On Demand TV for Your BlackBerry via 3G
Oh yes, Research In Motion Ltd.’s (RIM) BlackBerry line of smartphones will be getting another option for something that has been promised by the technology gods since the dawn of the television: streaming television. Okay, maybe the technology gods did not explicitly say that we would have streaming television for smartphones through our Wi-Fi and 3G wireless connections, but they did promise wrist and pocket televisions and for the most part, I have been disappointed by what has come out so far. Shame on you technology gods.
That might all be changing now though, thanks to next week’s expected release of Bitbop—a streaming video service that has gotten some big media partners onboard (CBS, NBC, Discovery, Comedy Central, etc)—by Fox Mobile. Fox’s television programming will be offered through Bitbop too of course, so we can all fill our daily commutes with Seth MacFarlane’s animated shows. The only catch is the $10 a month that you will have to shell out to use the service once the beta period ends. Still, that price isn’t tragic when you consider that the service offers unlimited viewing and is commercial free.
A number of other streaming video services have been available for a while now but each has its quirks. If Bitbop is successful, it could spawn competing free services that fund themselves through commercials like Hulu. (Oh what I would do to have a Hulu app.) That, or it will launch a media war with every major network pulling all of its programming from competitors streaming sites and putting them on their own proprietary streaming service. I would consider that the worst case scenario.
For now though, it looks like BlackBerry users are going to have a pretty cool option to entertain themselves. No word yet on how much actual bandwidth Bitbop is going to suck up (keep your fingers crossed AT&T users), but Wi-Fi viewing support complements the 3G wireless to keep you from going over any limits. Apple iPhone and Google Android OS versions of the app will be coming out too, possibly to compete with the upcoming Hulu app.