updated 08:15 pm EDT, Tue October 5, 2010
Service to mobile TVs will end this spring
Qualcomm has halted sales to consumers of mobile 3G-based TV devices, called FLO TV by the company, with service to the devices being halted in spring of next year. FLO TV content provided to phones on AT&T and Verizon is "unaffected at this time," according to the company, but it's holding talks with various other parties for use of the technology, service or spectrum.
The devices, originally launched in 2006, never attracted a sizeable base of consumers with its separately-billed $15/month service charge. The content's main subscribers have been handset carriers and automakers, who offered the service as part of add-on or incentive packages. The mobile TV device offered by Qualcomm directly sold for $250 and included a six-month subscription. Channels included Adult Swim, NBC2Go and other NBC owned networks, MTV, ABC, CBS, Disney and Nickelodeon among others. The device could not time-shift nor save TV programs, making it less competitive against video-on-demand services or outright rental or ownership as services like iTunes offer.
FLO TV's "MediaFLO" broadcasting technology uses the band of radio frequency spectrum formerly known as UHF channel 55 (716-722 MHz), which may prove more valuable to buyers than the service itself. Qualcomm has said that some employees would likely be laid off due to the discontinuation of sales and service.