Sprint-Nextel and Sling Media (makers of Sling Box) are in talks and trying to figure out ways to work together. Sprint is also talking to Orb Networks and Sony, betting that the three companies have the magic potion that will add more oomph to their mobile entertainment services.
Actually it is a smart strategy. Place Shifting television means that people would opt for more expensive data plans, especially the 3G kind. Sprint executives, according to the Reuters report, are betting big on mobile video, and would go as far as investing in mobile video. I guess, the experiment with MobiTV has shown mobile companies that even a small subset of their multi-million user base can bring in big bucks. Sprint has about 2 million subscribers who watch some kind of video on their handsets.
11 thoughts on “Sprint Likes Place Shifting”
Does anyone know where to find data or research that shows – as a percentage of income – the amount consumers spend on subscription service plans?
I have a hard time believing expensive data plans will take off and become big business until some consolidation happens in other subscription service plans. It is common to find consumers paying cable, internet, phone, mobile phone, data package, TiVo, etc. Hell, even car washes sells per monthly plans.
There is a cap on what the average consumer is willing to spend on plans, and perhaps it is increasing, but not as fast as the rate of new plans being offered.
Personally, I would like to see all subscriptions plans move to a pay per use model.
good point. i actually have that data lying around somewhere, with sprint as the focus. let me find that and publish it here in the comments.
i think when there is a flat rate plan that lets you do a lot – say get on-the-go internet access and more, it makes a lot of sense for people to buy data plans.
The SlingBox is exactly the reason I bought a Sprint PPC6700 and their data service. Good to see a carrier realize it.
I remember reading, not sure where, maybe here, some wireless exec saying that if 5 customers were watching CBS’s March Madness telecast of the games, and they were using the same tower, the tower would go down. Unlimited data plans or not, could the network support a whole lot of customers receiving video?
long-term that may be a challenge but near-term the issue is more about getting people to actually use the capacity that HAS been built at great expense
i use a samsung i730 on verizon as my Orbing device because of the spiffy screen and EVDO connectivity
what i think is most interesting about the carrier interest in place-shifting is the way it offloads the “program director” task to the user herself – mobiTV (and the EU successes) paved the way by showing that folks will consume TV on phones, so now carriers can expand users’ options about what programming they want to watch on their phone
personally, i think that the place-shifting of home TV is, while a hot part (and during the FIFA World Cup, probably an EXPLOSIVELY hot part) only one part of the explosion of streaming content consumption we’re going to see on mobile devices
one of the things we’ve been seeing from our most mobile-savvy users at Orb is the way the transcoding capabilities of the Orb apps on their home PCs are used to get internet radio and TV feeds to them in the right format and bitrate for their device at that moment – i’m actually a bit surprised by the uptake of that specific relevance of Orb’s “mycasting” capabilities, but i guess i shouldn’t be, given the format fragmentation and bitrate variance challenges to mobile content enjoyment
I think WiFi will come in handy to offload the Sling traffic from cellular networks. But there is just a few handsets with WiFi on the market today. At the same time, I wonder if one can really enjoy the Sling or Orb services on the current handsets, taking into account the poor battery life? How much time do you have before your battery drains? Another concern is that Sprint and cable companies will make the Orb or Sling (whicever they sign a contract with) service a pricey add-on to the data and voice plans, killing the idea behind Sling and Orb as an alternative way to get TV content on your cellphone screen. I mean that they could make consumer pay not only for the unlimited data plan, but for the privilege to re-direct the content from home TV/DVR to mobile device.
Ian, I have had a Verizon VX6700 (which I believe is that same as Eric’s Sprint PPC6700) for about three weeks, have yet to do video, but do love the EV-DO. Was reading that some South Korea mobile firm offered video services and the next day their network was swamped.
Gotta say, even just for email and occasional web browsing, you have to love EV-DO.
Re: battery life. It’s certainly handset dependant. My samsung a920 seems to go quite strong and should be capable of streaming at least 2 hours of tv to my phone, at least from what I’ve seen. Though in my diy setup, I’ve got the data rate of the video set somewhat low (64kb/s). The picture is good enough, but the better the quality the more battery it will suck up in data transfer.
Battery life is a big issue. The playing of the video is a far bigger drain on battey life than the streaming/downloading of it. While your battery is certainly good for a whole episode of The Sopranos and a few phone calls, to boot, you will have trouble making it through the day without a recharge. This comes as a rude awakening to the light voice users out there who go 2 or 3 days between charges. Meanwhile, if you are a heavy voice user, you’re not going to have the juice to spare for video. Now that we finally have a range of devices that have the right form factor and capabilities for video, we really need some major battery breakthroughs make it truly usable.
Yup, I totally agree with Gary about the limitations of today’s rechargeable batteries. The up and coming methanol-fuel batteries should be able to provides hours and hours of mobile video viewing pleaure. We just have to wait ’til they are deemed safe and stable.
i totally LOVE my SlingBox. But in an early adopter type love affair.
I get frame loss and artifacting on my 100mb home wired network. I (for grins) tried on my next gen windows Mobile Cingular gprs/edge network and…ummm not quite there.
I also tried Orb…not even close…I have a megafast network with FTTC so I know its not me.
Wireless (and wireline) speeds have to reallllllly improve or Ma & Pa kettle aint gonna buy,