updated 06:30 pm EDT, Wed March 24, 2010
Bitbop to offer paid, full mobile video
Fox today made a deep push into mobile video with first details of Bitbop, its own mobile video service. The platform will provide download streaming full-length TV shows such as Family Guy, as well as movies, over either a 3G or Wi-Fi connection. Access should be device-agnostic and will include an iPhone app as well as versions for Android and BlackBerry, although the Android version may be limited to the Motorola Droid on launch.
Bitbop should be ready within the next few weeks. Its core app will be free, but TV shows and possibly some movies will require a $10 monthly subscription. Certain movies may carry an extra charge that may be pay-per-view, the company said. Long-term plans would have Bitbop charges added to an existing cellphone bill, but the imminent version will require a separate payment.
The fledgling video provider would be a rarity in the US cellular industry. Mobile TV has been a frequent presence but has usually been a carrier-specific feature and limited to a small amount of often low-bitrate video. Qualcomm has hoped to offer true mobile TV through its FLO TV standard, but its service is often more expensive than Bitbop and most often requires a specific phone at AT&T or Verizon with a FLO TV tuner built-in.
A service of the kind could be the first on Android but would face stiff competition on the iPhone, where Fox would not only have to contend with the iTunes Store but free streaming video apps like TV.com. [via GigaOM]