More movies streaming through your smartphones, but check the speed
Entertainment came as the next frontier of smartphones, after the latter have successfully established their beachheads for voice and data. What’s amazing is how, now, smartphones even serve as our very own mini-tv sets or mobile theater house, thanks to movie streaming. Mobile users who are commuting, in-between meetings, or have time on their hands, will spend that idle time watching the latest TV hits or last year’s box-office bonanza. Credit the trend to the users in the twenty-something demographic who click on their cell devices to watch films or video. According to Fierce Wireless, they comprise 81 percent of the entire population of smartphone users.
Through its cell device apps, independent cable champion Netflix has parlayed its library of films into a new market outside the United States, courting users who normally cannot access Netflix through traditional cable. The strategy has proven to be sound: The company has enjoyed a 15 percent increase in downloads in Latin America, and 48 percent growth in Europe. Downloads in Asia hit an all-time high of 700,000.
Telecoms, which know a good and profitable market, are getting into the act, with T-Mobile going for the big time with its Binge On service. As described by Engadget, a T-Mobile cell user can download movies from the telecom’s partner channels without additional data charges. The list of movie providers, which includes Netflix, is enough to whet any movie buff’s appetite: Hulu, FilmON.TV, Red Bull TV, Discovery Go, and Fox Business. What might prove really irresistible to many viewers is T-Mobile’s recent inclusion of Google Play and YouTube into its mix.
Google’s participation took time, as it had issues with T-Mobile that were only recently resolved. As elaborated on by Fortune, the Internet giant voiced out its concerns about the quality of the videos being shown on cell devices, how the speed of data and other kinds of transmission were being affected, and the possibility that any of these free-streaming devices could affect other movie provider-apps that were not part of the Binge service. In short, T-Mobile smartphone owners might enjoy more movies that are sharper, clearer, and faster to stream if they were using Binge On; if they were to click on another movie-streaming app, they might find the movies to be clunkier, slower, and definitely less enjoyable. Google’s concerns were a subtle hint that T-Mobile might be pushing its own video-enabling services to the detriment of other suppliers. The threat to net neutrality was also invoked.
Government regulators have not checked into the issue yet, although as early as January, Wired posted a T-Mobile executive’s admission that users will definitely experience slower speeds if they download movies or videos outside of the Binge On Services.
Although Google has appeared to become more conciliatory with the inclusion of YouTube on Binge On Services, writers like Jim Dougherty advise users to become more proactive when it comes to ensuring the speed of their movie streaming connection. The top three recommendations are as follows: Continually test devices especially in locations where they normally download their videos. Next, check the quality of their videos and the speed of the downloading. Finally, if needed, bring back-up equipment that can ensure a longer time of connectivity like cell phone battery boosters, mobile Wi-Fi routers, and 5BARz International network extenders that can boost a weakening phone signal to the maximum five-bar level.
Movie streaming may be here to stay, but the bugs are far from being fixed. For the cell device users out there, enjoy your films, and while no popcorn is necessary, you might have to be more pro-active in ensuring strong connectivity.