• United States

A look at MobiTV

Mar 04, 20042 mins
Data Center

There’s been a lot of hype around MobiTV, a new service/application that delivers live television to certain models of Sprint PCS phones. I got to chance to test out the service and came away impressed, more by the fact they’re delivering live TV than the actual video quality. MobiTV offers 14 channels including ABC News Live, TLC, College Sports Television, Discovery and MSNBC. While the picture quality is not stunning by any stretch (think back to the early days of streaming on the Internet when a few frames per second was considered good) the audio is pretty decent. I watched some of the pre-Oscar coverage on ABC Live and while I heard the announcers say Nicole Kidman looked terrific, it was tough to tell for sure that it was the star of Cold Mountain on screen. But the good audio let me learn that the Oscar folks banned cellphones with cameras from the red carpet area so that the stars could not be filmed in unflattering situations. (Heaven forbid they look mortal!)

The service costs about $10 a month for unlimited usage. I personally wouldn’t buy it since I don’t have time to watch it (they discourage watching television while driving here in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts), but if you sit on a train for an hour each way, it could be a fun investment. I wouldn’t recommend watching TLC’s Trading Spaces, but catching Hardball on MSNBC while on the trip home could be worthwhile.

On the bright side, the service can only get better as the bandwidth available to cell phones improves as does the codecs used to compress the video content. While this is a novelty now, it won’t be long before it’s an everyday service.