We have satellite radio, when (or is it even possible?) will we have satellite tv?

So I have satellite radio in my car, but I still have to dl from iTunes for my iPod to view tv shows, etc. Anyone know when (or if) I’ll be able to sport around with some kind of handheld tv device, switching channels, watching whatever I want whenever I want? Thanks for any info! I’m dying for one now, heh.
Intellectual property issues understood.

I’m not sure why there is such a difference, but I can tell you from experience that getting DirecTV is not easy. Even those smaller parabolic dishes have to be bolted down and very pointedly aimed. The signal strength would have to get a lot stronger to be able to reliably pick it up with a mobile reciever, it seems. Either that, or some software has to get a lot better at picking through the interference.

Hmmm, guess some kind of cell tower-equivalent thing might eventually be the answer, given the amount of additional data to be transmitted? Im guessing here, have no real knowledge of anthing related to this, heh. From what I gather, nothing is on the horizon. =\

In theory, it’s possible, and (IIRC) Sirius is about to introduce a new generation of equipment that can receive video.

However, like all new media technology, it will be a) more expensive at the outset, and b) you can get programming only through Sirius, which means that you wouldn’t be able to get anything from providers with which Sirius doesn’t have a contract. Also, I understand the receiver will be fairly clunky, so it won’t be truly portable in the sense that iPods and some personal satellite radio receivers are.

So it’s coming, just slowly.


Two things:

  1. For years now they’ve sold mini TVs that receive conventional broadcast signals. Back in around 1995 I looked at some with 3" screens.

  2. The cellphone people are hard at work on plans to provide Video on Demand to cellphones. An iPod like device with massive local storage for your collection is actually a step sideways. The end state is more like a video rental store, where the player only holds a couple of shows tops & you download more as needed from a supplier. You’ll generally watch online, and only use the offline mode for places where the online mode is unavailable, such as out in the boonies or on an airplane. At least that’s the vision of the folks who want to run those rental stores.

That’s a two part question with two separate answers. As for watching whatever you want, there has been a rapid move towards making broadcast programming available for download through services like iTunes. I suspect that the number of shows available will increase dramatically (just as it did with TV series released on DVD) as copyright holders begin to see the potential revenues from both popular and long-dormant properties.

The second part of the question is the walking around and switching channels, a la Sirus or XM radio. You can do that already with a Sony watchman in most areas. The FCC has mandated that all American broadcasters convert from analog to digital signals by the end of 2006. When that conversion is completed, not only will the local stations be delivering a better signal, but they’ll be able to deliver multiple channels. So the ABC affiliate might also transmit ESPN and the Disney channel. I’m not really a technophile, but I suspect that there are companies already working on handheld HD receivers in anticipation of this change.

In the UK we have “Freeview”, a digital TV signal that is broadcast by our regular terrestrial TV transmitters. Simply buy a decoder, then watch about 20 channels for free. There are now small receivers that claim to be able to read the digital signal on the move (though I’ve heard they have signal integrity problems), including a USB receiver that can plug into the side of your laptop. Is that the kind of thing you’re asking about, or do you specifically mean stuff from satellite? If the latter, then I’m guessing bandwidth is the problem - a lot more is needed for video than for radio.