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Explainer: What is Mobile TV?

The portable boob tube explained
by Neps Firmalan | Aug 3, 2012
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Imagine this. You're hurrying to get home after work to watch your fave TV show. Normally, you'll be able to, just in time. This time around however, Mother Nature decided to throw a fit, effectively, and literally if we may add, drowning any chance you have to sit on the couch and catch that episode you've been thinking of all day long. Too bad. Well, not if you have a smartphone with mobile TV capability. Just whip it out and enjoy the show!

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Such is the selling point of handsets that can function as portable boob tubes, and they've increased in number in the past few years. But what exactly is mobile TV? Let's dig deeper to reveal more than the obvious.

What is mobile TV?

Mobile TV is roughly defined as a service which lets users watch TV shows and other video content on their handsets. It can either be a special feature made only for cellular networks or received free through normal TV stations via a mobile tuner on your handset.

When did it first come about?

Surprisingly, mobile TV is not a new, post-2000 technology. The first pocket-sized TV actually came out in the late 70s. Then, in 2002, South Korea became the first to have commercial mobile TV on a cellular network. After this, other nations and different brands rode the bandwagon, producing 3G handsets with TV functionality.

What makes it all happen?

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The TV tuner. This is actually a type of radio receiver that gets and tranforms radio signals from TV stations. To complete the trick, the TV tuner sends the signals to an audio/video processor which decodes and translates them to moving images that will be displayed on your device. This piece of hardware is found in TV sets and a miniature version of it sits inside some handsets.

What type of content can I view?

Aside from the normal TV shows you can get for free readily, paid content can also be accessed via a special service for mobile phone networks and apps. Some mobile TV handsets can also download TV shows and videos from the Internet.

Next: So, is it always crystal clear viewing?

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