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Media (Apple) Television Media Hardware

TV On Mobiles: Not Yet There? 232

rustbear writes "It seems that perhaps Apple did their homework when they decided to downplay the video capabilities of the new iPod. The Guardian reports that "Most [British] people have no desire to watch television on mobile phones, preferring to use home computers to watch TV while on the internet, according to new research. Although 65% of British consumers surveyed cite the mobile phone as their most desired gadget, 70% of mobile owners said they did not want to watch television on their phone at all. Nearly 45% of consumers said they would watch TV on their home computer, because it enabled them to choose what they wanted to watch and when." Is the mainstream market not yet ready for portable video?"
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TV On Mobiles: Not Yet There?

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  • by Dynamoo ( 527749 ) * on Monday November 07, 2005 @11:32AM (#13969583) Homepage
    Interesting that this ties in with last week's announcment of the Nokia N92 [] - a 3G phone with a built-in digital TV tuner. The tuner requires a DVB-H signal to receive broadcasts, which is a variation of the DVB-T system used for digital TV in Europe and almost everywhere in the world except the US and Canada. It's a good technical solution, in a large but very capable 3G handset.

    The problem? Well, currently nobody really has a DVB-H network apart from a few trial areas in a handful a major cities. I understand that it's not too expensive to piggy-back DVB-H onto a DVB-T infrastructure, but it's still an expense.

    Nokia are certainly taking a risk, but you know that's what business is about. Most consumers these days are demanding camera phones, for example, but a couple of years ago that wasn't even something that most handset manufacturers would have thought of. A lot of technlogies are like that - nobody really knows if the market wants them because they represent something new and untested.

    Personally.. well, I'm the kind of geek who would sooner be surfing the web than watching TV, but I understand that watching TV is quite popular. Only the market can really decide if the concept is going to be a success.

    • by frdmfghtr ( 603968 ) on Monday November 07, 2005 @12:31PM (#13970062)
      Offtopic but I'll ask anyway, since the previous post prompted me to ask the question...

      DVB-H, DVB-T...GSM, CDMA...110V/60Hz, 220V/50Hz...why does there always seem to be a slight yet significant difference in what should otherwise be a universal te3chnology when it comes to the North American and the rest of the world?

      Two different types of digital broadcast television, so global electronics manufacturers have to build two different types of equipment or build in the capability to accept either one.

      GSM, a GLOBAL standard for cellphone technology, yet the US is quite late to adopt it in favor of CDMA (coincidentally, patented by a US company, Qualcomm.) Granted that CDMA is superior in some respects (power requirements and bandwidth come to mind) but why be a telecommunications island?

      Basic electricity...ok, most modern devices can accept 110 or 220 vac, 50 or 60 Hz, but again, why did it have to be different? 220 vac would make more sense, as the same amount of power can be delivered with less current and less heat loss, but 110 vac may be safer due to the lower voltage...

      I fully admit that I don't have all the technical details, and probably live in my own utopian world where everybody has the same electricity and everybody can roam on anybody else's cellphone network without needing a phone capable of three or four different frequency bands, but sometimes I think that the differences are more political and territorial than technical. (US GSM at 1900 MHz where the rest of the world uses 900/1800 MHz?)
      • but 110 vac may be safer due to the lower voltage...

        It's not the voltage that does damage, it's the current.
        High voltage stuff is fun (spark plug leads in cars etc),
        Been fried loads of times and it never ...

        ... Antiseptic wipes
      • It's always the same reason. The technology is usually either invented here or implemented here first. We in the US are essentially beta testers. After it has been run here for a few years, the problems and areas of improvement become obvious. Thus when the technology is implemented in the rest of the world a couple of years later it takes advantage of better understanding and newer technology to make improvements. Of course by this time the technology is well entrenched in the US and it would be very costl
        • Of course this works in reverse as well. When a new technology is invented in Asia or Europe first the US usually gets the "world" standard.

          Not for mobile phones at least. The GSM standard was pioneered in Europe and has been adopted just about everywhere besides the US. Well, fully at least.
      • by Bruce Perens ( 3872 ) <> on Monday November 07, 2005 @01:04PM (#13970325) Homepage Journal
        The first reason is that spectrum regulation for VHF and higher frequencies is not, in general, carried out on a global basis. Part of this is historical, and part that governments and their people want more versatility than global spectrum allocation would offer. Regulation for the convenience of manufacturers isn't a good idea, because they can handle the economies of scale in a whole nation's worth of customers. Regulation for the sake of roving devices and their users is a good idea.

        The second reason is that a nation's own manufacturers lobby for their system. All of the D-AMPS 800 MHz base stations now seem to have gone to GSM because they can get more voice channels out of a single cell. Not because of the tiny minority of their users who roam internationally.


    • Ok,

      Here's the deal. I don't like surfing the web on my cell phone and I can't imagine watching TV on it. It'a 2" x 2" screen! I only surf the web on my cell phone when:

      1) I'm not in a location where something like my laptop has a 'net connection
      2) I'm desperately in need of some piece of information

      I can't see a time or place that I'd want to watch TV. It's a mobile device. If I'm away from the 52" big screen with surround sound, it's because I'm out either with friends, running errands, at work, etc.
  • by ReeferCpe ( 613569 ) on Monday November 07, 2005 @11:33AM (#13969593) Homepage
    The only place I'd use a call phone to watch tv is on the jon.. while at work.
  • biggest problem (Score:2, Insightful)

    by jzeejunk ( 878194 )
    is that movie/ipod-likes screens are too small - 1. strain on eyes and 2. not many people can watch together
    • Re:biggest problem (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Golias ( 176380 ) on Monday November 07, 2005 @11:49AM (#13969721)
      is that movie/ipod-likes screens are too small - 1. strain on eyes and 2. not many people can watch together

      1. Hold it closer to your face. At the distance most people hold a paperback novel, it would be about the same relative "size" as looking at a 20" TV set from accross a small living room, which was actually a fairly typical viewing experience once upon a time.

