Friday, August 29, 2008

Keith and Bill-O on the Small Screen

Probably the best running feud on news television is the dustup between Keith Olbermann and Bill O'Reilly. Keith to the left. Bill to the right. Stand-up, sit down, fight, fight fight! Can you bear to miss even one minute of it?

Well now you don't have to. MediaFLO USA is bringing three 24/7 news channels to its lineup of mobile TV programming viewable on your compatible cell phone. They are MSNBC, CNBC, and FOX News.

If you watch any or all of these powerhouse news channels on cable or satellite, you may suffer pangs of withdrawal when you're away from home. Especially if there is some big story breaking or you need to be out when your favorite program airs.

How about that stock market? Active investors will enjoy having "Squawk Box," "Mad Money with Jim Cramer" and "Power Lunch" on CNBC with them so they can get the latest take on the market's moves and investment suggestions.

Politicos will get to carry "Countdown with Keith Olbermann," "Hardball with Chris Matthews" and "Morning Joe" on MSNBC and/or "FOX & Friends," "The O'Reilly Factor with Bill O'Reilly" and "Hannity & Colmes" on FOX News.

But wait, it gets better. The way this works is that the programs seen through MediaFLO's mobile TV broadcasts are aired simultaneously with those on regular broadcast services. In other words, the big tube and the little tube will be in sync. It's literally like carrying your TV with you. Pull up the little whip antenna and watch wherever you happen to be.

Well, wherever is perhaps an overstatement. MediaFLO service, as offered by AT&T and Verizon Wireless, is available in 58 major metropolitan areas nationwide. That's many of the big cities, but not out in the boonies or small town America. Well, not yet anyway. If this takes off, you can bet that both wireless service providers will be swamped with demands for greater coverage.

MediaFLO mobile broadcasting differs from cellular broadband downloads in that it is an actual over-the-air digital subscription TV service transmitting on reserved channels in the UHF band. You're not downloading clips or watching IPTV. It's regular television programming formatted to look good on a much smaller screen. As an independent system, mobile TV doesn't use your cellular minutes while you're watching.

In addition to these new offerings, MediaFLO USA has full-length and simulcast programming from CBS, CBS College Sports, CBS News, Comedy Central, ESPN, FOX, FOX Sports, MTV, NBC 2Go, NBC, NBC Sports, NBC News, NickToons and Nickelodeon. There much be something in there that you can't live without.

So, how do you get this mobile TV service. First, you need a compatible cell phone that has the extra circuitry needed to pick up the MediaFLO signal. That includes the LG Vu and Samsung Access for AT&T wireless service. For Verizon, you'll need a Samsung SCH U620, LG VX9400, LG Voyager or Motorola RIZR Z6TV. You'll recognize these as the latest high performance multimedia phones available from the major manufacturers. You'll also need a subscription to AT&T Mobile TV or Verizon's VCAST Mobile TV, depending on which cellular service you have. Note that programming selections are subject to change.

Interested in mobile TV? You'll find phones and service plans at Cell Phone Plans Finder that include MediaFLO capable handsets, as well as many excellent deals on multimedia, business and basic personal cellular phones.

Follow Telexplainer on Twitter