. Not just the bus drivers who have calmer passengers to incarcerate in their abomination of transport.
OK, so the TV companies are ripped off by the pirates, and the carriers don't make anything from the sideloading, but the act of watching TV in the street changes usage. It won't all be sideloaded. Just as radio lives alongside podcasts, it will be streamed or broadcast DVB-H. That's what gives the opportunity. The stolen content is what will initially make people want pocket TV, but once they know and like it they will watch it with adverts.
Advertising agencies are amazingly slow to accept technological change. They’ll talk about the cool stuff at conferences but not have the courage to get a client to fund it. But once the client realises no one is watching their TV adverts anymore they will have to look for other ways to reach into consumers pockets. And there squashed against the wallet is the mobile phone. Or actually the mobile TV which can make phone calls. That's why streaming and DVB-H will get the ad budgets. DVB-H even has the smarts to provide direct buy-it-now links to websites from inside programmes. Direct response like we've never seen before.
Just as TV will have to evolve, so will advertising. We've seen the start of it with premium rate phone lines for X-Factor and the like, but it will take time for more new models to emerge. That time is what will allow conventional TV to shuffle aside and make space for television in the street.®
Catherine Keynes is a electronic engineer turned consultant who works for IT and telecoms companies. She blogs at Cat Keynes.
It won't work.
It'll work about as well as "Video Calling" and video clips has on 3G. IE it sounds great until you try to use it, then you realise how crap it is and either walk out the store, remove it from your mobile tarrif or simply never bother to use it again. A mobile screen isn't big enough, and people won't be arsed to carry a dedicated device that is. Witness the almost complete failure of the tiny UHF LCD televisions that have been launched and promptly forgotten countless times over the last twenty plus years - people want their Telly big, noisy and comfortable to watch. Why else do TV screens get bigger and bigger whilst every other domestic appliance gets smaller and smaller? Why is it always the focus of the lounge, opposite the most comfortable chair?? Any clue as to why most people look for smallness in a mobile above almost anything else?
And I don't see there being a mass-market for people standing in bus-cues watching TV. People usually either listen to their MP3 player, or read a book. Or both. "Things to do whilst waiting for a bus" already exist. A book is perfectly at home in a gym bag, even being dropped down a flight of stairs won't render it useless (usually). Try saying THAT about a sensibly-priced mass-produced telly!
There are technical problems, too. Like how to make the screen bright enough to watch in daylight whilst also providing enough battery life to be worthwhile? Since the antenna is non-directional you'll struggle to get bandwith enough to make a good picture. It's not like a mobile - Don't forget you can drop 100th of a second of speech and people just hear a click. Drop 1000th of a second of video data and you loose that frame - video doesn't just require more bandwidth it also requires better QOS.
Finally, the business model itself. Mobile phone companies will doubtless want to charge a fortune for service to "recoup" their 3G expendature - and will almost certainly price the system into failure. Once they've done that it's practically impossible to change the publics perception that a service is expensive - even when you drop the price! Initial programming is going to be cheaply made, so content won't sell it either.
it's a dead duck. It's been done, it's failed before. It'll fail again and merely changing the technology won't fix that. People don't want micro-televisions.
I work on planes
the number of people watching things on their nano's, phones PSP's etc is growing all the time. On a plane you can't watch live TV but those same people would on buses and trains I'm sure. I know I would on the train every day if I could. it needs to be like Tivo/Sky+ though.
If I wanted to watch TV on the train
I'd pull out my eee. . .
320x240 - you've got to be kidding.
Whatever happened to widescreen?