Broadcast TV on Your Phone? It's a Real Thing

Watching broadcast TV on a mobile device has been a consumer’s dream for years, starting way back when you could buy a handheld TV with long antennae like the Sony Watchman. Yet as our phones have evolved into small computing powerhouses, the concept of watching TV on one has become less about broadcast TV and more about streaming content via the Internet from sites like Netflix and Hulu.

In fact, the whole paradigm of “TV” as we know it is changing; satellite and cable distributors are sweating it out as on demand and streaming content available on the Internet threatens their entire business models, and as big players in the pay-TV industry throw public hissy fits at each other, more and more people are considering pulling the plug.

Sony Watchman
The Sony Watchman

Despite all that, free over-the-air broadcast TV remains intact (at least for now), and it appears as though it’s hitching its wagon to the mobile technology explosion.

Samsung and MetroPCS jointly announced the latest addition to the latter’s lineup of Android LTE-equipped smartphones with the new Samsung Galaxy S Lightray 4G. The device’s specs aren’t anything extraordinary--4.3-inch display, Android 2.3 (Gingerbread), 1GHz processor, and 8MP/1.3MP front/rear-facing cameras for $459--except for the fact that the Lightray will be packing Dyle mobile TV.
Samsung Galaxy Lightray 4G

The Dyle Mobile TV service delivers live, local OTA TV, and it’s a free add-on to the MetroPCS 4G service. Thus, owners of the Lightray with 4G service from MetroPCS in certain markets can whip out their phones wherever they are and watch locally broadcast TV.

It sounds awfully expensive to stream TV over 4G, but that’s just it--it’s not streaming. According to MetroPCS, the service works without consuming data, on a chunk of spectrum reserved specifically for TV.

However, that’s not the end of the story in regards to broadcast content. Samsung has been testing broadcast services over 4G LTE using evolved Multimedia Broadcast Multicast Service (eMBMS), which reportedly enables more efficient use of network resources by enabling “carriers to adjust coverage and capacity as needed”, or so says the press release. Thus, even more of the content we consume could be coming through the same pipe, so to speak, instead of from a variety of sources.

What do you think? Is this the wave of the future or just a gimmick?
thebeast1616 2 years ago

broadcast tv on cellphones has been available for like a decade in places like japan...

SO behind the curve

EGuerrero 2 years ago

Nice Thanks for the info.

insidesin 2 years ago

I wouldn't call it a "wave" of the future but it certainly is handy. I can follow the Olympics with almost live coverage or soccer/football games. It's great!

MayhemMatthew 2 years ago

In Canada, Bell has got you covered. 10 hours a month, get ten extra for five bucks. You pay, but it doesnt use your data!

insidesin 2 years ago

Yep! I added it to my plan before they started advertising during the Olympics that you can watch it on your phone!

karanm 2 years ago

yay Canadian peeps!! I have rogers, they have the same thing i believe but I haven't really looked into it. Rogers has had mytv I believe its called for a while.

CDeeter 2 years ago

No, not a gimmick at all. I think this idea has legs, long legs. Digital broadcast TV is big in my area. Currently I get 15 stations that cover ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX, PBS, WB, UPN, 2 music channels and more. To have this available on my phone would be great. Hopefully more carriers will jump on this to here in the US.

rapid1 2 years ago

Much like I said in another post while a 7" might be ok for this I would still go for either a 10" or in a truly mobile sense the Galaxy note 5'3". I can watch on my Sensations 4'3" it just seems a little cramped and I think that inch would give it a lot.

AKnudson 2 years ago

The transfer of Channel Based media to mobile phones isn't going to fully redeem the system. Historically they have 2 or 3 advantages over netflix and Hulu that are fast slipping away.

First- They can broadcast live coverage of sporting events or local news, Now so can the internet from each of the respective large nightly news channels.

Second- you get the movie much faster, netflix you have to wait for but Hulu Plus is much quicker and eliminates alot of the time delay.

Third- They are free simple as that. Netflix and Hulu have a hard time arguing with this last one, but with netflix costing about the equivalent of 2 cups of coffee a month its almost nothing, almost.

The advantages Netflix and Hulu have is their instant streaming ability, no more waiting for episodes to record, no more watching random episodes out of sequence. You watch the entire season easily from any device with an internet connection from anywhere in the world. (except maybe China)

What Hulu and Netflix don't have is sports, give them that and you put the nail in the coffin of local broadcast TV.

rapid1 2 years ago

Yeah AKnudson "the nail in the coffin" seems ever relevant at the least now. I know broadcast TV i general is suffering becuase I just don't see how they have even 3/4 much less 1/2 of the (advertising) market they did 5 years ago.

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