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.