MDTV is here

The Dyle mobile digital television appI’ve spent considerable time talking with people and writing here about the potential of MDTV to be a game-changer for broadcasters in the digital world. The idea is to put digital over-the-air signals onto your smart phone or tablet by putting a special chip in the device. Well, according to Dallas-based MetroPCS, the Samsung Galaxy S® Lightray™ 4G carries the chip and comes with the preloaded Dyle™ mobile TV app. Welcome to the world of digital television in your hand.

I suspect this will be especially useful for consumers during sporting events and breaking news, and since it uses the digital broadcast signals of the TV stations in town, there’s no bandwidth charge. It’s totally free. As I’ve written before, I’d like to see stations with network affiliations come up with a package that includes broadcasting popular cable shows along with their own. Each station, after all, has more than one digital signal.

It may already be too late, but a healthy MDTV market will make it harder for the FCC to take any action that weakens broadcasting position regarding the bandwidth it is “given” by Washington. It’s going to be an interesting area to watch over the next couple of years.

LINKLook Ma, TV! First broadcast TV phone appears on MetroPCS


  1. @ $459.

    do you think the “typical” metropcs customer will cough it up?

  2. I think the EyeTV approach is more interesting as it brings all the intelligence of a software-enabled TV to the smart phone rather than a dumb old broadcast signal. EyeTV is digital TV tuner hardware and software for computers. A DVR. The mobile version mirrors all the features of the TV. Your iPhone is your remote control and remote DVR. Among other things, this means no regionalism: if you are English, you watch your TV in London from a small village in France. Where ever you go, as long as there is some form of networking, you have your DVR.

    Merely getting TV on a smartphone brings the severely constrained past to the future, rather than transforming the medium into something more useful.

    Ref: EyeTV

  3. Steve, MDTV has much going against it. If this had come down the pike 10 years ago, it would’ve been a no-brainer, but it’s fighting an uphill battle today. The average MetroPCS customer is unlikely to pay that, but Samsung isn’t going to limit the phone to them. Who knows? The key unknown is if Apple will ever put the chip in its products, and I think that will depend on consumer demand. Will it be there? Unknown.

    Brad, dumb old broadcast signals are all broadcasters really have. A one-to-many signal is very efficient and free, but it’s hard to tell if that’s going to be enough for the future.

  4. Ron Stitt says

    It’s not really “dumb”…the ATSC M/H standard is built with “hooks” to mobile internet, so all kinds of targeting, return-path, overlays, links to mobile landing pages, etc. are built-in capabilities (that need plans/business plans to be lit up). Another consortium is looking to launch with DVR capability. The real point is that an infinite number of people can watch the same thing at the same time..that’s always going to be a problems if you try to deliver 10m discrete streams to 10m people over mobile internet.

    Terry is right…not going to be easy. But broadcasters have a few more tricks up our sleeves than some might expect.

  5. Give the broadcasters a new medium in which to play, and they’ll try to force the old way of doing business upon it.

    Pay particular attention to the part about requiring “conditional access”. What broadcasters intend on doing is repeating the abysmal failure of FloTV.

  6. I think it’s very interesting what Dyle is going. In response to Jeff B… It seems that Dyle has become the distributor for the content and not the broadcast stations. Similar to Hulu, Dyle has gained the rights to NBC, ABC, etc and has written an encrypted code so that they manage what is being received. I think this may be a real game changer…

    Do you think there is room for new content? I would love to see what all of the possibilities are for this new medium!

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