Mobile TV: Analog's Resilience And Folks' Thriftiness
I neglected to mention in Tuesday’s piece that back at February’s Mobile World Congress, Qualcomm unveiled a next-generation enhancement to MediaFLO called FLO-EV. I wasn’t briefed on the technology, nor did I attend the show, but according to Dean Takahashi:
The new technology will allow Qualcomm to launch mobile TV service in international markets. The FLO-EV technology helps lower the costs of deploying mobile TV in a region and expands the number of TV channels that can be offered…The new FLO-EV technology can lower costs by an estimated 30 percent to 50 percent, raise the quality of video delivered, reduce power consumption in devices that receive the TV signals, and allow for rapid channel changing and a 50 percent increase in channel capacity.
Qualcomm reportedly also showcased a Snapdragon-powered netbook tuning in and playing back MediaFLO transmissions over its LCD and integrated speaker(s). Gee…where have I heard that concept before…
With all this talk of digital mobile television technologies (also including international standards such as DVB-H and DVB-M, 1seg, and T-DMB), it can be easy to forget that a notable percentage of the world is still tuning into analog TV and likely will continue doing so for some time to come. Much of the world isn’t plagued by spectrum constraints that currently hobble the United States’ wireless data aspirations, nor do many countries have the financial resources to spur technology transitions such as the United States’ NTSC-to-ATSC migration last June.
The endurance of analog is a lesson that Telegent Systems made sure I heard loud and clear when I met with the company two months ago. The company is a bit of a Silicon Valley oddity, with its headquarters in the United States but all of its business opportunities overseas due to the aforementioned NTSC-to-ATSC transition here. Those opportunities include both dedicated portable TVs such as Qualcomm’s FLO TV device and TV-inclusive cellular handsets such as the Android-based one that Innocomm is talking up. For more on Telegent Systems, check out an IEEE Spectrum showcase piece from last fall.
You might think that folks still stuck with analog television services are somewhat Luddite or fiscally too tight, but you "ain’t seen nothing yet". Check out this guy, showcased in both Boing Boing and Gizmodo:
While the second was snapped at Barnes & Noble, then passed on to CrunchGear (nice CRT monitor there, big fella):
C’mon, guys. Too cheap to spring for entry-level broadband, and too oblivious (or uncaring) of how silly you look?