Mobile Video Gets Even Hotter
By Carlo Longino, Sat Jan 08 01:15:00 GMT 2005

This week's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas has seen a flurry of announcements about mobile video, which is emerging as operators' leading hope to drive 3G uptake.

"Killer app" is probably an outdated term, but it's clear mobile operators are looking to video over 3G in a big way. US carrier Verizon Wireless used CES as a backdrop to become the latest operator to jump on the bandwagon, announcing VCAST, a video content service running on its EV-DO network.

For $15 a month, VCAST subscribers will be able to choose from 300 daily updated video clips that Verizon says will be made specifically for mobile phones, not cut-down TV clips, and surf the carrier's walled garden of static content as much as they want. For additional fees, they can download music and 3D games, as well as access "premium" video. It looks like Verizon's taking advantage of parent Vodafone's experience with its 3G launch, as it too will offer "mobisodes" from 20th Century Fox.

Judging by the buzz mobile video announcements from CES are generating, there's a lot of interest in it. But is the real interest in simply being able to watch repurposed television on a mobile, or making users able to access personal media files on a mobile, just like they were sitting in front of their TV?

Live TV, with exceptions for sports and news, is becoming an outmoded concept, given the rise of DVRs and BitTorrent, and having users that are able to tune in only for a few "bites" of programming gives rise to these brief, canned videos, made specifically for consumption on mobile phones or not. But if a user's got just a few minutes to spend watching a video, wouldn't they be more interested in watching something they've specifically chosen -- say, a TV show they recorded on their DVR last night -- rather than a 3-minute newscast they may or may not really care about?