      2. Nobody else can hear the sound on your earphones anyway.

      I think the video on the iPod is not really all that impressive of a feature, but some of the criticisms of it are downright silly.
      • Re:biggest problem (Score:5, Insightful)

        by timeOday ( 582209 ) on Monday November 07, 2005 @12:00PM (#13969819)
        I think the video on the iPod is not really all that impressive of a feature, but some of the criticisms of it are downright silly.
        And this poll proves nothing. Had they asked, "are you interested in listening to music on your cellphone?" my guess is most people would not be. I think the percentage of people who use their cellphones for music listening is tiny. Does that prove anything about the market for the (audio) iPod?
      • Most people over 40 can't focus at distances close to their face, so they do get eye strain.

        I find it remarkably easy to put movies on my phone - Pocket DVD Studio will rip a DVD and compress it to an XVid file, and then it's just a matter of copying it to the phone's memory card.

        Mine will handle a 320x240 video encoded at 450kb/s with no problem whatsoever.
    • Agreed. They've also had those little handheld tv's forever, but they never really seem to have caught on.
    • Whenever someone says "The iPod's screen is too small," I just remind them of the Gameboy Advance, which kids and adults alike don't seem to mind staring at for hours at a time.

      I think it's just a mental paradigm shift for a lot of people to adjust from turning on a TV and flipping through channels to catch something, to downloading what you want to see and watching it whenever you want.
  • by phpm0nkey ( 768038 ) * on Monday November 07, 2005 @11:34AM (#13969601) Homepage
    Mobile audio and mobile video are two different worlds. If you have a high quality audio file and a good pair of headphones, a mobile audio player can deliver a virtually perfect listening experience, anywhere. On top of that, you can multitask with an audio player. I can lull myself into a good coding mood listening to Garbage, load up some podcasts for the drive to work, or make a running playlist where the BPM of each song synches up with my feet hitting the ground; it's a beautiful synergy.

    Video is nothing like this. I can't watch a TV show while I'm driving, exercising or working. More so, the immersion experience is relative to the size of the screen. No matter how big your TV screen is, you'd like to be watching a bigger one. If your screen is only a few inches large, I would guess that this distraction would be constant. Yes, Apple sold a million videos in no time flat, but I think this is just novelty. Apple's teeming hordes will buy any new iPod that comes out, and everyone who bought a video iPod probably purchased at least one video to try it out. We'll see if the trend continues.

    Saying that mobile video is "Not Yet There" implies that the natural progression of technology will eventually make it more compelling. I disagree. Any TV screen that fits in your pocket will always be too small to be enjoyable, and it's very difficult to multitask when something requires both your eyes and ears. Mobile video will never be as ubiquitous as mobile audio is today.
    • I've seen some of the shows that the Brits watch... 2 inches is more than enough...
    • by ianscot ( 591483 ) on Monday November 07, 2005 @11:52AM (#13969748)
      the immersion experience is relative to the size of the screen. No matter how big your TV screen is, you'd like to be watching a bigger one. If your screen is only a few inches large, I would guess that this distraction would be constant.

      Sound does accomplish part of the immersion thing pretty well. When you've got some okay headphones on, even with the teeny screen, you can hear the rumble of the rush on Akaba in Lawrence of Arabia. You just can't see the wide screen image.

      And you're right, music you listen to in parallel with other stuff, whereas video you have to focus on, and those are different. It's hard to see the convergence of the iPod player and portable DVD players any time soon. You'd need some sort of projection screen...

      Or alternatively, you can make the size of the screen completely irrelevant by just bringing it closer to your eyes. When some Jonathan Ives type cooks up "TV Glasses" that don't look as "stylish and comfortable" (and headache-inducing) as this [], then we'll be getting someplace. For portable video, you just can't be wedded to the physical screen across the room the way we are now. You have to approach the problem from another angle.

      Jobs pitched video as a little perk added in the update to the top-end iPods, and that was just about right.

    • I agree with everything but your last point. We might have mobile video for the masses when we transcend the screen and either project the video as some sort of hologram or send it directly into the eye. That way you can simulate a movie screen without hauling a movie theater around.
    • by Golias ( 176380 ) on Monday November 07, 2005 @11:56AM (#13969780)
      Video is nothing like this. I can't watch a TV show while I'm driving, exercising or working.

      Working, no... but plenty of people commute via bus, train or ferry, so they could watch TV while they ride. (Not me. I drive to work like a regular American, but if I lived in a "dark blue" state where there was a good rail line and inadequite parking, I could see the need to watch episodes of "House" or something while trying not to talk to the people around me.)

