FutureWire - futurism and emerging technology

Friday, April 22, 2005

Cellphone TV Moving Toward Standards... Can Regulation Be Far Behind?

As handheld-based television inches ever closer to the mainstream, two inevitable questions come to mind: When will the medium have its "Janet Jackson moment" with objectionable content, and when will the medium be regulated? Not if, but when?

TV that's broadcast to cell phones and other mobile devices may soon get standards that will allow content creators to make all kinds of content available. Crown Castle's digital video broadcast handheld (DVB-H) and Qualcomm's forward link only (FLO) are two leading protocol candidates at this point (though one analyst believes that widespread adoption of any standard is at least four years away). The platforms may not be as permissive as the Web or RSS, but any kind of open standard is going to set some content creators up for controversy.

Surely, some geeky wonks in Washington are already looking into this, and in today's political climate, too much special-interest money is at work for the politicians to leave this alone. Hopefully, the industry will beat them to the punch with content ratings, parental controls, and kid-friendly devices such as the Firefly phone.

Source: Technology Liberation Front