TV Revolution Arises at CES


There is a revolution brewing spurred by consumer electronics innovation and the demands of a mobile populous: the portability of traditional, linear television video programming to cell phones, automobiles, portable media players and the PC.

At last week’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, DirecTV Inc. announced a deal with KVH Industries Inc. to bring the satellite service to built-in video screens in the cars of DirecTV subscribers. Comcast Corp. countered with a development deal with Delphi Electronics to bring Comcast video programming to in-car video-display devices.

Microsoft Corp. was at the center of many of the mobile deals announced at CES. It announced a large deal with MTV Networks to bring content to various Microsoft devices and platforms, including its Media Center PCs. Content would cover MTV: Music Television, VH1, Country Music Television and Comedy Central.

The Microsoft devices include its 2005 Windows XP Media Center and its PlayForSure verified music service. MTVN will use Windows Media Audio and Video and Windows MediaDRM 10 throughout its Web sites and its forthcoming digital music service.

Microsoft also is collaborating with TiVo Inc., so consumers can transfer programming recorded with a TiVo digital video recorder to portable media centers, smart phones and pocket PCs equipped with Windows Media Player 10 Mobile.

And the computer giant unveiled MSN Video Downloads, which makes video clips available to a Windows Mobile base portable device from sources such as CNBC, MSNBC, Fox Sports Network and Food Network.

SmartVideo Technologies Inc., which plans to market a video service on cell phones, announced content deals with NBC Universal, ABC News and The Weather Channel, aided by software from Microsoft. The cell phones would use Microsoft’s Windows Media Mobile technology. SmartVideo said consumers with “smart phones will be able to view live TV on Pocket PC, Mobile PDA and Smartphone mobile devices.” The company said subscription packages start at $12.95 a month and more content is to be added later this year. NBC will offer MSNBC and CNBC. ABC News is providing its 24/7 Internet news channel, plus on-demand video from World News Tonight With Peter Jennings and Good Morning America. Bit rates are 15 frames per second. They operate on today’s 2.5 gigabit cellular network

Akimbo, which has developed a $229 set-top box that allows users to access Internet content for a $9.95 monthly fee, plus other premium content, signed content deals with A&E Television Networks and National Geographic Channel. Consumers with broadband connections have access to 70,000 hours of largely niche content. The A&E deal covers: A&E Network, History Channel and Biography Channel and such titles as American Justice, Cold Case Files, Biography, Mail Call, History’s Mysteries, Modern Marvels, Growing Up Gotti, Airline and Dog the Bounty Hunter. National Geographic fare includes Inside the Pentagon, 21 Days to Baghdad and Ambassador: Inside the Embassy.