The latest portable television product for phones, Audiovox Mobile TV, just launched today. Manufacturer Audiovox is hoping that the product’s selling point–broadcast television on an Android or iPhone without a clumsy dongle to plug in–will attract consumers hungry for mobile content. But there’s a catch: Free television broadcasting is only available in limited markets and requires the phones be within 25 feet of an at-home proprietary Wi-Fi router.
Audiovox’s product uses the Dyle mobile television platform and is powered by Siano chips. Dyle is the child of the Mobile Content Venture, a coalition of industry players including CBS, NBC, ION, Scripps, Gannett, Hearst, and Meredith. The Mobile Content Venture’s Erik Moreno told Fast Company that the hockey pucklike device can be placed anywhere within a home or office, and viewers can stream mobile television off it using Android or iOS apps.
Dyle isn’t perfect: Participating stations only reach 57% of the U.S. public (with many markets having extremely limited station access), and many major markets, such as Albuquerque and Sacramento, are currently excluded altogether. In the New York viewing market, Dyle watchers have access to Fox, NBC, Qubo, and Telemundo only. The biggest challenge facing Audiobox and Dyle (beyond limited content) is that it isn’t truly a “view anywhere” product–without the accompanying router, app users can’t watch television.
With that said, Dyle and services like it are worth keeping an eye on. Television networks, cable operators, and satellite operators are all not-so-quietly fuming over Aereo–a competing television service that beams to mobile. Dyle is one of the television industry’s most coherent attempts to compete with Aereo, and the Audiovox release comes at the same time as Aereo’s rumored Android app.