Speaking at the NAB conference, Verizon Communications CEO Lowell McAdam was bullish on the future of mobile TV. He stated that half of Verizon Wireless’ network traffic is comprised completely of video. Not only that, but the percentage is only going to increase in the next few years.
A lot of the traction is due directly to LTE expansion. Although 3G and 4G can certainly play video in a somewhat low-res and buffering kind of way, LTE allows full video and HD video to flow fast and furious. Verizon is committed to LTE expansion, and wireless video is quickly becoming a pivotal catalyst to zeroing in on what consumers want. It was especially telling that McAdam was speaking at NAB, perhaps wrestling in with the broadcasters in sending a pretty clear signal, as it were, that broadcast goes beyond TV and onto wireless services and the Internet.
Verizon has stated its plans to leverage its LTE network to broadcast live events, such as next year’s Super Bowl. In fact numerous carriers are focused on bringing top-tier events to their network, the kind of things that used to be exclusive to broadcast television.
As smartphones get larger and tablets get smaller, the sweet spot may finally be ready to hit. Samsung announced this week that in May the Galaxy Mega 5.8 and 6.3 are coming to Europe, with a U.S. release sure to follow. Those numbers are not revisions, those are screen sizes, the Galaxy Mega has a 6.3in 720p display and the 5.8in screen Mega has a HD hi-res screen. Add this in to smaller tablets, such as the iPad mini and the reported Microsoft 7in Windows RT tablet now said to be in the works, it is clear that portable television is handy, pocketable and in some cases already here. Although watching the Super Bowl on your smartphone is a stretch, watching on a 6in or 7in device does make a bit more sense. Especially if you can also use technology like Apple’s Airplay to send it to the big screen.
The trends have been ramping up, and the writing is still on the wall — mobile TV has arrived. The only glitch may be data caps: wireless providers are charging more and also capping and throttling more, so they’ll have to come up with a solution to view a 3-to-5-hour event over a cell network. But the good news is the focus is there, and your next TV may already be in your pocket or purse.