Broadcasters Hope to Resurrect the Sony Watchman


The heyday of the Sony Watchman, a portable TV with a crappy screen and even crappier battery life, may have never actually have dawned — but that’s not stopping the folks from the Open Mobile Video Coalition from pushing for a mobile broadcast TV product to be delivered via local broadcasters over the spectrum owned by the television stations. I’ve covered the plans of the Open Mobile Video Coalition before, and today I got a chance to meet Executive Director Anne Schelle in person, as well as see some of the devices on display.

I was impressed at some of the prototypes and devices on display, with most set to be sold in the U.S. this summer or before the end of the year. Some, like the portable DVD player or USB converter from LG, are already on the market and resemble the Watchman in that they deliver TV and have a big antenna. Others, like the prototype LG handset, are merely for display, while still others such as the iPad converter from Tivezen are already offered in places like Japan or South Korea, and could see their way to the states. Check out the demos in the video below.


Other than the devices, I also spoke with Schelle about whether or not broadcast television is still relevant today (she thinks it is, especially the local news) and why Qualcomm’s MediaFLO effort failed. Schelle also seemed doubtful that the efforts to convince broadcasters to give up their spectrum for mobile broadband access would succeed. For more on the reasons why she thinks people will tune into broadcast television on their handsets and on the go, check out this video:


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