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TelevisionWeek contributing writer Daisy Whitney is blogging about the pinnacles and pitfalls facing viewers who want to consume television in new ways. Check in frequently as Daisy kicks the tires on the new media juggernaut and dishes on which services do -- and don’t -- make the cut.

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Trial and Error



Local News on the Smallest Screen

January 12, 2007 12:55 PM


At the Consumer Electronics Show this past week, cell phone video was one of the hot topics, with competitors at MediaFlo and Modeo demonstrating their broadcast TV quality services.

Before I left for the show though, I actually checked out cellular TV from a different source—the local CBS affiliate here in San Francisco. The station’s spokesperson visited me, wanting to show me the stations’ news, weather, sports and traffic clips on her Verizon phone. KPIX launched its mobile TV service in April 2006 with 68 subscribers from Sprint and Verizon combined. In October, the station had grown that to 552.

Small potatoes, for now, to be sure. But, the station is getting money from this venture since it’s a monthly subscription service at $2.99-$4.99.

The cell phone actually pulls videos from the station’s Web site, which is a pretty cool notion in and of itself. Think about it—that little phone is somehow communicating with a Web site to grab its videos and display them on a little screen. It almost reminds me of that neat thing called TV. How does that work after all? Transmitting video through the sky?

The quality was good, without the herki-jerkiness cell phone video can have. Navigating around the videos can be a bit clunky and one or two didn’t load, but by and large if I were a local news junkie, I’d pay the few bucks a month.

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Comments (4)

Bryan:

I don't think I'd ever pay for mobile broadcast TV. Unless I was at a family function and had to miss a sporting event. Like the Friends funeral episode.

Daisy:

It's an interesting issue -- I don't think I would either...but I do wonder if mobile TV will feel like a DVR in a few year. A must have, that is

Leonard:

Nokia recently released a phone that can store an entire film on the hard drive. I think the handsets of the future will be more like a mini-computer than the cell phones we have today. Ad supported mobile video will be one of many applications that we will use on the phone.

Daisy:

Hey Leonard...feel free to have Nokia send one of those phones my way and tell 'em to pre-load it with chick flicks!

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