The U.S. is the unofficial king of couch potato syndrome. Fitness enthusiasts swear that syndrome contributes to the obesity problem in the U.S. Despite numerous strategies, we as a nation can’t seem to get off the couch and stop watching TV. That is until now. Maybe the answer to curbing the couch potato syndrome is to leave the TV part in the equation. Hence MobileTV. According to an RCR Wireless News article, mobileTV is firmly off the ground and coming to a handheld near you soon. So, you will soon be able to get off the couch, but keep the TV. One of the more interesting scenarios around MobileTV is its competitive implications
The RCR article featured a comparison between Hiwire and MediaFLO, the two most established mobileTV options in the U.S. Hiwire is owned by Aloha Partners, the largest owner of 700 Mhz spectrum in the U.S (at least for now) and uses the DVB-H standard. MediaFLO was developed by Qualcomm and has been established as a Qualcomm business unit. There is a natural competitive rivalry between these two providers, but the implications go beyond just the two of them. What remains to be seen is how mobileTV will be positioned in the marketplace. Will it simply be a feature offered by all major wireless carriers, or will stand alone mobileTV companies emerge that offer a compelling entertainment on the go service alone. Taking it a step further, will mobileTV mature to a legitimate competitor to home cable/IPTV/DBS service? Will smartphones or mobile media players some day also function as a STB for my home television? Some day in the not too distant future, mobileTV services may contribute to ditching “landline” television service, in much the same way that mobile wireless is eroding landline telephone service today. It’s difficult to see a day when mobileTV will be robust enough to rival today’s landline subscription television service. But maybe it doesn’t have too. Maybe a significant number of consumers will get “just enough” from mobileTV to cut the television cord. No one knows the answers to these questions. There are a lot of smart people who will predict many things. But as always, the future is decided by paying consumers. It will be fun to watch. And in this case, thanks to mobileTV, we can watch it wherever we happen to be.