Qualcomm goes against ATSC FLO with new TV on the go

Are Qualcomm (QCOM) and ATSC setting you up for competing mobile television standards?  QCOM, opened a new door to its walled garden of mobile programming.

The FLO TV Personal Television will play TV that is available through Qualcomm’s own dedicated mobile TV network. The dedicated device will not be a phone; its sole purpose is to let people view TV news, sports, children’s shows, and movies. It will be available for the holiday season for $249.99 and a subscription fee of $8.99 a month.

Qualcomm’s FLO TV launches gadget for watching TV on the go | VentureBeat

This past Thursday, the ATSC had a press release of its own:

The Advanced Television Systems Committee (ATSC) is pleased to announce the approval of A/153 ATSC Mobile DTV Standard. The ballot, tallied at midnight Oct. 15, was approved with overwhelming support by the full ATSC membership.


The two services, standards, and formats will probably pit themselves against one another, each having their own advantages.  Perhaps, it would be more beneficial to both if they embraced one another’s technology and promoted mobile viewing.  Regardless of carrier or source.

Hasn’t it already been well established that viewers will pay a premium for programming?  The key is to for people to watch on a new form factor, be it using  a

  • mobile handset
  • personal TV
  • In-vehicle Auto Entertainment System

 FLOTV Program Guide

This is where QCOM has an established presence.  Mobile DTV supporters should piggyback and have their receivers alongside.  Just as in the past you have seen

  • HDTV with both ATSC and QAM tuners
  • STB with a separate local source, in the early days of satellite
  • VHF and UHF rabbit ears alongside each other

How would QCOM benefit?  More content, potentially free, for their customers.  At the present time, the Personal TV must be used with their subscription service.  And the $8.99 figure in that article assumes a 3 year contract.  Why not offer a hybrid product that supports ATSC Mobile DTV, let customers get used to the idea via ad-supported OTA, then up-sell the Pay TV premium content and navigation guide?

Otherwise, is anyone really ready for another new product format war? 


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