Mobile Video

I have to admit, I’ve been skeptical of watching video on mobile devices.
Maybe its because I live in a city where its easy to drive places rather than take public transportation, and when I do take public transportation, its mostly underground. Its definitely not something that fits into my usage patterns. I can see why Japan and Europe find it so useful though.
However, several new services and technologies have really opened my eyes to the possibilities of video on mobile phones or PDAs:
1) Orb
Orb lets you convert your TiVo programs to video that can be streamed from your home PC to your mobile phone. The thing that amazed me was the ease of setup and that I was watching my favorite programs on my phone in a couple of seconds. I really like the transcoding and pre-caching that happens on the PC.
2) MobiTV
Why do I want to watch live broadcast TV on my phone? Well, if there’s a live event that you just can’t miss, or you happen to have 10 minutes to catch the latest news report, its pretty useful. Again, the simplicity of setup, and the fact that good quality video was coming down in seconds made all the difference.
3) Orange TV
Customers of France Telecom’s Orange TV service can watch broadcast TV through the mobile service. It servers some top content and is very powerful as one of the first deployments of a mobile TV solution. Orange has a reputation of being an innovator, and shows it here with a compelling offering.
4) iTunes Video
What can I say, Apple does it again. They’ve proved people are willing to download content for PCs and mobile devices, and en masse. Having the full end-to-end solution means they can provide a market place for interesting content and make it simple for users to enjoy.
5) Higher Quality Screens & High Speed Networks
Some of the screen technology I’ve been seeing lately really impresses me. That combined with the high-speed data networks that can serve a 320×240 resolution video stream starts to open up the possibilities of really watching quality video on decent glass.
Does it make it seem like I’m watching TV on a 32-inch screen? No way, but you can at least you can get some decent clarity of the images. I’m still not planning on watching the World Cup this way because you just can’t pick out the tiny soccer ball.
Prediction …
Video Services will explode over the next year, as people start to realize that the content is highly desired and easily consumable in small doses on mobile devices. The turning point will consist of a couple of solutions …
- Your programs, news, and sports on demand
When its trivial to call up the latest episode of 24or a hockey game already in progress, either from a service that you have to pay for or from your own DVR (like Orb), then I’m hooked.
- Sharing content or home movies
Users will want to send program to people to watch immediately, either as news clips that have relevance between two parties, pay-for content that can be linked to or gifted to another user, or just shooting pictures of your new baby and sending them to the grandparents.