Phones for watching TV

Standard GSM phones are just about acceptable for narrowcasting TV (a signal sent to a single handset – yours) offered by the networks, especially 3, and by Rok and other third-party services. 3G speeds are better, though.

The alternatives are all broadcast – one signal transmitted for reception by anyone with the right receiver. DAB – digital audio broadcasting – is currently used for digital radio signals in the UK, but BT Movio has a way of piggybacking a TV signal on to it. This is currently provided by one supplier, Virgin Mobile, and on only one handset; currently the service offers a handful of broadcast TV channels (the usual BBC, ITV and C4 suspects plus a couple of special-interest channels) as well as dozens of radio stations. DAB is relatively simply but has a downside in that it requires more power than DVB-H.
DVB-H is likely to be the standard for broadcast TV, at least in Europe and at least for the near future. It isn’t yet commercially available – the world’s regulators have been leery about releasing spectrum for the signal transmissions – but the last few months have seen the release of a number of ready-for-TV phones with DVB-H receivers built in. Still, it will be months (maybe years) before DVB-H is widely available.
The internet provides a halfway house. Short videos are already available on free websites like MySpace, and there are a number of subscription services offering longer programming. For unjerky viewing this requires a high-speed internet connection, preferably at HSDPA’s broadband speeds; GPRS and even standard 3G will be disappointing at best.
What we’re looking for:
• A generously sized screen – at least 320×240 pixels, and the bigger the better
• Rich colours – a capability for 65,000 colours is the minimum required, but the more the better to cope with the full range of tones in live TV
• Fast access – preferably 3G to ensure smooth signal reception, ideally HSDPA and/or WiFi to allow for the option of internet TV

The following two tabs change content below.