Cor! It’s a holiday, so I can’t be arsed doing anything other than a cut ‘n’ paste, I’m afraid:
Full length films – coming to a handset near you
Owen Gibson, media correspondent
Monday December 27, 2004
The choice between a bracing bank holiday walk or an afternoon in front of the television will soon be a thing of the past. Mobile phone owners are being targeted by a company that has developed technology allowing them to watch full-length films and TV shows on their handsets.
From next month, tiny chips will allow most people with recent models to turn their phones into mini DVD players.
The technology makes use of the card slot that mobile phone manufacturers have recently begun adding to their handsets as a means of storing music and photos. The so-called MMC slots are included in most of the latest models. It is estimated that as many as 15m compatible phones will be sold in the UK alone next year, as network operators push customers to upgrade.
The company behind the technology, Rok Player, plans to sell Digital Video Chips containing television shows and films. Because the content is stored on the card and not transmitted over the phone network, customers can watch the shows as many times as they like and are not thwarted by the lack of a phone signal.
With the new phones sporting larger colour screens and high quality audio, Rok Player claims that watching a television programme or film on a handset is no longer the headache-inducing prospect it once was.
“We don’t expect people to watch a feature film in one sitting, but they might watch half an hour on the bus in the morning then another 20 minutes at lunchtime. The screens are also getting bigger and better quality,” said Jonathan Kendrick, chief executive of Rok Entertainment Group, which has developed the format. The software contained in the chips also allows users to turn their phone sideways and watch the footage in full screen “letterbox” format.
The technology will open up a new revenue stream for Hollywood studios and broadcasters eager to tap into the multi-billion-pound mobile market and better exploit their back catalogue. According to Mr Kendrick, they are also enthusiastic about the idea because the films will contain links that allow users to download related content such as ringtones of the theme tune.
Rok Player has signed deals with Aardman Studios, the creator of Wallace and Gromit and Creature Comforts, and Gerry Anderson’s Indestructible Studios, which owns the rights to Captain Scarlet. Other deals have been agreed for 30 to 40 British comedy shows, including the sci-fi series Red Dwarf, as well as Japanese and Bollywood films. Mr Kendrick said deals with three major Hollywood studios had been agreed and would be announced in the new year.
The company will also license music content from Sony BMG, Sanctuary and Eagle Records.
I was going to take the piss, but frankly viewing Legion on the way to work would make me very happy. Although as everyone will already have bought the episodes once, viewing DVDs on the way to work is where everyone will be heading (or, indeed, has headed). I suspect this won’t take off, at least with Dwarf…