Are you one of the millions of Americans not getting enough television in your diet? Are there entire days when you don't enjoy a single delicious moment of "The Daily Show"? Do you find yourself staring listlessly at the back of the commuter train seat in front of you, hopelessly humming "I want my MTV"? Fear not, my video-starved friend! A full day's supply of nourishing television programming could be as near as your cell phone, thanks to the new Verizon V Cast Mobile TV service.
This isn't the first attempt to bring video to cell phones, but previous efforts usually consisted of short clips instead of full programs, appeared on tiny screens and suffered from herky-jerky video playback. The V Cast system is a major improvement. You can enjoy eight channels of full-length TV programs, including prime-time shows from CBS, Fox, NBC, Comedy Central, ESPN, MTV and Nickelodeon, on a small but perfectly watchable screen, with consistently smooth audio and video. The trick: these programs aren't being sent over the cellular network at all, but broadcast over a separate video-only system created by MediaFLO USA, a division of cell phone technology leader Qualcomm. The mobile TV system requires a special handset, complete with a small pop-up antenna, and a $15-a-month all-you-can-watch subscription.
Two V Cast Mobile TV—ready phones are now available—the LG VX9400 ($250 with a two-year contract) is definitely the slicker of the two, with a 2.2-inch screen that pivots horizontally for optimal video viewing. In addition to providing a surprisingly satisfying miniature TV experience, the VX9400 is a handsome full-featured cell phone, with a comfortable keypad, fast Web surfing, long-lasting battery and handy music player, with the option to add up to two gigabytes of additional memory for storing your favorite tunes.
The MediaFLO network is currently available in over 20 metropolitan areas, with new locations being added regularly. Check the Web site for coverage.