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TV next killer app for cellphones, analyst says

Apr 28, 2005 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — views

Calling it the next “killer app for cellular handsets,” ABI Research says that television is on its way into mobile phones. This development is expected to add a new set of players to the “cellular ecosystem” such as broadcasters, content providers, and advertisers, according to a new ABI study.

There are a number of naysayers who insist that mobile TV is mostly hype and is suitable only for some niche markets, according to ABI. Some of the objections are:

  • People won't watch video on the go
  • The screen is too small
  • No one wants to watch a half-hour program on a cell phone
  • The cell phone battery will run down too quickly
  • Implementing mobile TV is too expensive and doesn't offer a business case for operators.

Alan Varghese, ABI Research's principal analyst of semiconductor research, disagrees. “Consumers can watch TV when sitting in a taxi or train, or in any waiting room,” he says. “For optimum TV viewing, the best viewing distance is 5x the screen size. That is exactly the distance people hold their cell phones, and typical screen resolution is now sufficient for TV.”

While short clips are likely to be the mainstay of mobile TV, Varghese contends that “for die-hard fans, watching their favorite half hour sitcom is not out of the question.”

As for power consumption, ABI believes that IC vendors and handset manufacturers have the ability to reduce the power consumption of mobile video enough to permit “many hours of viewing time.”

“So hold on if you are in the market for a new TV,” continues Varghese. “You may want to buy a cell phone instead.” Heh.

The new study, “Mobile Television Devices and ICs” discusses issues such as: market drivers for mobile TV, deployment schedules, worldwide frequency plans, business models, technical formats, RF tuner and baseband chipset architectures, and more, according to ABI.

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