RCA DMT336R 3.5-inch MDTV Set Page 4

THE FUTURE OF MDTV

So how does a tiny technical marvel like the DMT336R fit into a world where our smartphones can tune into YouTube and Netflix, and our kids can pacify themselves for hours on end with Nintendo DS and PSP?

I can think of one killer app for the DMT336R: watching a sporting event while your family’s picnicking in the park on a Sunday afternoon, while you’re out at the lake on your boat, or while you’re camped out in a comfy chair at the mall while your wife is shopping. With its rated battery life of four hours, the DMT336R has enough juice to last through a whole football or basketball or baseball game. These programs are readily available on broadcast TV but not on smartphones — not yet, anyway. And I doubt any smartphone has enough battery life to play streaming video for more than an hour or two.

But for now, you can’t even watch most sporting events on the DMT336R — not in Los Angeles, at least. The only big-network MDTV channel here, KNBC-Mobile, rarely even shows the main program feed. It’s usually a hodgepodge of second-tier programming, as one often finds on the standard-def multicast channels many TV stations now broadcast. Of course, that could change with the flip of a switch.

Whether or not more stations will add MDTV is questionable. Unlike the original DTV standard, MDTV is not mandatory. It costs about $100,000 for a station to add MDTV capability — not that much in a TV station’s budget, but still a significant sum in today’s bumpy economy.

No one knows whether or not MDTV will take off, but two things are for sure: The technology works, and if the DMT336R is any indication, the MDTV products themselves will be pretty sexy.

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