      A lot of people also use treadmills, stationary bikes, stair machines, etc., while watching TV. There could be money in making some kind of mounting bracket for attaching these gizmos to excercise equipment.
      • by TheFlyingGoat ( 161967 ) on Monday November 07, 2005 @12:04PM (#13969847) Homepage Journal
        I agree with the first half of your post completely. However, there won't ever be a demand for the mounting brackets you refer to. It's cheaper for someone to just buy a small TV and put it in the room with their exercise equipment than to dish out for a video enabled phone or iPod. If they're not using exercise equipment at home where they could do this, they're at a gym which almost definitely has TV's already.

        Besides, when you're moving around on a treadmill or eliptical, it's really hard to look at a small, stationary screen that's close to you. Much easier to look at a screen farther away or to actually hold the cellphone/iPod.
        • It's cheaper for someone to just buy a small TV and put it in the room with their exercise equipment than to dish out for a video enabled phone or iPod.

          Unless, as most people who use such machines, they don't one one of their own and work out in health clubs.

          Also, it's only cheaper to buy a small TV if you don't already own a video enabled phone or an iPod.
        • If they're not using exercise equipment at home where they could do this, they're at a gym which almost definitely has TV's already.

          Which would be a HUGE market for a mount that would allow you to watch content from your video iPod rather than the drivel that's on TV at the moment.
      • > I drive to work like a regular American, but if I lived in a "dark blue" state where there was a good rail line and inadequite parking,

        so generating CO and CO2 while paying $3 a gallon is "a regular American," but utilizing energy-efficient environmentally-friendly (electric powered, so pollution is only at the generation plant and not the city-center) public rail system is not.

        and has anyone thought why 7 out of the 8 Ivy Leagues reside in "blue" states, and why the 5 largest combined statistics area
      • but if I lived in a "dark blue" state where there was a good rail line and inadequite parking

        Where is this mythical place? I live in a "dark blue" state (Massachusetts) that has poor parking, poor roads, but poor public transit to go right along with it. And it wouldn't really matter if there was better public transit, because all those good little greenie blue-state parents would still flip the bird at the environment when it comes to their children and buy disposible everything and make the school bus sto
    • I don't see a lot of people watching video while working (though I used to at a job developing tech for cable tv, and it didn't seem to impact my productivity any more than listening to audio, so who knows, maybe that will change), but I do see plenty of people watching video while exercising or driving.
    • I agree with: Mobile video will never be as ubiquitous as mobile audio is today. However, I think that there is a sizable niche market for it.

      Namely, travelers and kids. iPod needs to work on battery life before this will really be in full bloom, because right now it can't play video for a whole NY-LA plane trip (let alone a drive to grandma's house two states away). But once it can, it might have a place. An adult on an airplane or a kid in a backseat doesn't need to worry about multitasking, they jus

    • I agree, the differences in how video and audio are experienced means video will never be as big as audio, but there's still lots of growth to come in this segment. If I rode the bus, I'd be all over this. Wait another 6-12 months--when video-playing iPods cost as much as game systems--and then look on any bus that serves a high school. I bet there will be tons of them.

      Even more then video games, video is easily sharable. By that I don't mean swapping shows, I mean more than one kid can experience it at onc
    • Mobile video will never be as ubiquitous as mobile audio is today.

      I agree completely. There is of course a niche market, but it won't be like audio is. As an example, look back at the pre-iPod world. Back in the day, the Sony Walkman and prior to that the transistor radio was all the rage. Portable TVs with 3 or 4 inch screens have been available forever, but have never seen widespread acceptance. Same thing with portable DVD players. They've been around in the consumer market what, 3-4 years? The
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Is the mainstream market not yet ready for portable video?

    More like portable video is an answer to a problem that doesn't exist.

    If you want to portably watch television, get a portable tv.

    • being phased out. It is a moving target, but I think the present date is 2008, rendering your portable TV useless after that point (unless you are an amateur radio operator...)

      • Broadcast TV isn't being phased out, however ANALOG broadcast TV is. An analog portable TV will be somewhat useless, however a portable TV with Digital receiver would be very useful.

        I hear the FCC is going to make a ton of money by auctioning off portions of the spectrum that are currently 'wasted' by high bandwidth analog TV.

        • no such thing as a digital portable... your speaking about vaporware. We'll talk when it happens. For now the only broadcast is analog and the only portables are analog. If you buy an analog portable your screwing yourself over cause you'll have to replace it in 2 years...

  • "Not yet ready?" (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rah1420 ( 234198 ) <> on Monday November 07, 2005 @11:38AM (#13969625)
    Doesn't this beg the question of whether they will EVER be ready?

    Despite their foibles and quirks, "the mainstream," bless their souls, sometime has a pretty good bead on what they think is bullshit and what is not. I think that TV on a cell phone is counted in the former category and not the latter.

    Just because technology can do a thing, does not necessarily mean that it will ever be accepted by the "mainstream."
    • Re:"Not yet ready?" (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Surt ( 22457 )
      In fairness to mobile video on cell phone, I think there are only 4 problems blocking adoption:

      resolution: no doubt this will be solved in the next 10 years or less
      screensize: unrollable, unfoldable, or eye projection screens will resolve this inside of 20 years
      quality: bigger storage and faster transmission protocols will resolve this inside 10 years
      availability: tivo-to-mobile etc will solve this inside 5 years

      So my guess is this will be pretty common and enjoyable in 10 years or less.
      • Those problems may well be solved, but I think a bigger hurdle is going to be the fact that many people live in countries (the UK, Japan, etc.) with national TV stations who make you pay just for possessing a device capable of receiving their broadcasts.

