01.21.2004 12:00 PM
Streaming technology puts State of the Union in the palm of your hand

By far, most viewers of George W. Bush’s State of the Union address last night gathered around television sets to watch as the president laid out his assessment and plans for the country’s foreign policy and domestic programs.

But a relatively small number of news viewers didn’t have to stay at home to watch the speech. They simply flipped open their cellular phones and watched and listened to the president on the LCD display of their mobile phone.

MobiTV, a pioneer in live streaming of television content delivered to mobile telephones, carried live television coverage of the State of the Union address that could be watched on a cell phone.

Launched in November 2003, MobiTV was developed by Idetic and is available to owners of some Sprint PCS Vision phones as a J2ME download. MobiTV streamed ABC News Live's coverage of the presidential address.

While the technology is in its infancy and viewership when compared to broadcast, cable and satellite is infinitesimal, streaming news content to mobile telephones is likely to become more common as 3G or third generation cell phones begin to appear. At that point, the streaming of TV news, sports and weather could provide network and local news operations with a powerful means of branding themselves and give them new revenue streams to exploit.

Sprint PCS Vision subscribers pay about $10 per month to receive MobiTV-streamed television channels, such as ABC News Live, MSNBC, CNBC, Discovery Channel, College Sports Television and The Learning Channel. As of the end of September 2003, there were about 2.7 million PCS Vision subscribers; however, far fewer actually subscribe to the streaming television service.

For more information, please visit: www.mobitv.com.

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