High-def mobile TV: it's relative

09 Aug 2007

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It's called NOW Sports HD On Mobile, and it starts this Saturday. And because I'm not all that big a sports fan, I'm fixated more on the "HD" bit. Because I'm a tech nerd, and I know that HD-resolution video is something of a bandwidth hog, so I'm very interested to know just how high is "high def" on a mobile TV service that, for now, is being delivered over a streaming 3G data channel.

Here's what the press release says:

Live broadcasts of selected high-definition programs are available only on certain mobile handsets that support H.264 codec with QVGA (320 x240 pixels) screen resolution.

Which I take to mean that when they say "HD", they don't mean 1080i HD but "HD compared to our current mobile TV service" HD. So maybe it's not so much 'high def' as 'higher def' - some kind of theory of HD relativity or something.

Whatever the case, I am looking forward to seeing what it looks like, so I'll withhold judgment until I talk to PCCW and see it for myself, but considering PCCW is launching its first HD channels for its NOW TV IPTV service the same day - to include exclusive Barclays matches - I'm guessing they're trying to tie in the mobile angle as closely as possible to the HD gimmick.

Well, we'll see. HD-ness aside, if it's anything like the current NOW mobile TV service, it'll still be a headache in terms of constantly clicking to get from one channel to another. Still, when you can't get home in time to see the kickoff, it's better than nothing.

Stay tuned, as they say"&brkbar;

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