Mobile television - technology and user experiences: Report on the Mobile-TV project

Caj Södergård (Editor)

    Research output: Book/ReportReport


    Watching television from a wireless pocket-sized terminal or phone is interesting in many situations. Public and private transportation vehicles. and public places are potential environments for mobile television services. Even in homes, mobile television handsets are interesting, both as a personal television set and as a tool for establishing a closer interaction with the television programs. In addition to these possibilities for enriching the viewer experience, mobile television offers the broadcaster new audiences, the teleoperators a new distribution channel and the equipment manufacturer new receiver product possibilities. In fact, television is the only major media missing from today s mobile phones. In this study we empirically investigated people s real interest in mobile television by interviewing a large number of persons and by building and trialing a prototype system. The system combined several types of wireless networks in a 4G fashion. It took digital terrestrial television broadcasts from the air and delivered them over the Internet to mobile terminals in hot-spot areas covered by Wireless Local Area Networks (WLAN). Content was also delivered over the GPRS cellular network. Two kinds of terminals were used - a pocket-sized PDA and an A5-sized tablet PC. The digital television signal was transcoded down to a bit rate suiting these terminals. In the field trial the user could watch almost the entire program content of the three leading Finnish TV channels. The user could also access all programs transmitted during the previous week from the media server (TV-Anytime feature). Ordinary families, leisure users, workers and students participated in the trial. Each user tried the service at WLAN hot-spots over one month. The users clearly considered the service to be television, not wireless multimedia. This underlines that new services should be rooted in known user interaces. The most liked feature was the possibility of watching programs from the archive whenever you want. Typically, the user surfed through the program lists and checked what had passed unnoticed. The users normally watched short programs or pieces from longer programs. Children in particular - even preschoolers - liked the service; in some cases so much that it replaced the ordinary television. News programs were most popular among the adults. Additional information was seldom retrieved and searches were even more rare. Typical use would be when waiting for something or when killing time, or more generally in the same situations, where you would normally read an evening newspaper. The users were ready to pay for the service, about the same as for a newspaper. This study clearly indicated that the mobile device is, in many respects, is better suited to interactive applications than normal television. This notion is the starting point for a follow-up project. Another topic for future research is how to remake television content so that it optimally suits mobile devices.
    Original languageEnglish
    Place of PublicationEspoo
    PublisherVTT Technical Research Centre of Finland
    Number of pages238
    ISBN (Electronic)951-38-6242-9
    ISBN (Print)951-38-6241-0
    Publication statusPublished - 2003
    MoE publication typeD4 Published development or research report or study

    Publication series

    SeriesVTT Publications


    • User interface
    • portable terminals
    • mobile terminals
    • visualisation tests
    • interactive television
    • TV-Anytime
    • mobile digital television


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