I am sorry to say that Mick Hucknall is on my mobile phone as I type this.
I didn’t want Mick, I wanted footie. Or cricket. To be precise, I wanted to see how Sky Sports was measuring up on the mobile, and now that it’s available on the Planet 3 portal, I thought, well now’s as good a moment as any.
However, for whatever reason, my handset wasn’t having any of it, and so my next thought was: it’s been a little while since you watched telly on the mobile, Windsor, so let’s just check out the audio and video quality on another channel.
So I clicked on ITV1 and tuned into a gaggle of thirty and fortysomething female presenters billing and cooing over an ageing rock star: clearly, recognizably, unfortunately Mick, delivered to my screen at an estimated 20 frames per second.
The picture quality was markedly better than the stick men I encountered when, not so very long ago, I tuned into an international football match, which might indicate that improvements have been made: then again, considering that quality over streaming deteriorates with the number of viewers in your vicinity, and that I was probably the only mobile viewer of “Loose Women” in southern England, perhaps not.
Furthermore, the audio quality left a lot to be desired. When Mr Hucknall began crooning “Money’s TooTight To Mention”, there was a fairly high level of distortion. (Given my personal opinion of Simply Red, I viewed this as a distinct improvement, but his fans would probably disagree.)
Although the iPhone, and other high-end handsets, can enhance the user experience to a certain extent, the quality of the signal is paramount, and the fact remains that even with a small amount of users, the level of degradation experienced during streaming can render the picture unwatchable (see the football match referred to above).
Ultimately, even on such high-end handsets, streamed TV is often a fairly mediocre experience on the mobile: endurable rather than enjoyable.
(A little coda to these observations: this also presupposes that you can watch the programmes that you want to. Between 1300 and 2300, five hours of the schedule was unavailable as the service provider had not secured the rights for mobile…)