This past week, Bell quietly launched their new Mobile TV app in the iTunes App Store. Bell Mobile TV is currently one of the featured apps if you browse the store from your iPhone or iPod touch so we thought we’d take a closer look at exactly what the telecom giant has to offer. Bell also has a PVR iPhone app.
At its core, the Bell Mobile TV app lets you access 24 channels including CBC, CTV, TSN, and the Comedy Network plus a variety of unspecified on-demand content. You can do all of this, according to Bell, without affecting your current data plan, for an additional $5/mo. According to Bell, the $5 nets you 5 hours of viewing time over 3G with a charge of $1 for every additional hour of viewing.
The kicker, however, from what I can tell is that content viewed over WiFi is unlimited. That means that anyone with the $5 plan could view as much live, on-demand, or sports programming as they wanted as long as they’re on a Wi-Fi connection. Currently, Bell is promoting the app as a way to watch the SuperBowl live on Feb. 5th. Considering that watching the whole event in its entirety might run you a full five-hours the WiFi option might be an important consideration.
As more Canadians drift away from the traditional means of consuming entertainment, and the number of cable and satellite subscribers diminishes, it isn’t surprising to see a telecom like Bell make a move toward the mobile media market. For years now both Bell and Rogers have been buying up television assets in order to compete in a changing market place. For the consumer it means more options and that’s probably a good thing but in terms of exclusive content, especially around major sporting events like the Olympics or the World Cup, it could mean customers subscribed with the wrong telecom are left out in the dark.
In the meantime, $5 seems to be a pretty reasonable price to pay for access to all kinds of programs, sports events, and live TV especially if streaming over WiFi doesn’t count towards the time-limit. On the other hand, if you do most of your viewing away from home isn’t $1/hour for TV over 3G a little steep?