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part of a small rebellion | by maryann johanson

question of the day: Would you watch TV on your cellphone?

The Los Angeles Times today is reporting that broadcasters and makers of portable e-devices are slavering over tomorrow’s yes-it’s-finally-happening switchover to digital TV:

On Thursday, when stations will be required to broadcast through digital rather than analog signals, some companies will use the broadcast spectrum freed by the switch to transmit live television to cellphones and other portable devices. Shows and live video clips are already available on some phones, but this heats up competition as broadcasters and cellphone companies vie to turn the feature into a must-have.

Of course, this was not supposed to be the purpose of the switch to digital TV: it was not intended to give broadcasters an even bigger slice of the public airwaves but meant to open up analog wavelengths for emergency communications and for wireless broadband (that would be nice). Instead, we’re gonna get more of the same old shit. Does anyone really need to watch Jon & Kate + 8 on their cellphone?

The future is uncertain:

About 13 million people watched video on their cellphones in the first three months of this year, which is about 6% of all mobile subscribers, according to Nielsen Co. That’s a 50% increase over the same time last year.

The feature might not take off — Virgin Mobile yanked its cellphone TV offerings in Britain in 2007, saying not enough subscribers had expressed interest. But most carriers today are betting that it will. What’s still to be determined is which service will prevail.

Would you watch TV on your cellphone? If so, what do you think you’d watch that you couldn’t wait to get home to see?

(If you have a suggestion for a QOTD, feel free to email me.)

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  • One of these days something will come along that will make me feel the need to buy a phone and pay for a monthly bill again (I haven’t since 2002), but this…isn’t it.

    (Yeah, I’m a freak.) ;)

  • No, definitely wouldn’t. I’m one of those Luddites who never even uses the phone for anything but a phone. My seven year old uses the camera for pictures/video more than I ever will, and I never use it for ‘net surfing.

  • Having just purchased a new Palm Pre, I might watch television shows on it. However, I also might prefer a bigger screen.

    And what would I watch? Geeky stuff, of course!

  • bitchen frizzy

    How much would it cost me, and how much advertising would I have to slog through?

    This would fall under “wireless broadband,” arguably. The bandwidth is available for whatever wireless services the public wants, and if they want crap enough to pay for it, they’ll get crap and be required to pay for it. You can’t nanny them into having better taste.

  • Cate

    No. I watch TV on my laptop. I don’t have satellite or cable and I currently have no plans to upgrade my rabbit ears.

  • Jim Mann

    Not usually, no. (There are times where I might watch news or sports for a short while, if I wasn’t near a TV but wanted to quickly check up on it.)

    But, when watching TV (or movies), I’m an advocate of bigger is better. I like going to the theater because I like seeing films on a really big screen. And we just upgraded to a 50-inch TV at home. (Battlestar Galactica really looks nice on the bigger screen.)


  • I’ve watched shows on my friend’s iPod, so I suppose I’d watch them on the phone if I was desperate (need to catch up on the new BSG-type show before I get home to watch the new one, or somesuch).

  • No. TV over the phone is pointless. The screen is just too small.

  • joey

    Well, I watch videos on my iPod Touch. So Yeah, I guess I would. But only on-demand, obviously, not in a “live stream”. And not over the phone network either. That’s ridiculous.

  • Mel-p

    I downloaded and watched Dr Who Eps on my iriver when i was flying from Melbourne to Australia. And it passed the time. I wouldn’t put up with ads, and i wouldn’t live stream the tv either. I can wait, i’m not that desperate.

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