        (Arguments about that have gone back and forth on Slashdot many times before.)

        Camera phones are already becoming the norm because it doesn't cost the user any more to have a camera that he/she neve ruses. But with TV capability, it means that people who

  • by EpsCylonB ( 307640 ) <eps@epsc[ ] ['ylo' in gap]> on Monday November 07, 2005 @11:38AM (#13969627) Homepage
    I have never understood the appeal of those portable DVD players, the one good thing about I suppose is that you can plug them into your television if you have one handy. So its not surprising that the video ipod has a tv out, i had no real desire for a portable video player, but that tv out instantly gets me interested, I can put anything I can get from the internet on to the ipod video and watch it on my telly in my living room.

    I think there is a good chance now that sony will re-release the PSP with a tv out, if they did I would definitely pick one up.
    • The appeal is travel. You can watch movies on a plane.
    • by kmcardle ( 24757 ) <[ten.aihpleda] [ta] [eldracmk]> on Monday November 07, 2005 @11:51AM (#13969737)
      I have never understood the appeal of those portable DVD players
      They are invaluable for long car trips with children. Listening to Spongebob for 6 hours is better than listening to "are we there yet" for 6 hours.

    • I have never understood the appeal of those portable DVD players

      They are very handy for long (e.g. cross-country) flights. I have a Toshiba portable, and the battery life is quite good: so far the longest I have used it is ~2.5 hours.

      Yes, the screen is smaller, but this is quite helpful when the jackass in front of you decides to recline his seat all the way back without notice and as violently as possible. A laptop [with a larger screen] is more likely to be damaged in this case.
    • Several reasons there isa market for them:

      Business Travel -- if you want to watch a movie at a hotel, you have to pay big bucks (US$10) for a limited selection via the hotel's distribution system.

      Traveling with the kids -- makes road trips a lot easier to handle. And to stave off the "but good parents wouldn't need to foster the kids off on an electronic babysitter in the car" crowd -- it's a lot safer to drive when the kids aren't interrupting your focus every 20 seconds.

      Commuters -- Those of us wh
    • Well, that's the whole point.. you use the portable devices where/when you don't have a TV handy. Portable DVDs, iPods, PSPs and such are really nice to have on long plane flights. They're also great to keep kids occupied on long drives.

      Why would you care about any of these in the context of home usage?

      • Why would you care about any of these in the context of home usage?

        I don't think it makes sense either. Portable video is good for many down-time situations away from home, just about anything short of operating a vehicle. Waiting for a ride, riding subways, busses, airplanes and so on.

        Of course, taking a book along is less costly.
    • "I think there is a good chance now that sony will re-release the PSP with a tv out, if they did I would definitely pick one up."

      I seriously doubt it. Sony wants you to buy multiple copies for everything you own, so allowing you to hook the PSP up to the TV might get you thinking that you don't also need to buy the DVD. And as we know, that's blasphemy. Sony doesn't care that the iPod lets you play TV shows on the TV.

      As soon as the HD players hit the shelves, they'll want you to buy yet another copy of
    • have never understood the appeal of those portable DVD players

      You do not have children.

      I was also puzzled as to why you'd get one of these. Then I needed to take my 4 year old on a multi-state driving trip. I love my portable DVD player, although I've never, ever personally watched it myself...

  • Now folks, get ready for yet another round or dose of bloat on the cell phone. Where can I get a simple cell phone to just make and make calls?

    Question: Is is possible to assemble one from legacy components like we do with computer systems? I would not mind the size. I guess it would be quite big.

    • But if you have a simple phone, then how will the cell phone companies charge you for "extras"? I'd consider TV on my mobile phone... if it were free. That's the whole problem for me right there. No, I don't want to spend $10/kb, or whatever the silly price is, for data transfers over your cell phone network. Nothing I'm doing online is quite that important.

      So I'm not so much anti-bloat here as I am against phone companies trying to push me into outrageously-priced services that I don't need.

    • Verizon (Score:3, Informative)

      by everphilski ( 877346 )
      Verizon still stocks basic cell phones. They don't flip, no color screens, etc.

    • Re:bloat!!! (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Gadgetfreak ( 97865 ) on Monday November 07, 2005 @11:54AM (#13969771)
      This is what happens when gadgets become more appealing to non-gadget oriented people. When it's a social statement for everyone to have the latest and greatest thing, the features quickly become superficial in terms of their actual usefulness or quality. A cell phone that has a camera, takes videos, displays TV, plays music, and whatever else is all very cute, but they're only widespread because those features signify the latest and therefore the best in the public eye.
      I'm not saying not to make these features in a gadget. But make a *quality* gadget that's not a cheap POS that was rushed out the door so the gotta-have-its can be the first to be seen with it.
      I want my phone to be a phone. That's it. My job prohibits a camera phone. Which would be fine, if it wasn't for the fact that because of the current trend, a phone without a camera is automatically the cheapest quality phone available.
      I just want a phone with a sharp screen, long battery life, voice dialing, and menus that don't have a half-second lag time behind button pushes. And that's it. And I can't manage to find one.

