Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Virgin Mobile Launches Mobile TV Service

TopTechNews reports that Virgin Mobile has hooked up with Microsoft and BT to "become the first European cellular operator to deliver live TV to its customers." Virgin will "use BT's Movio system, which is based on the digital audio broadcasting (DAB) standard."

The company also launched a new smartphone from HTC, dubbed the Trilogy, that is optimized for TV viewing, and give customers "access to an array of digital TV content and some 350 DAB stations."

The Trilogy handset "features a 2.2-inch screen, removable storage, and an integrated 1.3-megapixel camera. It runs the Windows Mobile 5.0 operating system and includes Windows Media technology for playing live video and audio content."

IDC analyst Dave Linsalata said, "We are at a point where the industry is looking at new ways to leverage the technology in their new handsets. Certainly, smartphones won't replace TV sets, but the popularity of mobile games and ringtones indicates that people are using the devices for more than making calls." Linsalata noted there were still barriers inhibiting the mass adoption of mobile TV such as "the challenge of delivering a compelling TV-viewing experience on a small screen."

Yankee Group analyst Michael Goodman said, Being able to watch TV anywhere, anytime is attractive, but there is a limit to what people will pay for short bursts of content." Linsalata concurred that pricing was critical, and added that "content providers need to create more programming for the mobile market before it can take off."

As has been noted here many times, pricing will make or break all of these myriad mobile services coming out of the woodwork. It seems each service, whether it's mobile TV, radio, music, gaming or personal training monitoring, is priced a la carte, and when you throw in voice and data/messaging plans then the costs really add up. How long will it take before there is a consumer backlash to the costs of all this stuff the operators are trying to cram down our throats? Methinks it will happen sooner than later as consumers start to treat the carriers' networks as just fat wireless pipes to get their usual Internet fix in a mobile manner...

Photo via Engadget