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Mobile TV Guide

There is no doubt people love watching TV from the comfort of their couch. But, with today's busy lifestyle, more and more viewers would like to enjoy their favorite programs whenever they want and wherever they may go. If you are one of these "on the go" folks, there are several exciting mobile TV options for you. Much like the decisions you made when you chose your home TV, there are lots of different shapes and sizes for mobile TV. "Mobile" TV is different from "portable" TV in that the devices can be in constant motion and still receive a signal. Mobile TV may be a pay TV service delivered to subscribers via mobile telecommunications networks, such as the mobile phone carriers, or received from over-the-air local TV stations operating either in regular mode or with a new special mobile digital TV transmission format. Mobile television might also take form of IPTV streaming video from a wireless network, or it could be recorded TV programs such as video podcasts that are downloaded and stored on your mobile device for later viewing.

Types of mobile TV transmission:

1. Over-the-air broadcasting:

  • Mobile digital TV. Local over-the-air TV broadcasters who operate full-power stations completed their transition to all-digital broadcasts last year. Now, with the addition of a modest amount of additional equipment, your local TV broadcasters can send TV content with a new format called mobile DTV. You'll need a device designed to receive the new mobile DTV broadcasts and stations in your area that are transmitting with the new signals. While only a small number of stations are initially transmitting mobile DTV, the technology is expected to spread rapidly because the upgrade expense for the local TV stations is very small. Initially, nearly all of the programming on mobile DTV will be free for the viewer to watch -- since it will start with over-the-air shows that are already transmitted for living rooms TVs.
2. Premium Mobile TV service:
  • FLO TV, also a live, mobile broadcast service, transmits content digitally over UHF channel 55. With network channels specially created for a mobile platform, a subscription to FLO includes offerings from ABC, NBC, CBS and FOX as well as popular "cable" channels such as The Disney Channel and Nickelodeon as well as other programs. The receive FLO, you'll need a device such as a FLO Personal Television or the receiving hardware to outfit an in-vehicle entertainment system (either to retrofit an exisiting vehicle or purchased with a new car). FLO services are also available on some cell phones.
  • Mobile phone cariers each offer different flavors of subscription video programming that is distributed through the cell phone network. Check with your carrier to determine what services are available in your area and on your phone.
3. IPTV streaming video:
  • Many new devices - like the Apple iPhone and Motorola Droid - have the ability to easily access the Internet, which opens the door for Internet Protocol TV (IPTV). Various content is available as a download or live from websites like espn360.com or broadcast network websites. Most smartphone software now has available applications ("apps") that can download or stream content directly to the phone. Devices like the SlingBox are also available to push your home video content directly to your mobile phone.