Modeo Launches MobileTV Beta


Modeo, the mobile TV company owned by Crown Castle, plans to announce on Monday that its service is live in New York city, in what the company is calling a ‘beta commercial launch.’

There’s a bit of hand waving involved, as the beta service is closed to the public and will be open only to a select group, which the company says will have several hundred users. The company had been shooting for an end of the year launch, but will now make the announcement at CES next week.

The service will launch with video and audio content, and Modeo said it will use the beta group to get feedback throughout the first quarter. The company still has no carrier deals to announce or a timeline for when (if?) the service will be available to the public and outside of New York. The beta group will be using the DVB-H HTC-manufactured smart phone, which it showed off last year — we’ll check out their demo at CES at the Microsoft partners booth.

The beta launch is good news for Modeo, as it can try to use this to get a carrier deal, and good for companies like Nokia that can finally show off DVB-H gear stateside on a live network. But a closed launch is rather underwhelming. I got the feeling that the next quarter will be Modeo’s make it or break it time. If the beta service goes well and deals follow, the company could survive. But, hey, let’s be realistic, the CEO just bailed, that’s not a good sign.

Especially since Qualcomm is planning on launching its MediaFLO mobile TV service in the first quarter of this year and has been besting Modeo on carrier deals. I wouldn’t be surprised if Qualcomm made a launch announcement at CES, too. Only they’ll probably have more details of when consumers can actually start buying the service.


Jesse Kopelman

Since they picked NYC, I have to ask will it work on the subway? Given how much the MTA charges to put repeaters down there, I’m guessing no. Beta in NYC with no subway coverage, Modeo may I interest you in a pair of bad idea jeans?

Chief Talksalot

I’ve toured the MediaFLO ops center recently and saw the product in action. If coverage is ubiquitous then Modeo will be an exercise in “how best to spend money”. Great idea – just too late.

Michael Bailey

Hmm, is this all just another pipe dream?

Is the reality check going to be like it was for FREE WiFi in airports?

Like when I see that most of the time the service is down, then you call their tech-support and they think that everything is working just fine.

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