informa
/
Commentary

AT&T Punts MediaFLO Proving Mobile TV Still Isn't Ready For Primetime

It looks like AT&T Mobility has delayed the launch of its MediaFLO mobile TV service until sometime in "early 2008." Will mobile TV ever really take off?
It looks like AT&T Mobility has delayed the launch of its MediaFLO mobile TV service until sometime in "early 2008." Will mobile TV ever really take off?I know I have asked this question before, but I think it's worth asking again. After almost three years of non-stop hype, there is, as far as I can tell, very little to show when it comes to the mobile TV market. We don't have any real data from carriers such as Verizon Wireless and Sprint who have been offering mobile TV services. And even worse, there is no sign that the carriers plan to share any of this data with the public any time soon.

While I was at Mobile Business Expo this week, my colleague, Eric Zeman, was out at CTIA in San Francisco. In previous years mobile TV was all the buzz at the fall CTIA show. But this year, all the mobile TV buzz was gone. The industry started turning against mobile TV in February at 3GSM and now it looks like this trend is starting to peak. That can't be a good sign for the future of this technology.

Now, there have been some success stories with mobile video. The iPod proves that people will watch video content on small screens. But the iPod and the iPhone are designed to use locally stored video content downloaded from iTunes, not streaming video like the systems the wireless carriers have been experimenting with for years. And while there was a lot of hype around mobile versions of YouTube earlier this year (including YouTube for the iPhone), we haven't seen any hard user numbers for this trend either.

What do you think? Is mobile TV doomed? Or will consumers eventually tune in?