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Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Is Watching TV on Your Mobile Worthwhile?

With 3G now the de-facto standard across a whole range of mobile phones, one of the apparently most attractive applications is broadcast IPTV. It is now possible to watch the range of BBC content and Sky content over the mobile networks. The only problem is likely to be your download limit which could make “free” TV seem very expensive.

BBC iPlayer is available on the Nokia's N96 and it is possible to use your iPhone or iPod Touch to pick up the latest BBC re-runs. The BBC is aiming to deliver TV to an increasing number of mobile devices. Take a look at Freebe TV and you will find a incredible range of TV that can be viewed on you mobile. So there is no shortage of content and it is increasing daily.

However, is watching TV a realistic option on your mobile. The largest mobile screens tend to be limited to a maximum of 12 cm by 6 cm or about the same size as a packet of 20! This is considerably smaller that most portable DVD players. Sport has been one the most promoted services particular football, but it does tend to turn into a video version of that old standby the “Spot the Ball” competition.

Using Laptops terminals such as the latest Sony Vaio Z Series or the ASUS EEE PC to access TV is fairly accessible, but watching a 2 inch square screen is a very different proposition.

Maybe the way to go is to use a “Personal Media Viewer” from Myvu or Vuzix, which offers both a stylish way to watch TV and a “big screen” effect. The glasses are still an expensive add on to your iPhone or Nokia from £100 to £250, but from my perspective it is the only way to go to get an enjoyable experience. The effect is to appear you are watching the equivalent of a 44 inch wide screen TV. The most expensive devices allow you to look through the screen to be aware of what is going on around you. It will come as no surprise to learn that these devices have evolved from the military industry.  

I suspect that Mobile TV is probably unstoppable, but it will be largely a gimmick unless you get a pair of personal media glasses!

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