Skip to main content

In-Stat Identifies Two Potential Models for Mobile TV Viewing

A new In-Stat research report, US Consumers Weigh In on Mobile Video Content Choices, may provide some guidance for broadcasters pondering program lineups for future mobile TV services.

The study identified two potential models for mobile TV viewing. In the “waiting room” model, viewers prefer watching TV on cell phones or portable media players. Larger screens, such as those on mobile Internet devices or ultra-mobile PCs are preferred by “leisure time” viewers who have more time available.

It is not a surprise that the study found user- and professionally produced content on the Internet is moving viewing from the living room TV set to computers. WiFi hotspots and 3G mobile Internet services make this content available to devices such as Nokia’s N810, Apple’s iPhone, or small notebook computers.

Other findings mentioned include:

  • Mobile operators offering 3G and out-of-band video content (MediaFLO, etc.) have the near-term advantage in fulfilling both leisure time and waiting room usage modes;
  • U.S. survey respondents prefer monthly subscription fees to the purchase of video devices;
  • There is a strong preference for full-length shows rather than selected highlights tailored for mobile viewing.

The In-Stat research provides additional confirmation that consumers are interested in mobile and handheld TV. The preference for full-length shows indicates broadcasters may not have to create new content to take advantage of mobile TV, although it isn’t clear how viewers used to getting Internet video content on demand will react to shows broadcast on a fixed schedule.

One possible way around that—if the manufacturers are able to implement it within their devices’ power and size constraints—would be to have the device store selected content for viewing later. Fortunately, the size of files for display on cell phone screens is small enough that the amount of memory needed to store many shows isn’t that large. Devices with bigger screens have more storage capability, but unlike cell phones are likely to be turned off and packed away when not in use, making it difficult to function as a PVR, grabbing shows as they are broadcast.

The entire report may be purchased on-line for $3,495.

Doug Lung is one of America's foremost authorities on broadcast RF technology. He has been with NBC since 1985 and is currently vice president of broadcast technology for NBC/Telemundo stations.