Mobile TV Apps abound, but Windows Phone 7 is still the new kid on the block, so we were wondering what's out there for this platform and how do the apps stack up? Cue Scott, a Windows Phone 7 evangelist who kindly agreed to check the matter out, over to Scott.
A while back Andy from Mobile TV World asked me to write a review of mobile TV apps that are available for Windows Phone 7 (WP7) users. “Okay, um what exactly is considered to be a mobile TV app?” I asked, I mean I never really thought of what is considered to be mobile TV before then. Well after talking with Andy over a few emails, I believe we decided that at this point it's a proverbial moving target and there is no definitive answer as yet. What I can say is that it's TV on the move and a bit more besides. So having that down I went straight to work downloading and installing any and every app I could find that came close to falling under the banner of “Mobile TV”. Unfortunately with WP7 still being in its infancy there was not much to pick from as yet. To be exact when searching the Zune Marketplace for “Mobile TV” you get exactly 13 results returned and not all of them actually have video capabilities. Of the 13 results returned only 7 of them have the slightest potential of falling under this category.
And the 7 Apps are:
Bitbop is a free App but the service for the App does cost $9.99 US/month. That is not a bad price but I will address more about that later in this post. As it stands right now it streams TV shows only, with movies coming soon to the service but they will have a different pricing plan for them when that comes out. The app itself has really good searching options for different shows, it runs nice and smooth but the video quality even over wifi is not the absolute best it could be but it is far from bad considering that it is being played over a cellular phone.
Um, where to start with this one? The one really big positive to this App is that you get to watch shows from all over the world. Unfortunately the searching of shows could be better. I will be the first to admit I did not view all of the possible shows out there because they have something like over 125 different stations. I can say that I did view about 5 different stations and out of those 5 stations 2 of them were not working and the other 3 took awhile to buffer through.
Sorry I could not test this one out since I do not own a sling box. That being said I have seen this app for the Android and a guy at work uses it and it seems to work very good. Of course the App costs $29 US dollars.
When I installed this app I thought the only problem I was going to have reviewing it would be the fact that it is all in Spanish and the only language I know is English. Unfortunately every channel I attempted to view came up with an error.
With Bigscreen byRemote you can view live TV remotely from your Windows Media Center. Once again this is another App I was not able to review since I do not have a Windows Media Center PC with a TV Tuner video card. Of course this may change in the near future but for now I will have to put this one on the back burner.
Good App for what it is but it really is only beneficial for those that live in the Eastern Iowa area since it is the local news channel there. I personally have to look at this as being a huge plus for the WP7 platform that a small local TV news channel decided it was beneficial for them to have an App for WP7.
Multiple channels is a big plus but terrible with buffering. In fact it may be safe to say the worse buffering of all the apps I reviewed in this post 
I know I said that there were only 7 Apps but that is a bit of a misstatement. You see at the time of this writing there were only 7 apps that show up in the search results for “Mobile TV”. That being said I know there is more out there such as Netflix. The Netflix app is actually really good. I use the app multiple times a week to watch stand-up comedies, movies, and TV shows. The biggest issue with the App is it takes up to about 3 minutes for the picture to clear up, but when it does it is very clear and enjoyable. Now as I was mentioning about the cost of BitBop earlier, Netflix also has a monthly fee but with Netflix their monthly fee is less than $9.99 US dollars and you get movies and TV shows at that same price. Now that adds up to being a huge plus.
All in all the mobile TV world is changing and growing daily and even though it is not completely clear as to what we consider to fall under the umbrella of Mobile TV, the one thing that is definite is that the available options out there are going to continue to expand and get better on the way. So, take a minute to check out some apps of your own and let us know how it went for you.
Till next time...
Thanks for that Scott, it's always good to get down to earth unbiased opinions from the user perspective. Having said that I do feel a disclaimer coming on, these are Scott's experiences and you may well have had different experiences, so as Scott mentioned, let us know.