Folks from Motorola’s CTO office have been getting around. Last month John Ulm presented on engineering IP video at SCTE, and this month Dan Tell took the stage to talk mobile video at the Telco TV show. His major theme? Mobile TV will be less like living-room TV, and more like Internet TV on the go – personalized, interactive, available everywhere. Content will become even more of a service than it is today, and that begs a question. What are the requirements for a viable mobile TV offering?
According to Tell, there are three basic features that will make a mobile TV service compelling:
- The ability to access live content either via broadcast or a video “slinging” solution
- A huge library of on-demand content – movies, shows, clips, USG, etc.
- A hybrid streaming/download option for access to video with or without a broadband connection
That sounds like a tall order for any single content service today, but without a doubt we’re getting closer to making it possible. TV Everywhere services, like the one Comcast is launching next month, are a start on the on-demand side, and the smartphone explosion is freeing Internet video from the PC. Meanwhile, there’s recognition in the industry that we need to consolidate broadcast standards, which should speed up mobile broadcasting efforts, and slinging may be losing some of its controversial air as Internet-based video grows in popularity. That leaves us with the hybrid streaming/download solution. Adding on a download component to an existing streaming service is a matter of logistics, but it hinges on the ability to create a scalable business model that combines incremental purchases or rentals with video supported by targeted advertising. This is probably the most difficult challenge mobile TV faces, but it’s being worked on even as I type this, by Motorola and others.
One final note: Dan Tell put together a great chart (at right) showing the adoption timelines for several major consumer technologies. Mobile TV is barely out of its infancy. If tradition holds, major adoption will take place over the next few years.