My very first experience of mobile TV was on a Chinese feature phone. I can’t recall the name now. One dude brought it to my

Why is TV not yet mainstream on mobile?

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My very first experience of mobile TV was on a Chinese feature phone. I can’t recall the name now. One dude brought it to my dad’s shop, and we tuned to the local channel and watched. I still vividly remember how it it felt. Exhilarating. I’m guessing your very first experience of mobile TV was on a Chinese no-name phone too. Why are the popular OEM’s not implementing it yet? A few do, but it is not yet mainstream. Why is TV not yet mainstream on mobile? We look at the likely causes below:

mobile tv

  1. The Network Cabals:
  2. These are the mobile network operators. I call them the network cabals because if mobile TV were ever to go mainstream it would affect them. So they discourage it. Already they sell us “LTE” data and expect us to stream instead. For these ones, the coming of TV on mobile would be bad market for them.

  3. Country Disparity:
  4. Already, a long list of countries have migrated to digital broadcasting, while some others are still stuck on analog. Nigeria only recently started the migration process, so TV on mobile would be a mixed bag here now. Different countries have different broadcasting styles. OEMs find it difficult to cramp in all the LTE modes into a phone talkless of adding TV broadcast modes.

  5. OEM Reluctance:
  6. Remember my piece on why you can never get a perfect phone? Those same issues come to play here. Remember that OEMs still think of their pockets first. Hence, I believe they have not seen enough demand or economic importance of add TV feature on a smartphone. In simple terms, the stress involved in achieving it is not commiserate to the possible profit margin.

Finally, mobile TV is good, but the question is: do we really need it? The increased consumption of online videos and streaming, daily reduce our need of a TV on our smartphones. The implementations we have seen in Nigeria so far never resulted in the providers smiling to the bank. Do you think I’m missing something? Is there still hope of having TV’s on our smartphones? Your thoughts, please.


  1. To my own understanding it would only be more useful to those living in Lagos because that’s where most of theses TV stations are.
    Pls would you do an article (or if you could explain here) on the differences between digital broadcast and what we have now(whatever the name is) and how it affects us the viewers?

  2. Thanks. I recall reading that article. I get the digital TV box set concept(as almost every one has that). What I don’t get is, say I stay in Lagos and used to just attach my external antenna to my digital TV and get to watch over a dozen stations. Will that still be possible or would i have to get a decoder alongside?

  3. Hi Deji,

    If you own an analogue TV, you will require a decoder in order to receive digital broadcasts. However, if you own/buy one of the new digital TV sets with the decoder built in, you are good to go without a separate decoder box.

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