Digital Television Goes Mobile


We could have presumed this miraculous event was going to happen sooner than later. We already play videogames, check email, browse the internet, and watch movies and other types of media on our cell phones/Ipods. It only makes sense that adding television to our portable devices would soon follow. The demand for live television broadcasts 24/7, wherever one may be, should allow for a healthy influx of consumer activity. It must be like Christmas Eve for advertisers with visions of an exciting new medium in which to occupy the consumer psyche. No need to be annoyed watching some program you haven’t the least interest in watching while waiting at the Dr.’s office, airport, mechanics, or eating at the local bar/grill. Just whip out your cell and pick up the Big East Conference, the daytime soap of your choice, a live news bulletin, or streams of your favorite primetime drama or sitcom. Mobile TV is to home television/internet, as cell phones are to landlines.

I tend to be in the late majority to laggards period of adoption of the latest new technologies. I like to find out how things work, how people like them, wait for the price to go down, the bugs to be ironed, and improvements to roll out before I buy a new electronic tool. I just bought a Wii console last weekend. I might be the last person to purchase one. I’ve been pondering an iPhone now for possibly a year. I almost purchased one last fall, but decided to put it off for a bit longer. I wanted the 32G vs. the 8g, but they are still too expensive. I continue to hear negative feedback on performance and speed, so I’ll wait it out a bit longer. I have to admit, I have not seen any marketing of Mobile TV yet, although it is clearly available.

AT&T already offers DTV service with their “AT&T Mobile TV” with a 9.99/mo. starting rate with roughly a dozen channels, including NBC, CBS, ESPN, MTV, Fox,
Comedy Central, and others.
http://www.wireless.att.com/learn/messaging-internet/mobile-tv/.

Verizon has a similar deal with its V CAST Mobile TV offer.
http://products.verizonwireless.com/index.aspx?id=fnd_mobileTV

There are disadvantages to Mobile TV. The most obvious social issue will be, of course, mobile viewing while driving. Many states have already adopted legislation banning texting, email, IM, and navigational technology while driving. President Obama recently banned these activities for all federal employees while working or operating government vehicles. Legislators could and should be proactive and address this potentially dangerous activity before anyone dies. Another potential issue is viewing mobile TV devices while at work, in class, or other inappropriate places. But if employers, universities, and schools are equally proactive, they will find a way to implement the technology in order to add efficiency and communication in the workplace or enhance the educational curriculum, as the Abilene Christian University in Texas has done with the iPhone and iPod Touch.

The implications of the availability of 24/7 Mobile TV and how it affects real face to face interaction will be of interest to the social researchers of the world. It is likely that these devices may serve to put us into impenetrable bubbles, render us unapproachable and prevent us from conversing with the guy sitting next to us in the airport, or the Dr.’s waiting room. At least with television at home, we can watch it with people and interact with them, but watching tv on your cell is something you do by yourself. Will we all eventually turn into turtles and grow hard shells around our bodies? It is worth mentioning. One last concern is the hope that some company is developing the technology to power these devices for longer than a couple of hours.

In tandem, we’ll soon be accessing the internet through our HDTV’s at home. The technology is there, and I’m certain there are people who have it already. No need to sit at a desk, or awkwardly try to find a comfortable position to hold a heated piece of electronics on our laps, we’ll just lounge on our sofas or easy chairs with keyboard in hand and shop, read news, write a research paper, play games, blog, Facebook, Skype, while viewing high definition and enjoying surround sound at a distance. Less strain on our eyes, perhaps? I may be within the early adopters to early majority for this one.

And so I’ve gotten this blog in before the midnight deadline, so I consider myself in pretty good shape.

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2 thoughts on “Digital Television Goes Mobile

  1. We are with Sprint & mobile TV is included in our plan at no extra charge. I use it occassionally, it is good for waiting at dr. offices & such. We’ve come a long way from people carrying around giant boom boxes on thier shoulders & miniature black & white TV sets with rabbit ears on them.

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