      If I want a digital camera, I'll buy one. Same with a music player, video player, TV, or video camera. And no contracts, either.
    • I've never had a problem getting a nice, basic phone when I choose the free one on whatever cel plan. Although T-Mobile has recently upgraded their free phone to a color screen flip-phone (my husband got one), but it still lacks 90% of the photo-music-etc bells-and-whistles.
  • by supersocialist ( 884820 ) on Monday November 07, 2005 @11:39AM (#13969639) Journal
    ...if it, you know, worked better. iTunes under XP won't export videos to the iPod, just hangs ... I guess it works for a lot of people, but there's a number of people complaining in the support forums. Fortunately I only care about one video, Wave Twisters ...
  • Not ready? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by tyler083 ( 775626 ) <{tyler} {at} {}> on Monday November 07, 2005 @11:41AM (#13969657) Homepage
    "Is the mainstream market not yet ready for portable video?"

    Not ready? Or perhaps people just aren't interested in trying to walk around downtown while staring down at a tiny screen trying to make out what the people on the screen are doing.

    To me it sounds like a mugging waiting to happen.
  • by Chairboy ( 88841 ) on Monday November 07, 2005 @11:43AM (#13969668) Homepage
    > Is the mainstream market not yet ready for portable video?

    With respect, this is disingenuos. Succesful products never wait until the mainstream market is 'ready' for any new product, if they did, then another company taking a risk would be the ones who get the marketshare. The key item here is 'disruptive technology'.

    An example of disruptive technology is the 8" hard drive. The 14" hard drives were fast and stored a lot of data, but few of the disk companies bothered to make 8" drives when they came out because they were slower and didn't store as much data. Not only that, but they cost more per megabyte. But the market for Minicomputers demanded lower cost (even if it was higher cost per meg) overall drives, so they started improving. Only one or two hard drive companies from the 14" market survived the switch to 8" drives because they didn't see the benefit, and their customers didn't either, until it was too late.

    The same thing happened again when the 5.25" HDs came out. Only a couple manufacturers of 8" drives stayed in business, and only because they spent money on the 5.25" drives well before they were good enough to sell, or profitable.

    Finally, look at the excavating market: Up until the 1940s, steam shovels were all cable activated. They used cables to lift the arms and control the scoop, not hydraulics. When the first hydraulic dirt movers came out, they couldn't move anywhere near as much dirt and they cost more to operate, but eventually they became more powerful, safer, and cheaper to own and operate then cable operated stuff. NONE of the steam shovel companies that were in business in the 1940s survived past the 1950s because they didn't see the benefit of selling what they saw as inferior technology, which hydraulics definately were in the beginning.

    This created opportunities for the startups to dominate the small hydraulics market unopposed until they were able to grow into and take over the domain of the cable operated steam shovel.

    Cell phone video sucks right now, and doesn't _sound_ smart to the mainstream market. After all, it's not as high quality as DVD now, and it has lots of deficiencies, but they know that eventually, the market for digital downloads of video may grow to compete with and even replace physical media sales. That's not what customers want right now, but the market and technologies change, so 5-10 years from now, customers will demand this, and whoever is in the business first will have lots of advantages.

    Remember, what the customer wants is not always best, and if you spend your life following the customers requests only, you'll eventually go out of business when a disruptive technology appears. It happened to the 14" drive manufacturers who listened to their customers (who weren't interested in slower, lower capacity drives), and it could happen to the media industry that doesn't take a risk with this stuff. I'm not saying it's a slam dunk, but whoever takes the risk stands to reap the rewards, while everyone else has to play catch up, IF the technology takes off.

    Just something to think about...
    • Remember, what the customer wants is not always best, and if you spend your life following the customers requests only, you'll eventually go out of business when a disruptive technology appears.

      A good summary to a great writeup. Although this wasn't exactly where you were going, I've never seen a better argument for why R&D is a good thing for any company that wants to survive in the long term.
    • Which is why asking "customers" what they want via focus groups will *never* come up with a disruptive technology, or even one that is moderately different to what they already have. A really smart person might be able to look at the pattern of responses and read a gap in the market (that the consumers themselves don't know exists) into it, but it's unlikely.

      Nor are they necessarily going to give an accurate response, even if presented with the (potential) new technology; asking people what they want and/
    • Let me clarify the point that I was trying to make with my one sentence question (i'm the story submitter).

      I feel that you are lumping demand for a specific functionality with demand for a specific bit of technology. In your HDD example, people may not have wanted slower hard drives with less capacity, but they clearly liked the idea of smaller drives, which is why the drives took off. Likewise, portable music players didn't sell well before the iPod, *NOT* because people didn't want to have portable musi

  • by Wizard of OS ( 111213 ) on Monday November 07, 2005 @11:44AM (#13969675)

    Nearly 45% of consumers said they would watch TV on their home computer, because it enabled them to choose what they wanted to watch and when.

    This smells like a very badly formed question. I would never want to watch TV on my home computer if I could 'choose wat and when to watch' on my TV.

    My TV is way bigger than my PC, located in a far more confortable room. This answer looks like the question had too few possible options; if you could have video-on-demand on your TV you wouldn't dream of giving the above answer.
    • You're right - the question really is 'would you use video-on-demand on your computer', and many people seem willing. Your comment, though, ignores the fact that video on demand only works 'well' for 1 (cable) of the 3 (air, cable, satellite) common video distribution systems. It happens to work very well for broadband.

