Mobile Video Growing Beyond Sports Highlights
By Eric Lin, Wed Mar 31 22:45:00 GMT 2004

Mobile video is finally maturing beyond the traditional opening act for every content genre (news, sports, weather). This week a slew of announcements hint at what else we can watch.


Textually started the week out singing the same old song. This time it is Telefonica Movil that will offer streaming programming over GPRS. The content is mostly movie trailers, TV snippets and comics, all presented in Real formats. Only subscribers with Symbian handsets or other devices with a Real player will be able to access the video. None of this is groundbreaking except that Telefonica will not charge premiums for the service, users will only pay GPRS charges for the data.

Telecom TV inches the concept forward just a bit. They may finally understand that since phones about communication, users need a way to send clips to one another. Normally most companies plan on offering this by MMS, however since MMS is not completely interoperable yet, Telecom TV provide a more immediate solution. According to Picturephoning, users can send an SMS with a one click link to the video they want to share. Before anyone declare Telecom TV a success, they'll need some content that users actually want to share, but the model sets a good example.

Opera made an announcement yesterday that took a different approach. They announced they've developed a standards-based interface to program a PVR from a mobile browser- an HTML browser, of course. This is Opera after all. The mobile interactive program guide can schedule recordings on any compatible broadband connected PVR from a mobile phone. Users can search for the show, and set their device to record in a few clicks. Opera neglects to mention which, if any, PVRs are compatible with the MIPG. Though it's not exactly mobile friendly Tivo and Replay TV already offer programming of a PVR over the web.

NTT DoCoMo complete the circle. Dottocomu has a report for us English speakers that they will release an appliance controller for FOMA handsets. 3G subscribers will be able to control thermostats, lights and the like. They will also be able to program the controller to record TV programs using their handset, and then have the control unit stream the programs back to their phone while they are on the go.

Companies are starting to shift from the broadcast models of 20th Century TV to the on-demand models of 21st century video. They're time-shifting the evolution of television as they copy it for mobile devices.