My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica: LIME TV and Broadcasting - Hunt for Red October


Monday, December 13, 2010

LIME TV and Broadcasting - Hunt for Red October

Such was the Muse whose rules and practice tell
“Nature’s chief masterpiece is writing well”

Pope, Essay on Criticism, III

The power of an idea; its ability to change the world - or in this case Jamaica. I speak of course of DTT (Digital Terrestrial Television) in the form of LIME TV. My Audia and I were true believers in this concept, instead of being slave to the power than money has over people as per my blog tribute eulogy to my beloved deceased entitled “Audia Granston, Jack Abramoff and the Culture of Innovation anmd Spirit of Creativity in Jamaica”.

In fact, it is my opinion that the lack of a philanthropic spirit and a desire to do things to benefit Mankind and the typical Jamaican’s greed for money is partly to blame for our Jamaican Economy not being resilient in the face of the Recession.

So it is somewhat refreshing to read about the launch of LIME TV (the Mobile Version, at least!!) on Thurdsay December 9th 2010 AD in the article “Will the revolution be televised?”, published Sunday December 12 2010 by The Jamaica Observer.

This is especially evident in the altruistic sounding overtones as it relates to allowing people to “tas’e an’ buy” (Jamaican Colloquial) or get a “free trial” (American Colloquial) based on the earlier article entitled “LIME launches Mobile TV...and its free for now!”, published Friday December 10 2010 by The Jamaica Observer.

Very necessary to get people to try the product, as based on these newspaper articles, the phones being used are rather pricey Nokia N77, a nice phone, just not Android as I had hoped for in my blog article entitled “Broadcasting and Digital Switch Over -Back to the Future to compete with LIME TV” and the article entitled “LIME TV and Broadcasting - The Andromeda Strain and My Science Project”.

Apparently LIME TV is being aimed at the Young and the Restless crowd, the ideal guinea pigs who love hype and glitzy advertising! LIME Chairman Chris Dehring aka DJ Chris, took off his DJ hat and put on his history buff hat in a remark worthy of mention, quote: “This is a historic moment; Many of us here in Jamaica remember exactly when TV changed from black and white to colour. We also remember exactly when LIME introduced mobile phones to Jamaica. The merger of these two technologies will also now be forever remembered as a seminal moment - when a mobile phone truly became more than just a phone”.

Indeed, so true. This is history for many young people, much as Telecom Sector Liberalization and the haunting spectre of competition for then Telecom Provider C&W was history to me when I was eighteen (18) in 1997, then a UTECH student, witnessing the signing of the Telecommunications Act of 2000 that would change the Jamaican Telecom Landscape forever.

Same thing, only aimed at Broadcasting. Telecom Provider LIME has effectively made the Big Three (3) Broadcasters with their ageing Analog Transmission facility extinct, as Telecom Provider LIME’s  product, albeit Subscription based Mobile Television, with prices to be announced tomorrow (read: 12 am Monday December 13 2010 on their website!!!), is already a hit, despite the phone not being Android. Ahh, for an AMOLED 4” screen!

Still, the concept is sound; On-Demand and “TV Anywhere” will make both free-to-air Television and even Triple Play Provider experience some loss of Customers, so long as the price is right. Plus, Telecom Provider may be saving the knock out punch for later, that being the set top boxes for LIME TV, a more DIRECT punch at Triple Play Provider FLOW and the out-of-date Big Three (3) Broadcasters.

The foreseeable problems with their Network is congestion; DVB-H (Digital Video Broadcast – Handheld) is prone to the same vagaries of Network Congestion as is typical of any Broadband Network, despite being optimized for simultaneous traffic, as multiple handsets trying to watch Television in the same coverage area will result in viewers seeing blue “No Signal” screens.

Ditto if Telecom Provider LIME ever decides to offer HD Radio and a Video Game Platform over their 3G Network on these handsets (set top boxes!?) simultaneously, as the traffic load would be phenomenal.

The Big Three (3) Broadcasters, looking smug in being caught off guard, protesting about the suddenness of Broadcasting Commissions decision to go DSO (Digital Switch Over) by 2015 as per the article “Media association against 2015 deadline for Digital Switchover”, published Friday, November 26, 2010, The Jamaica Observer need not fret.

Competition abounds, coming from IPTV, ironically created by this slowly expanding monster of the Telecom Provider’s own making that being Wired and Wireless Broadband, a slow poison for both LIME TV as well as other Television broadcasters fighting for the attention of disenchanted viewers.

Throw in the fact too, that PayPal requires no Credit Card, merely a wire transferable bank account as per my article “How to use PayPal without a Credit Card”, accessed Saturday December 11 2010 by Melissa Raissa, Helium, Computers & Technology: Internet.

Don’t forget Netflix and Hulu are now BOTH at sub US$9.99 for a thirty (30) day subscription as per the article “Hulu officially launches pay service, cuts price”, published Wednesday November 17, 2010 4:48 pm ET, Yahoo! News, with YouTube being free.

Also, add in IPTV devices such as the Roku, SlingBox and the Apple iTV, is smaller and priced at US$99 with US$0.99 show rentals from ABC and Fox as per the article “New Apple TV: $99 Netflix streaming, 99-cent TV rentals”, published September 1, 2010 11:43 AM PDT by Matthew Moskovciak, CNET News - Crave and is able to connect over Triple Play Provider FLOW and Telecom Provider Digicel Broadband 4G.

Finally, most smartphones ALREADY coming with Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11n) built in as opined in my blog article entitled “Wi-Fi, LightPeak and PowerLine Broadband - The Young and the Restless”, 3G and possibly WiMax 4G Mobile (IEEE 802.16d, e) via Telecom Provider Digicel.

Telecom Provider LIME needs to move quickly to have the free codec app ready on Apple iTunes, Google Market Place and Blackberry App Store so as to enable ANYONE with smart phones to download and install the app and thus decode the DVB-H signal on their Apple iPhones, Android Based smart phones e.g. HTC 4G Evo, Samsung Galaxy S or Motorola Droid series phones as well as Blackberrys.

Telecom Provider LIME can exponentially expanding their Customer base to every smartphone irregardless of Telecom Provider Network and hopefully not biting off more than they can chew, in a bid to stave off the above “competition”.

This is now the future folks, bear witness to it! Jamaican Big Three (3) Broadcasters are is now in virtual Hunt for Red October (1990) as per the Tom Clancy novel, with everyone chasing Captain Ramius and his Crew in the Hunt for Red October (1990) (great movie too, do rent, stream and watch!), who has now switched on his Caterpillar drive and gone silent, with the Big Three (3) Broadcasters unable to follow! 

A cornucopia of choices, putting control of Television back where it belongs: in the hands of the Customer! Monday December 13th 2010, D-Day, beckons……..
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