Mobile TiVo Redux


Dottocomu writes about TV-to-cellphone SD card video recorder to be launched in Japan in June. It "hooks up to your TV and records video in 3GPP format onto an SD or miniSD card for playback on a cellphone." Wow, that's awesome! The form factor of the device leaves a lot to be desired, but the functionality is perfect. This sort of capability is *exactly* what is going to come to TiVos and other DVRs sooner than later.

I posted about my thoughts for Mobile TiVo back in November in which I envisioned exactly this. And then I continued with the idea of video recorded on your TV coming to your mobile phone over the air, but this device is a good practical first step towards that. Instead of waiting for the day when 3G speeds and data rates make Mobile TiVo possible OTA, this device just records it to a memory card to be played later on a phone. Two hours of video on a 128MB SD? That works for me - definitely worth the effort. And a 1GB SD card? Think about it.

Actually, now that I *have* a TiVo, I can see how this sort of functionality could be added *so* easily to an existing TiVo through a USB port at the back. You may not know this, but if you want to use Ethernet or WiFi on a TiVo instead of a phone line (for the schedule and software updates) you just go out and buy a generic USB-based network card and just plug it in to connect it to your network. Well, if the software was there, you could just go buy one of the abundant USB SD-Card readers and plug that in as well and then the next live software update could install the drivers and poof, all done. Now every time you go to record a show, your TiVo could ask you if you want a copy for your phone as well. I bet you those guys are on it already.

Okay, alright. In case you're one of the drones that doesn't get mobile video (whiny voice: "Why would people want to watch TV on their phone?"), let me try again to explain it. Much of the extra functionality that modern mobile phones currently have is for entertainment purposes. Something to keep you busy while you have some down time. Whether it's SMS messages, J2ME games or WAP browsing, it's usually done when you're hanging around: On a bus, in an airport, riding in a car, in a dentist office, in the bathroom, where ever.

Video is just another one of these things to do. But video is *so* much more compelling - especially if it's video recorded uniquely for you. Want to spend the hour-long train commute watching last night's recorded episode of The West Wing? Or maybe the Simpsons? Reruns of Seinfeld? Wouldn't that be much more interesting to do than playing with a little J2ME game? This is my point - we already know how popular Television and Movies are. Translating that to mobiles is a no brainer. And the quality and size of the screens are getting better every day. Believe me, watching video playback on a Series 60 device right now is very good. And if you don't want to watch the video on your phone, a cheap portable video player like the ZVue could be perfect... or maybe even a PDA. The point is that you have lots of options for mobile video, once it becomes more common.

Very cool - I can't wait until this sort of thing is available here.


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