Just to clarify, Sprint has been offering Mobile TV on ALL their phones for a couple years an it's included in the data plan. Every world cup soccer game was piped straight to your phone, should you choose to. They also have many "premium" options but there is so much that is free, most of my family doesn't bother. They also had NFL network piped in for free last season. Don't know if that will be the case this years. So while some of the contributors above seem to think that it's not available "in the west," I beg to differ. Flo-TV was available to by AT&T and Verizon had their version but both of those required premiums...
In an article I wrote about Mobile DTV about 8 years ago for TV Technology magazine, I expressed skepticism about the business model.
I agree Duane, static is out -- we all want the content of our choosing anywhere, any time on any platform. But so far, among the three traditional business models for monetizing content -- ad-supported, pay-per view and monthly subscription -- none is a clear money-maker for delivering content to mobile devices.
Mobile devices also have additional costs. Qualcomm invested a lot in FLO, the wireless carriers are investing a lot in 3G and LTE or WiMax, and soon many TV broadcasters will make investments to take a stab at advertiser-supported mobile DTV.
What makes mobile TV all the more difficult is that "free" is not a business model, but "free" is pretty close to what many consumers expect.
I think the question "will mobile TV take off in the US" really has already been answered and that answer is yes. We're still in search of a viable business model, but it's already here; especially for the younger generation. The concept of static (both in terms of location and time) entertainment is on the way out. For the younger half of us, it's all about getting the entertainment when and where they are. In the car, on the street, at the office, in the park, in the house but in a different room from the TV set.
The big screen TVs are there in the bars and airports, but a good portion of the people within viewing distance are watching something on their smart phone already. It's all about "what I want, when I want it, where I am." Static is dead or dieing.
I don't see mobile TV taking off in the US where there are big screen TVs in airports, bars, car back seats and homes and no place else anybody spends much down time.
I think Feory is right about clouds ahead for ATSC mobile, too.
I suspect Qualcomm's Flo spectrum may be useful for other apps, perhaps part of the white spaces?
I wonder what this means for the FLO standard, whether Qualcomm would continue to drive any future enhancements. The MediaFLO standard has been very well thought out and its just unfortunate that it hasn't quite taken off as Qualcomm had intended.
Yes, Mobile TV has been a big hit in Asia countries like China or Korea, but there's distinguish difference between the customers there and over here in the US, people here still seems to be more lean towards watching TV at home, driving by yourself also give you less time to watch TV on the go, vs people in Asia, most of them take publick transportation go and from work, so plenty time to "screw around", watching TV just one of the fun.
I think you're absolutely right Junko. It is about the business model. If it's free (and easy to use) people will come. The problem I see is that if there isn't profit in, people won't deliver it. We still really haven't found a business model that gets media to consumers inexpensively enough and still gives money to the media creators. As you stated, people will use their smart phones watch media - browse the net, watch YouTube, watch TV shorts and watch full-length movies. They do already. As long as companies keep trying it, eventually, we'll find a business model that works well. I hope...
It's all about business model.
If it is free, people will come.
Look at the mobile TV broadcast in China, Korea and Japan. Free-to-air mobile broadcasting (whether analog or digital) is doing well all over the world.
Japan may be behind in terms of smart phone penetration, but a lot of handsets come with an ability to receive mobile digital TV broadcasting (free to air). And it seems popular.
I do see people using them on train to watch whatever games or shows.
This is one area -- a lot of companies poured their resources -- but everyone in the West got it wrong.
I think that you have raised a good question, how long someone is willing to view a half hour (20-25 minute) TV show on their phone versus in front of a larger screen. Short clips on YouTube or movie previews are quick and handy.
On public transit, I might be convinced to watch Dr Who on Sci-Fi if I were on the PATH train in NJ, or taking the MAX to PDX.
This doesn't bode well for the ATSC's new mobile DTV standard. We all seem to enjoy the video capabilities of our modern phones, so what is the issue? Is it that we only like to watch YouTube videos on mobile device and not regular TV shows? Or is it more a case of not wanting to pay extra for that capability?