      The fact is that multiple recent studies (1 with a pretty picture []) have shown that very desirable demographics (males, 21-30, for example) spend a LOT of time on the internet, which means ad
  • people will only want larger screens to view TV (or any other type of video) on their phones, and yet they don't want their phones to bloat in size until they become voice-enabled PDAs, so it's really a perpetual dilemma.

    everything else succeeded on a cell phone - voice, WAP (well, partially), ringtones, simple games, mp3s, camera...EXCEPT video

    same reason why all those portable Windows Media players aren't selling like hot cakes, and the same reason why people buy the 5th Gen iPod primarily for mp3. The sc
  • Japan (Score:5, Informative)

    by ajohnj1 ( 534707 ) <.adjohn. .at.> on Monday November 07, 2005 @11:46AM (#13969696)
    TV on mobiles have been 'there' in Japan for awhile now. It is pretty much a standard feature on all of the "free" phones you can get when you sign up for new service. Whether people actually watch TV on their phones is another question...
    • They don't.

      In Japan, they have Giant Pink Robots to watch TV for you.
      • > > TV on mobiles have been 'there' in Japan for awhile now.
        > > Whether people actually watch TV on their phones is another question...

        > In Japan, they have Giant Pink Robots to watch TV for you.

        If the Japanese weren't so resistant to immigration, perhaps they could hire lots of old Korean people instead, and retrain them to watch TV instead of read email (-_^)
  • Needs features (Score:3, Insightful)

    by flyinwhitey ( 928430 ) on Monday November 07, 2005 @11:47AM (#13969701)
    The desire for TV on a mobile isn't coming from consumers, it's being pitched to them by phone companies desperate to set themselves apart somehow.

    Without a new feature to set themselves apart, they will be seen as technologically deficient. If the other guy has it, we must have it too.

    Of course, whether TV is actually useable (much like early internet on cellphones) isn't really important. Only that it is offered to make someone sign a contract.

  • Tiny Screen (Score:4, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 07, 2005 @11:47AM (#13969704)
    I did some research into this a few years back and found some interesting conclusions. I edited together a short documentary discussing the difficulties with watching videos on a cellphone. Once phone makers got beyond the large battery requirements, and found a way to prevent people from watching the video with the speaker on in a quiet restaurant, there were still some fundamental issues that were difficult to overcome.

    One was the fact that most consumers would happily pay double or triple for their phone so they could get it without TV but with good reception and sound quality. However, the most daunting problem with video on phones still hasn't been addressed.

    To learn about this problem, I invite you to watch my video on the subject. The documentary was filmed in hi-def and recoded to for streaming cell-phone transmission. Simply click the video screen below to start watching.

    Video Screen -->> [=]

    Thank you for watching. I hope it is quite clear why TV on cellphones isn't a mainstream desire.

    In the issue of full disclosure, my company is working on displaying e-books on cell phones. You can see a preview below.

    Cell-E-Book 2.0 -->> [N]

    • Re:Tiny Screen (Score:2, Interesting)

      by MrNiCeGUi ( 302919 )
      And still people read e-books on their cell phones. My phone can display about 19 lines of text with cleartype, which is very readable. It's not the ideal e-book display, but it has one grat advantage over anything else: the phone is always with me. I had for about 6 months now and I've read about 4 or 5 books on it. If I get 15 minutes of spare time I can take it out and read. I can imagine the same thing with video. There are plenty of phones with 320x240 displays and I think videos would be pretty watcha
    • People will get high-quality televisions in their phones before they get good reception in their conversations.

      Mind-control works best when applied through a clear signal. Mind-fogging works best when the user is straining and slightly annoyed.

      It'll be funny when both high and low quality are found in the same package and the cell phone companies tell you with straight faces that there's nothing anybody can do about it.


  • by museumpeace ( 735109 ) on Monday November 07, 2005 @11:48AM (#13969709) Journal
    if they want to watch Sex and the City while they are on the subway, more power to 'em. Although the signal condition is erratic in my part of the world, I'd say only passengers should operate mobile devices of any kind. As a cyclist, I would like people to understand that the less distractions for drivers, the better.
  • by geekwithsoul ( 860466 ) <> on Monday November 07, 2005 @11:51AM (#13969744)
    Instead of :Is the mainstream market not yet ready for portable video?

    The question should be: Is portable video not yet ready for the mainstream market?

    Why spend time and money to be able to watch TV and/or movies on a portable device like an iPod or phone, when all that is on TV is crap? There are two different reasons people watch TV (usually gender differentiated), one is excitement and the other is escapism into a good story. Big budget movies and sporting events on a small screen are, let's face it, a stupid idea and painful to watch. Escapist television is all about cocooning in your big comfy couch/recliner and ignoring the rest of the world for awhile, which is not really suitable for a mobile device.

