Mobile TVA busy life forces you to spend more time with your hand held devices, right?

After all, who wants to go and sit in front of a 50 inch TV when you can just watch the same video on your tablet or phone?

The advantage is that if you get a call, your tablet can pause the video, and you can complete the call. Or, if you have an important video conference, you can take that from your mobile device. Kind of mixing work and pleasure together, eh?

At the same time, that leaves a burning question: Will mobile TV ever be able to replace the pleasure of a large screen? Ultimately, what are the advantages and disadvantages of mobile TV?

It could be an advantage, or it could be a disadvantage, but mobile TVs will certainly never be able to receive broadcast TV. They’re simply not equipped with the proper receiver and tuner equipment, which is too bulky to fit into the mobile packages people want. Does that really matter, though? Broadcast TV is on its way out, after all, in many areas. It’s to be replaced by mass-market cable offerings and satellite transmissions, and IP based transmissions.

Also in the either/or camp: People are watching TV differently these days, as the whole idea of “watching television” slowly mutates. At one time it was a social medium built around the concept of a group of viewers all focused on the TV in the living room. Now that concept is fracturing into a more individual medium characterized by single viewers watching shows on smaller, personal devices such as laptops, smartphones, or tablets.

TDG has performed research that shows smartphone and tablet video viewing will really take off in the next ten years. This will take viewers away from other forms of TV watching, both PC-based broadband and legacy screen watchers. And by the quarter-century mark, they suggested that among US consumers, it is likely mobile video will account for over a fifth of the total minutes of video watched.

Mobile TV

Interestingly, much of this “mobile” video usage is done while in one’s home, as opposed to while on the move. Roughly 80 percent of tablet video watching and 50 percent of smartphone video watching happens in the home, according to TDG. It’s not so much about “mobile viewing” as it is about the personalization and individualization of TV itself.

And video watchers are no longer simply “snacking” on amusing clips of cats or stupid human tricks. Research firm Ooyala indicates that users of tablets, at least, spend upwards of 70 percent of their time watching videos longer than ten minutes.

One reason that so much mobile video watching is done at home sheds light on one of the major disadvantages of “mobile” video: For the most part, the networks that are underlying that video, and that are delivering it, are not capable of delivering a seamless experience.

Standard Wi-Fi is great for streaming video at most resolutions, but when you take that mobile on 3G, or even 4G LTE, things can get choppy. And one excellent way to turn a user off of long-form video consumption is to give them a choppy experience with lots of buffering.

Moving forward, however, the LTE Broadcast Project seeks to give operators potential to provide new sources of revenue with more efficient mobile video which does not stress the existing 4G networks as much as the current approaches to streaming do now.

LTE Broadcast provides the same content stream to several users. It’s based on the Evolved Multimedia Broadcast Multicast Service standards (eMBMS). As compared to a standard unicast delivery, it bypasses constraints of network capacity, and is able to provide reduced latency and better quality video.

Michelle Patterson photoAuthor Bio:

Michelle Patterson is excited with the new technologies that are threatening to change the way we stay in touch and communicate, particular in business. She works with companies that are introducing these technologies to make understanding them easy for regular people.

View all posts by Michelle Patterson →