The screen's the thing when it comes to mobile TV

The lackluster performance of mobile TV--not to be confused with the broadcasters' mobile digital TV (Mobile DTV) which has yet to be proven or disproven--can probably be tracked back to the size of the screen on cell phones, which, in turn, can probably be traced to the recent surge of service providers looking to send their content to so-called mobile tablets like Apple's iPad or the device being developed by Motorola (NYSE: MOT) and Verizon (NYSE: VZ).

As Current Analysis analyst Erik Keith argued in sister publication FierceTelecom, "watching virtually any TV/video program on an average standard-definition TV set is a far better viewing experience than any mobile device can provide." Keith also argued that mobile networks, just due to bandwidth constraints, "will always be a step or two behind the concurrent bandwidth/services able to be delivered by established TV broadcast technology."

The thing is, the attraction of going out to a mobile device is so strong that service providers are brushing past those concerns. Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC-WI), for instance, is in the process of developing an application that allows subscribers to browse its interactive programming on Apple iPads as part of its TV Everywhere initiative. Verizon has stated that its LTE networks will be less about smartphones and more about tablets that would be hooked up to its FiOS broadband offerings to as CFO John Killian said, give customers "quality and premium service and premium speed."

Elsewhere in the world, things are a little different--but not much. In Brazil, where cable continues to have a difficult time grabbing a strong toehold, broadcasters are looking at mobile as a way of growing their market share. The move is running concurrently with Brazil's rollout of digital TV and TV Globo engineering manager Carlos Fini said the company is building a plan around using portable television as an audience enhancer. "We need to think about a new business model to compete with new media," he said.

For more:
- see this Mediabistro blog post
- and this Rethink Wireless story
- and ITWeb has this story

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