Consumers who want to watch live TV on their mobile phones will soon be able to tell whether their devices are capable of doing so, as industry-led mobile broadcast consortium the Mobile Content Venture (MCV) has unveiled a new brand and logo for the mobile video service it will launch later this year. Called Dyle, the service promises to let users watch live broadcast TV on devices they already own, without any new equipment necessary.
Video is increasingly becoming available on mobile devices, but Dyle is different from most services out there today. It’s live broadcast TV, not the type of on-demand video consumers have come to expect from services like Netflix or Hulu Plus. And it uses dedicated broadcast spectrum, rather than being served over the Internet, so it won’t be subject to network conditions or data caps the way streaming services are.
Of course, this isn’t the first service to make such promises. The launch will come less than a year after Qualcomm shut down its own mobile video offering, FLO TV. So how will Dyle be different?
For one thing, Dyle has one big advantage over Qualcomm’s FLO TV service: The MCV is an industry consortium led by some major broadcasters who should be committed to making it work. That includes Fox, NBC and ION TV, which are contributing the spectrum needs to broadcast the video signals, as well as broadcast groups Gannett, Media General, Bahakel, Belo, Raycom, Scripps, Post Newsweek, Meredith, Hearst, Cox and Telemundo, which will contribute the content.
It also already has the wireless spectrum required to reach a broad portion of the country. By the end of the year, the MCV will roll out services in 32 markets throughout the U.S., which will make Dyle available to about 50 percent of the nation’s population. The plan is to have at least two stations of live TV available in each market, with more added as time goes on.
And finally, while Qualcomm’s FLO TV was only available on select dedicated devices early on, the MCV expects Dyle to be accessible on a number of smartphones at launch. As part of that effort, the Dyle logo will be used to certify that a device is capable of receiving and decrypting the mobile broadcast TV signals.
For the broadcasters involved, what’s at stake is the spectrum they’re using to launch the service. After the FCC freed up spectrum through the analog-to-digital transition in 2009, the commission has been nudging broadcasters to make it available for other services, citing a looming spectrum crisis ahead. The launch of a new mobile broadcast service is one way for broadcasters to justify holding on to that spectrum.
Of course, a lot will depend on the MCV’s ability to not only make the service available in consumer electronics devices, but to make consumers aware they can access the service. So it will be important for the consortium to help build brand awareness. Perhaps more importantly, Dyle will need to have content people actually want to watch. Having just one or two stations available for consumers isn’t going to be enough to get consumers to tune in.