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A Cheaper Alternative to a Mobile TV Phone

Posted by: Olga Kharif on February 11, 2008

Until today, consumers wishing to catch mobile TV broadcasts were forced to purchase special, mobile TV-enabled handsets, such as LG’s VX9400 from Verizon Wireless. These phones have typically sold for around $200, and have also required users to renew their service contracts for another two years.

On Feb. 11, mobile software company PacketVideo has released a much less expensive alternative. Its PacketVideo Mobile Broadcast Receiver (MBR) is a tiny gadget the size of a matchbox. The device, which is expected to sell for around $100, lets any phone receive mobile TV and audio programs.

How it works: The device catches mobile TV and audio broadcasts and relays them onto a user's Wi-Fi-enabled phone, such as Apple's iPhone -- or to any Wi-Fi-enabled device, for that matter -- via Wi-Fi. The receiver can receive mobile broadcasts from so-called DVB-H mobile TV stations, but a version that receives MediaFlo programs is also in the works. The best part is, the MBR can communicate with your phone over some distance, so you could keep the gadget in your purse, for example, which watching footage on your phone. The device should become available, in Europe first, by year-end.

Unfortunately, PacketVideo plans to market the device through carrier stores -- so, I expect, consumers will still need to extend their service contracts to get a lower price.

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Reader Comments

Amitabh Kumar

February 12, 2008 12:23 AM

Plug on devices or accessories such as Mobile Broadcast Receiver (MBR) is at present a DVB-H reciever which is different from the Mobile TV transmitted via Verizon using Media FLO technology. However it does demonstrate one important principle i.e. the need of tranmission of TV programs via broadband wireless such as WiFi or WiMAX in addition to the bobile terrestrial broadcasting technlogies. These terrestrial technologies are multiple and have a number of implementation profiles which makes implementation even in a single country difficult and sufficiently large reciever handset base may be difficult to achieve. On the other hand WiFi technology is now universally supported.

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BusinessWeek writers Peter Burrows, Cliff Edwards, Olga Kharif, Aaron Ricadela, Douglas MacMillan, and Spencer Ante dig behind the headlines to analyze what’s really happening throughout the world of technology. One of the first mainstream media tech blogs, Tech Beat covers everything from tech bellwethers like Apple, Google, and Intel and emerging new leaders such as Facebook to new technologies, trends, and controversies.



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