    I wouldn't want to watch most of what is on TV on a 60-inch plasma w/ surround sound, let alone a teeny-tiny LCD with earbuds.
  • by theJML ( 911853 ) on Monday November 07, 2005 @11:52AM (#13969751) Homepage
    So I know I'm probably just addding to the other people on here that have already vented that portable TV is a thing of the past, and that the screen is too small, and that there's nothing good on anyway, etc... but obviously the OEMs and Service Providers don't realize this yet... It used to be cool to be able to pick up that TV signal anywhere and watch TV, but not only is it old hat, but why would I want to do that on a Cell Phone of all things? Think about it:
    I'm at home, I watch the HDTV in the living room.
    I'm in the Home Office, I have a TV tuner (that rarely gets used, but that's beside the point)
    I'm on the go, there are DVD players and TV tuners for in car stereos (which have much better sound and typically are like 7" screens)
    I'm in the office, there's a TV in the break room (besides, I'm too busy to watch TV at work anyway or I wouldn't have a job)

    Why do we need another one? Are people standing around waiting in lines for the train? Is that the only market? I used to surf the net on my phone waiting for my plane when I traveled, but it was usually only for a few minutes to get the news because the screen was too darn small. How many people ride the train/plane/bus to work? I assume it's a decent number, but compare that to the number of people that can afford a phone that enables them to watch TV and how many actualy care to watch TV in the first place and then see how many are in all categories... then realize that we're talking about a small percentage of people here and realize that Cell phone TV = "Nothing to see here, move along"

    Just my $0.02 I guess.
    • Well I agree with you that most portable TV's are a failure because the screen is too small, signal issues, etc... so I would have to agree that TV on a phone on an iPod/Phone isn't going to be appealing to too many people.

      But I own a PSP for traveling... a bus to NYC or plan to LA goes buy a LOT faster with one of these gagets. I fill the memory card with TV shows from MythTV & bring a game. Its the one dual purpose gadget with a sufficently large high-quality screen IMHO. I think Sony is making a
  • by DrXym ( 126579 ) on Monday November 07, 2005 @11:55AM (#13969772)
    It's just that the current 3G offerings are a total ripoff. It's a wonder that anyone would bother with the pissy service offered by the likes of 3, Vodfone, O2 etc. For a small fortune your 3G subscription lets you watch miniscule clips such as movie trailers and other crap that you can get for free from the Internet.

    Considering that the UK has DVB coverage in virtually every populated area (and it's unencrypted), it is a wonder that there is no phone that can tap into it. There might be issues with roaming around from area to area & reception, but even so a phone that offered unimpeded access to DVB would still kick 3Gs arse all over the shop. Later models would probably even be DVRs as well, either to a memory card or hard drive.

    But such a device is unlikely to ever happen - at least as a subsidized offering. The telcos have spent billions on the lame duck called 3G and they're certainly not going to let their customers get something better for free.

  • "Is the mainstream market not yet ready for portable video?"

    Better question, "How much is the average person willing to pay to watch TV on his cellphone?"

    Speaking for myself, $0.00. The only possible market I can think of for this (outside of you hardcore "gadget heads") would be sports fans that want to be able to immediately see instant replays while at a game. However, aren't games often "blacked out" in the area near the stadium anyways?

    I can see how a Phone/PDA has potential - especially if Palm and
  • It's just matter of quality.
    With music, you have good quality speakers at home, or earphones you wear and they provide comparable quality. You don't listen to the music in form of ringtones from the phone speaker, keeping an inch wide speaker a foot away from your ear causes so much quality loss that it's worthless.
    Same with video. If you watch the tiny screen of your phone from 1 foot away, it's hard to make out any details. The loss of quality is so huge the experience is worthless. If it was based on "VR
  • Say you aren't at home but the big game is on. Or a big news event occurs, etc.
    Also I can see the appeal for teenagers who don't control the family TV.
  • For starters, who wants to look at a screen that tiny for any length of time. It's already a bugger to surf the internet on a cell phone as it stands now, much less watch a video of a news article. With a screen that small important details would be rendered too small to be of much use.

    Secondly, cell phone battery time is an issue. Anytime you have your phone communicating with the network, you're burning up your available useability. Would you like to explain to your boss that you missed that very importan
  • I personally think that video will catch on with cellphones...not necessarily TV as we know it, but certainly shows broadcast on television currently, and other video content.

    However, in order for this to happen there are three huge barriers...screen size and battery life and cellphone companies. Screen size might be solved partially by roll up screens that you could pull out of your phone, or holographic ones, or by an eye piece of some sort. I personally wouldn't be surprised to see an eye piece in the

  • Internet-based TV from foreign countries. Globalization is spreading people all over the place, and they want to watch shows in their native language, reflecting their own native culture. There is a huge demand for shows all over the world, and not only for entertainment purposes:I've seen kids of immigrant families(born and raised here in the US) who refuse to speak in anything but English to their moms and dads, and it pains me as much as it pains the parents. Availability of TV shows in the native l
  • I'll only watch TV on my mobile if it doesn't come out of my minutes and looks as good if not better than my TV does at home (on a smaller screen of course). I'd gladly pay a small flat rate, $5-10 extra per month maybe for unlimited TV viewing. It can't have commercials, and I should be able to pause, rewind, fast forward, stop, playback, and record if I so choose. Any recorded programming I capture should be infinitely transferrable and viewable on other devices with none of that current DRM horseshit.
  • Can you imagine if a few per-cent of mobile TV viwers get motion sickness on the train or bus? It's not going to be fun finding if you, or the person sitting next to you gets motion sickness.
  • Thank God (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ( 121677 ) on Monday November 07, 2005 @12:24PM (#13970002) Homepage
    If you think mobile phones are annoying now, wait 'til you have to sit in front of the dipshit watching Tupac videos at top volume (crappy mobile phone speaker quality of course) behind you on the train.

    Is already happening here (Germany).
  • Why is this an "Apple" story? Last I checked "Apple" didn't make any cell phones capable of receiving video broadcasts.
  • Is the mainstream market not yet ready for portable video?

