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Sprint invests in yet another form of mobile TV

IPWireless switches on to mobile TV

Just in case the cellphone-TV landscape wasn't confusing enough, another player is about to enter the market, fueled by a $10 million investment from Sprint, which we assume is looking for a decent alternative to its Sprint TV and MobiTV offerings, which haven't exactly taken the world by storm. The new service, TDtv, is being developed by equipment provider IPWireless, and is designed to work on 3G TD-CDMA networks. The service can reportedly offer as many as 50 channels for small-screen cellphones, or 15 channels in QVGA. The service is expected to begin tests in Europe and Asia later this year, with Sprint expected to test the service in the US at some point.
Well, if I were Sprint, I wouldn't be too mystified at why this service hasn't taken off. Even if I got every channel that I get on my digital cable broadcast to my cell phone in real-time, I wouldn't pay another $10 a month to hold up a phone to my face and squint to watch it.

Be sure you don't actually go outside in sunlight (not a problem for us Seattle area residents) or you won't be able to see it at all. The content and value of their offering are obviously constrained by the 2" LCD screen.

The content is all moving to internet protocol. Now the devices need to change to keep up. Why send billions down a hole to develop the infrastructure for mobile TV and then just assume that it'll light the world on fire, even though people can't really be expected to watch TV on a tiny screen with zero daylight readability, not to mention they get their fill of TV at home in the evenings?

The mobile customer to my thinking is not going to engage in this type of activity, because it doesn't respect the customer as the focus of the activity. TV is a non-interactive media that only requires the customer to select which 'feed' they want to take in at a given moment. Not sure beyond riding a bus or train or waiting in line somewhere where the opportunity would even be to watch TV on a cell phone.

Apparently it isn't only MVIS that needs to listen to Bill Gates -- it's the handset and service providers too. Bill specifically doesn't talk about mobile TV as a killer app. He talks about location-based social networking features, augmented reality mapping capabilities, and the benefits and ergonomic advantages of a Microvision eyeglass display for your cell phone.

It is probably only through trying and failing to win mass adoption of cell phone TV that the service providers and handset makers will go back to the drawing board and revisit the whole concept. Gates' suggested applications offer immediate tangible benefit to customers and leverage the fact that your mobile device is mobile, out and about with you. The cell phone companies seem to think that everyone just wants to be a couch potato even when they're trying to achieve things in the real world.

It's all about the customer and what they're doing and how your product or offering can add value to that process. Mobile TV...I have no idea about. Just seems like a swing and a miss to me. Any readers have this and feel like it's a good thing and worth the money?


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