Thursday, March 26, 2009

Do I Want My RIM TV?

According to NewTeeVee RIM (RIMM) is preparing to launch a mobile full-length TV episode service for its BlackBerry devices as early as CTIA next week. Word is that this is an over-the-air download service (via wifi only) with a monthly subscription fee. Content is allegedly coming from multiple networks...but no one seems to know who they are (GSN & Fine Living Network, perhaps). It is also unclear whether this service will integrate into the upcoming BlackBerry App World mobile content store.

Boy, I hate to damn this thing before it sees the light of day...but I'm pretty skeptical about its potential for success. My first concern is that it only works on wifi...which limits the # of addressable devices to Bold, Storm and future products AND is really cheating the "everywhere" promise of mobile TV. The next thing I don't like is that it's a download service as opposed to a streaming service. I'm really impatient & I gotta watch my stories now! How long is it going to take me to download an episode of Lost or The Office? What happens if I have to leave the wifi hotspot during the download process? Seems like a hassle to me and it kills the spontaneity factor. My third gripe is that this is apparently a device only product. One of the things that makes TV on iTunes work for me is that I can watch the episodes on my big-ass computer monitor if I like...and I do like. My last, and biggest concern, is that I am not convinced the RIM has any more of clue than a carrier, Nokia or Samsung about how to sell entertainment content to consumers. They've gotta make the process elegant and easy...they've gotta create a great retail experience like those guys in Cupertino. All that said, I would love to be pleasantly surprised by the final product. Stay tuned.

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