If you happen to be a broadcast TV fanatic, none to happy about the growing web and mobile TV sectors, you need to read this. Ben Silverman, co-chairman of NBC, predicts that within the next 15 years broadcast TV will be event-driven. The prediction, made during Silverman's keynote at the Upfront Summit, means that broadcast TV would be useful for nothing more than live events such as the Super Bowl and reality shows such as American Idol. Although traditional episodic shows will debut on broadcast TV, they'll have to extend to multiple platforms to survive. NBC plans to experiment this fall, attempting to drive TV viewers of its new series, Kath and Kim, online after each episode with extra scenes and storyline continuations completely unique to the web. Looks like it might be time for you to either look for an HD computer monitor or start tweaking your HTPC setup.
AT&T's MediaFlo Mobile TV service we told you about in March is ready to roll. Accessible on the Samsung Access and LG Vu handsets which are set to go on sale May 4, AT&T customers will pay about $15/month for unlimited mobile TV access. The service will have at least two exclusive channels including the Sony PIX movie network as well as 10 major broadcast networks including Fox, plus live CNN content. The LG Vu will cost you $300 after a $100 rebate and 2 year plan and the Samsung Access will put a $200 dent in your wallet, once again after a $100 rebate and 2 year contract. Check out the service in action in the video above.
While mobile TV struggles to catch on in the western world, across the pond in China, the mobile landscape is just plain hot. A survey by mobile TV chip provider Telegent Systems, conducted in China where there are more than 3 million regular mobile TV users, revealed that 85% of cell phone buyers bought the phone mainly for the mobile TV feature. Amazingly 74% watch mobile TV for 30 minutes or more at a time, showing an increased interest in longer form programming, and 54% watch at least 5 times per week. Admittedly this survey may be a little on the biased side being conducted by a mobile TV solution provider and all, but even if we cut those numbers in half, they're still impressive compared to the stickiness of mobile TV in North America. A total of 400 cell phone buyers were surveyed at the point of purchase between July and September 2007 and February 2008.
Other interesting revelations from the survey include:
90% found the free-to-air TV feature interesting or useful, even 4-6 months after purchase
60% recommended mobile TV to their friends and family
about 50% of users watch mobile TV when traveling, 43% watch at home, and 17% at the office
the most popular time to watch mobile TV is between 7-8PM, followed by morning commute time of 8-9AM
88% of those surveyed find mobile TV picture quality "acceptable"
Back in March, the European Commission formally defined and added the Digital Video Broadcasting-Handheld (DVB-H) mobile TV standard to their official list of telecommunication standards. Now Dish Network and Alcatel-Lucent are teaming up to test the next-generation DVB-SH satellite standard in the US, taking place at Dish Network's lab in Atlanta between May and August, to test the cost-efficiency and performance of the new mobile standard.
The most powerful mobile broadcast standard in the world today, DVB-SH is built on the DVB-H mobile TV standard, but has evolved globally seemingly leaving North America behind. Dish Network feels that the testing is the first step in the company staying on the cutting edge of consumer TV technology, and Alcatel-Lucent have pledged a commitment to the success of the DVB-SH standard in the US.
Verizon Wireless just keeps on announcing new channels for its V CAST Video service. Now TMZ TV, an entertainment news and gossip channel, based on the popular TMZ.com will be available to Verizon Wireless customers. All commercial-free highlight clips from the TMZ television show will be available on TMZ's mobile station 24 hours after broadcast, enabling busy Hollywood gossip mongers to keep up to date with the dirt on their favorite stars.
Verizon Wireless will be getting another two MTV Networks channel tacked on to their V CAST Video mobile TV service-GameTrailers and The N. GameTrailers, a mobile channel for gamers will feature game trailers and reviews, and even an original series called Go Gaming which focuses solely on mobile video games. The N will features clips from popular teen shows such as Degrassi.
The two new mobile channel additions add to a growing collection of MTVN channels available on Verizon Wireless phones. MTV, Nickelodeon, Comedy Central, VH1, CMT, Logo, Spike, MTV Tr3s, and Atom Films are already featured on V CAST Video and just a couple of days ago on March 29, Verizon announced V CAST Mobile TV which features full-length, broadcast-quality streams of popular shows from MTV, Comedy Central, Nickelodeon, as well as MTV Tr3s.
Will Farrell's popular online video site, Funny Or Die, will also get its own dedicated V CAST Video channel featuring regularly updated clips from some of the funniest stuff found at Funny Or Die's website.
If you're a big fan of Fox shows like 24, Nip/Tuck, and Family Guy, and a busy person on the go constantly, you'll be happy to know that Fox Mobile Entertainment announced yesterday the launch of the Fox Entertainment Mobile Network.
Bringing a whackload of content from stations such as Fox, Speed, FX, Fox Reality and the National Geographical Channel as well as over 30 mobile sites dedicated to hot programs, the Fox Entertainment Mobile Network can be accessed on your mobile phone's browser at FoxMobile.com bringing mobile TV's most popular content to one destination.
All wireless subscribers will have access to the service, which will also be available via MEdia Net on AT&T and Sprint's Wireless Web.
Hulu for mobile could be coming to your cell phone in the near future, according NBC Universal's Chief Digital Officer George Kliavkoff. The online video industry was "at a similar log-jam a year and a half ago" said Kliavkoff at CTIA tonight, leading to NBC's launch of Hulu. "I don't know why we couldn't do something similar for mobile", he said.
When questioned directly if Hulu Mobile was coming, Kliavkoff replied that mobile TV is definitely of interest to NBC, but Hulu Mobile is "total speculation". Take note that there is no flat-out denial there.
Other interesting revelations from NBCU's CDO include live programming and highlights from this summer's Beijing Olympics broadcast onto mobile networks via MediaFLO and a partnership with Verizon Wireless and Research In Motion that'll see a number of NBC network TV sites coming to the cellular networks' supported phones.
Looks like a movie network from Sony Pictures Television, PIX, is going to be one of the two exclusive channel coming to the AT&T mobile TV service we told you about earlier. Titles will come from Sony labels such as Columbia, TriStar, Screen Gems and Sony Classics, and offering a diverse selection of movies including titles such as Resident Evil and Ghostbusters.
Films will run on PIX for a month, with new titles coming weekly and Sony is apparently in talks with other US mobile carriers interested in including the new mobile channel in their mobile TV offerings. Sony has also said that the PIX channel is largely experimental and could include more short-form content in the future, be switched to an on-demand service, or even move its way online.
AT&T Mobile TV, using Qualcomm's MediaFLO technology, will offer subscribers 10 mobile TV channels come May. Owners of Samsung Access and the higher-end LG Vu will be able to view CBS, Comedy Central, ESPN , FOX, MTV, NBC, NBC News, and Nickelodeon and two unannounced, exclusive to AT&T channels.
AT&T uses the same mobile TV network as Verizon, so the quality of the broadcasting is expected to be just as good as regular TV with an affordable expected pricing plan of around $15/month.