A Better Mobile TV

I’ve written about the Mobile Digital Television (Mobile DTV) that is currently undergoing a trial roll-out in the Washington DC market, with eight area stations broadcasting 23 different channels showing the same content as is broadcast on the stations’ regular broadcast channels. My reservations still hold; I don’t think consumers will want to have to buy a new device or a tuner for an existing device. They already own enough displays, and if they want television content, they’ll want to get it on the devices they already own, like a smart phone. And I don’t think consumers are going to be satisfied with watching whatever happens to be on the schedule at that moment. The Internet has changed everything, and one of those changes is that consumers expect to be able to watch what they want, whenever they want.

So I was interested to find out about a service called BitBop, a new service from the Fox Mobile Group. The service lets you watch full episodes of television shows for a flat $10 monthly subscription. It currently offers a wide range of shows, though not as extensive as the Hulu catalog. It’s an app-based system that is currently available only for certain Blackberry models, but additional phones will be supported in the future. You can either stream content and view it directly, or download it to your phone to watch later. And it can use either a 3G or WiFi data connection. It’s not free like Mobile DTV, but the price is reasonable and you don’t have to have anything but your existing smart phone. It’s all you can eat for a flat rate subscription, and ad-free.

I’m pretty sure that more American consumers will be more interested in BitBop than in Mobile DTV. What do you think? Let me know at alfred@hdtvprofessor.com.