An increasing number of solutions are now being developed to enable people to watch TV on their mobile devices without using the Internet and impacting their data plan charges.

Antennas bring TV to smartphones without affecting Internet data plans


The television industry is developing an array of solutions designed to improve access to television on mobile. Mobile devices are being used everywhere and in greater numbers, which represents a huge opportunity for TV channels. One of the major challenges they face however is how transform our smartphones and tablets into genuine television sets. The stated aim is to improve the distribution infrastructure to these devices, offering better and easier access to TV channels and thereby increase mobile consumption. Recently the New York-based startup Aereo was in the news as it enabled New Yorkers to watch live television on their mobile devices, streamed via mini-antennas. Dyle TV and Mobile500 have each now developed an antenna that plugs into a mobile device, thus enabling easy access to TV without it affecting your Internet data download limits.

Watch TV anywhere on your mobile via an antenna

Dyle TV and Mobile500 (whose product is called MyDTV), who have developed the two antennas, represent two competing television channel consortia. Their products are very similar – basically a compact TV tuner fitted with an antenna, which plugs into your mobile device. Dyle TV – available on iPhones, iPads and the Samsung Galaxy 4 – represents a large number of TV channels, among them NBC and Fox. Their service is available in a large number of cities in the United States, including New York, San Francisco and Houston. Dyle has the advantage of offering its customers access to both national and local channels. For the moment MyDTV is in test phase in Seattle and offers access to local TV stations. Their apps enable TV viewers to record programs they’ve missed. For example, with MyDTV users are not only able to watch TV on Seattle public transport, they can also record their favorite programs from all the TV stations available through the app.

Changing mobile TV consumption patterns?

The prime advantage publicized by both of the rival companies is that the user is free to watch TV on a mobile device without it affecting his/her data plan, whereas on-demand video – and even more so a relatively long live TV program – is a heavy consumer in terms of data download. Moreover, the new system is more efficient than a traditional mobile connection, which doesn’t work very well in a moving car for instance. This type of antenna represents a great opportunity in terms of traffic, as it enables large numbers of people to watch TV at the same time and in the same place without impacting the actual network at all. The initiative is being driven by the TV channel consortia, who are very aware of just how much is at stake when it comes to mobile consumption of TV content. According to Mobile500, the next step is bound to be integrating these small widgets inside mobile devices.



By Clémence Coursimault
Journalist analyst