    That's the perfect inverse of the real question: is portable video not yet ready for the mainstream market?

    We know people love their mobile phones, and love having them perform a wide variety of functions. We know people love TV. We know people love having control of their TV via electronic gadgets. It seems silly, then, to blame lack of adoption on people being unready rather than the technology being unready.

    I'd like to receive TV portably and cont
  • by SuperKendall ( 25149 ) * on Monday November 07, 2005 @12:42PM (#13970137)
    So here's an interesting theory. The only thing that can really unhinge the iPod run is if phones start to become an appealing replacemnet.

    So, Apple goes and adds video to iPods - knowing that it won't really be appealing for many people to use in that way, but heck color screens are getting pretty cheap and it doesn't take a lot of effort.

    The side benefit? Every phone maker and thier grandmother go to a huge amount of work to support mobile video, with upgraded screens and networks to transmit vidoe and so on and so forth. All at huge expense and increasing the price of phones and services.

    Now you have a whole generation of phones that are overly pricey, and do too many things - leaving people to prefer the more popular dedicated solution for music, the iPod.

    Market accident or design - you decide.
  • Ok - I feel quite qualified to join in here as I have both a 3G phone (Sharp 902) from vodaphone and also the video ipod. Now I don't know what others have experienced with 3G TV but I can tell you that at BEST (i.e. full strength 3G signal - stationary) it passes off as "barely acceptable" - i.e. you might just bother to watch it if you had no other option and you NEEDED to watch something. The moment you add in factors like (for example) moving on a train ( where I have been doing my research on this matt
  • "Is the mainstream market not yet ready for portable video?"

    This is pretty typical of the stupid questions that get asked on slashdot. The question should be "Is portable video ready for the mainstream market?" The answer is NO it isn't, at least not in the US. I've seen the extremely crappy offerings that SprintPCS had like MobiTV. It was like a slideshow with audio. I've never understood that why no one has offered black & white streaming video with mono audio. You'd be able to get a much better pi
  • If iTunes Music Store can successfully sell video with granularity lower than an entire movie... and, in general, content that is "worth" less than $20... it opens up a world of possibilities. And I'd say individual episodes of popular television sitcoms at two bucks a pop are a good start.

    It doesn't matter what device you watch them on. That's just technology, which--not to be dismissive--is the least important part of the equation.

    If companies can make money selling five-inch DVD players for $70, making a
  • The problem is one of cost. Why do people want to pay $400 for a device that realistically only plays something you have to pay $2-$3 per episode to see. The ipod was a hit more because it got the blessing of music companies, confering legitimacy on everyones gb stash of pirated music. If not why has Apple sold >20 million players but only a few hundred million songs (roughly 1-2 cds per ipod. Video players will not take off until there are vast stores of video programming that people have located on
  • I have a cell phone. I like having a cell phone. My cell phone has no MP3 player, no video, no camera.

    I have a wireless PDA. I like my PDA. I can browse the web. I can use it as an MP3 player. I can watch videos from different video blogs over my lunch hour.

    I would love to push these both into 1 product. But there is 1 major issue. If the battery in my PDA dies, I turn it off for the day. If the battery in my Cellphone dies, I'm screwed. Running a video player on your cell phone uses plenty of juice. If the
  • It is quite simple, really. When I want to watch a movie (or series etc etc), I don't want to be interrupted. I want to be confortable, and I want peace. So I'll want to be in my room, livingroom or even computer room for that. I can get my notebook with me to an hotel, and watch some DVDs. Same for an airplane. I can even do that in my car, is someone else is driving (good batteries and car adapter cords are avaliable).

    Where else would I want (and be able to) watch a movie ? I can't think of a single place
  • by javaxman ( 705658 ) on Monday November 07, 2005 @01:34PM (#13970707) Journal
    I really think the iPod video is about having the *option* to carry your video around with you. It's not the main feature. It's almost a diversion.

    The real feature is downloading TV shows over the internet. iTunes Music ( and Video ) store, to be specific.

    Why is everyone focused on the iPod video and mobile phones? Did you not notice that iMac shipping with an integrated remote control ? Do you think every one of those million videos sold in the first 20 days [] of iTunes selling videos went anywhere near a mobile?

    If I had a chance to sell a million of something for $2.99 each this month, I'd do it, even if I only made a fraction of that $2.99 off each sale.

    This may not be all about the iPod, people. Apple has to keep refreshing the iPod to chase those huge iPod sales numbers, but this iTunes video initiative may not depend on a portable device. 45% of everyone is a pretty good start, and as people get used to the idea and put their computers in more media-friendly locations with more high-speed connections, that number is only going to grow.

  • by PhYrE2k2 ( 806396 ) on Tuesday November 08, 2005 @12:20AM (#13976459)
    Let us get this straight.

    You're trying to tell me people don't want to watch pixelated postage-stamp sized television with the need for headphones. I think this is going to take a lot of convinicing to get me to believe that! This has the possibility of the joys of 200x200 pixelated porn (mmm... it's a four-pixel nipple).

    [end sarcasm]

    Seriously folks. It's neat to see a short clip or series of images (cell phones already have a graphics format like flash movies and small animations and flip-book styles) for things like the weather... but live TV. Jeeze.

    PS: The only time you might need it (an emergency or something) I'm sure it'll be too overloaded to get the news.

"God is a comedian playing to an audience too afraid to laugh." - Voltaire