Rok.tv set to upset the TV applecart

Mobile TV

Unconfirmed reports suggest that Rok.tv, an interesting company that offers a growing cluster of TV channels to advanced mobile phone users for around a tenner a month, is about to launch a TV-2-broadband gizmo.

The gizmo will plug into the back of a TV, VCR or similar audio-visual device and convert the signals on the fly to an MPEG4 data stream, for routing to your mobile phone via broadband.

Fancy stuff, but for 2.5 or 3G mobile users on an all-you-can eat tariff, it offers an interesting way of receiving your own choice of TV signals - including, maybe, Sky Sports channels - on your mobile.

Sky and, I suspect, a number of other broadcasters, are likely to go ballistic over such a device, since it effectively drives a double decker bus through existing digital rights management (DRM) systems.

But why? You do, after all, pay a TV licence and (if appropriate) cable/Sky subscription(s), to watch these services at home, so why not stream them to your mobile phone?

I have no doubt that the gizmo will include some form of routing and/or encryption to ensure the TV transmissions are only routed to the mobile they should reach, but I can see the TV companies getting up an arms about the device.

It poses some interesting arguments, doesn't it? On the one hand, I, the punter, pay to view my TV signals. On the other, the broadcasters will argue that you pay to receive the signals on a regular TV, not on a mobile phone.

If the device makes it to market, I can see a right stink developing...

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