With all the hype surrounding the ability to watch streaming content on Smartphones and tablet computers, one type of content is still mostly missing; live television broadcasts. The reasons for this, the Dallas News reports in a special investigative piece are mostly to do with broadcasting rights and who would get the money for it and how customers would pay for it all. Now, however, the News reports, local affiliates are getting around this problem by working directly with companies that make cell phone accessories. Hexus has also taken note of new movement by local affiliates and is reporting that many accessory-makers are making it very easy to watch live programing on a Smartphone, and MultiChannel is reporting that cable companies are responding by adding live broadcasts as well.
The push behind the new technology is old technology, namely the old-school rabbit antenna, the News says, pointing out that except in some remote parts of the country, people can still get live broadcast television over the air, as in, not via cable or satellite dish. Thus, in order to offer live television on a Smartphone, all a vendor has to do is create a tiny old-fashioned TV antenna and then hook it up to a phone. There’s a little more to it of course, in order for a Smartphone user to access the signals from the antennae they’ll need an app that routes the signal to their screen and provides a channel guide for selecting content; and that’s where local affiliates come in. They provide the app.
The News says that leading vendors such as Belkin have already created over-the-air antennas for Smartphones and are currently working with local television stations around the Dallas-Fort Worth area, and both have said they’ll have systems ready for customers to buy before the end of this year.
Not to be outdone, says MultiChannel, are cable providers who see over-the-air live television as a threat to their business. Time Warner and Viacom are both in discussions with content providers, they say, to offer shows such as those that appear on Nickelodeon, The Weather Channel and MTV to their customers. If it comes about, such content would likely be offered as a Wi-Fi service, which would mean that only customers that have set up such routers in their homes would be able to subscribe to the service.
Also, it’s not just the United States that is grappling with such issues; Hexus, in London says that device makers and local television stations all across Europe are working to iron out the same kinds of arrangements as are going on in the US.