Roly Keating On Broadcasting

Two years with my video-pod has made me a mobile TV convert

Just in case you're not, it's worth explaing that the trial is run by Arqiva, in partnership with the mobile company O2, and (for those who like to know these things) it uses the new DVB-H standard to beam full broadcast networks to specially adapted Nokia handhelds. BBC 2 is one of 16 channels available.

There are plenty of sceptical voices out there asking if anyone would ever seriously want to watch full-channel TV on the move, let alone pay good money for the privilege. Surely, they say, the viewing experience will always be too compromised, the quality too bad, for anyone to use it as much more than a gimmick – or at best a last resort if you can't make it to a "proper" telly.

Well, I've effectively been a mobile TV user for well over two years now, and I beg to differ. Think of me if you like as a kind of one-person focus group. My findings are of course wholly objective and reliable.

The machine I've been using is one of the early "video-pod"-style devices pioneered by the French company Archos. It's pretty easy to feed with content (you just record in real time from any video source), although unlike the Nokias in the Oxford trial it's not actually a receiver.

Where do I watch? Almost everywhere, really. On the Tube. Walking down the street. Crossing Wood Lane. You start developing certain rules and habits: press "pause" when a noisy lorry goes past, rely more on the soundtrack for a bit when the sun gets too bright.

What's fascinating is that far from diminishing the quality of the viewing experience, the combination of a high-quality mobile screen and good sound can bring the experience of watching TV closer to the intimacy and concentration of reading a book or magazine. You can "lose yourself" in a great programme in a way that's not always easy amid the distractions of typical living-room viewing. I once sat in a crowded cinema enjoying a BBC drama on my portable screen while my son and his friends watched an interminable Will Smith comedy as a birthday outing. It's not unknown for my family to find me on the sofa keeping half an eye on the main TV while watching something else on the Archos.

I know my job makes me a peculiarly compulsive viewer of TV content, and that this must all sound rather sad to normal people, but I've a feeling this kind of restless, multi-layered consumption is going to become more common as the mobile rev-olution matures. All media – print, music,images, sound, telephony – have gradually broken free of their moorings, become ever more portable and mobile. TV is on its version of that journey now, and as I sit happily on the Central Line watching the latest new show for BBC 2, I suspect there's no turning back.

BBC 2 will always be spiky

It may have something to do with my own greying hair, but I've had a certain amount of teasing since the Edinburgh TV Festival for daring to suggest that a channel such as BBC 2 (born 1964) might have to pass through a mild " midlife moment" on its inevitable journey to digital triumph. My comment was of course insulting to the BBC 2 team, all of whom are strikingly youthful and fresh-faced.

I blame Stuart Prebble, whose brilliant creation Grumpy Old Men somehow distilled an entire zeitgeist when it launched two years ago. His series, with its middle-aged wits railing against the general awfulness of almost everything, chimed with the channel's characteristically individualistic and spiky attitude to the world. It's a flavour that I suspect will always be part of the channel, not least because the theme of confronting age and the passing of time is one of the great themes of comedy. Paul Whitehouse tackles it in virtuoso style with his various troubled characters in Help, and in this autumn's Sensitive Skin Joanna Lumley gives the performance of a lifetime as a woman facing the reality of no longer being young.

Sport
footballLIVE City face Stoke, while Warnock returns to Palace dugout
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor and the Dalek meet
tvReview: Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Arts and Entertainment
books
Life and Style
3D printed bump keys can access almost any lock
gadgets + techSoftware needs photo of lock and not much more
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Inside the gallery at Frederick Bremer School in Walthamstow
tvSimon Usborne goes behind the scenes to watch the latest series
Life and Style
Silvia says of her famous creation: 'I never stopped wearing it. Because I like to wear things when they are off the radar'
fashionThe fashion house celebrated fifteen years of the punchy pouch with a weighty tome
Arts and Entertainment
Gregg Wallace in Summer's Supermarket Secrets
tv All of this year's 15 contestants have now been named
News
i100Steve Carell selling chicken, Tina Fey selling saving accounts and Steve Colbert selling, um...
Life and Style
A picture taken on January 12, 2011 shows sex shops at the Paris district of Pigalle.
newsThe industry's trade body issued the moratorium on Friday
Arts and Entertainment
Could we see Iain back in the Bake Off tent next week?
tv Contestant teased Newsnight viewers on potential reappearance
News
i100
News
The slice of Prince Charles and Princess Diana's wedding cake and the original box from 29 July 1981
newsPiece of Charles and Diana's wedding cake sold at auction in US
Voices
The Ukip leader has consistently refused to be drawn on where he would mount an attempt to secure a parliamentary seat
voicesNigel Farage: Those who predicted we would lose momentum heading into the 2015 election are going to have to think again
Arts and Entertainment
Cara Delevingne made her acting debut in Anna Karenina in 2012
film Cara Delevingne 'in talks' to star in Zoolander sequel
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £45000 per annum + uncapped: SThree: Key featuresA highly motivated ...

Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £30000 per annum + uncapped: SThree: Do you feel you sales role is li...

Head of Marketing (Online & Offline, Media, Digital, Strategy)

£85000 - £100000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Head of Marketing - Slough, Berkshi...

Administration Assistant / Office Assistant

£18 - 20k + Bonus: Guru Careers: An Administration Assistant / Office Assistan...

Day In a Page

Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Ukraine crisis: The phoney war is over as Russian troops and armour pour across the border

The phoney war is over

Russian troops and armour pour into Ukraine
Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

The world’s entire food system is under attack - and Britain is most at risk, according to a new study
Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Seoul's plastic surgery industry is booming thanks to the popularity of the K-Pop look
From Mozart to Orson Welles: Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

After the death of Sandy Wilson, 90, who wrote his only hit musical in his twenties, John Walsh wonders what it's like to peak too soon and go on to live a life more ordinary
Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Fears are mounting that Vladimir Putin has instructed hackers to target banks like JP Morgan
Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years

Salomé: A head for seduction

Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years. Now audiences can meet the Biblical femme fatale in two new stage and screen projects
From Bram Stoker to Stanley Kubrick, the British Library's latest exhibition celebrates all things Gothic

British Library celebrates all things Gothic

Forthcoming exhibition Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination will be the UK's largest ever celebration of Gothic literature
The Hard Rock Café's owners are embroiled in a bitter legal dispute - but is the restaurant chain worth fighting for?

Is the Hard Rock Café worth fighting for?

The restaurant chain's owners are currently embroiled in a bitter legal dispute
Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival

In search of Caribbean soul food

Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival
11 best face powders

11 best face powders

Sweep away shiny skin with our pick of the best pressed and loose powder bases
England vs Norway: Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Lack of Englishmen at leading Premier League clubs leaves manager hamstrung
Angel Di Maria and Cristiano Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

Di Maria and Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

They both inherited the iconic shirt at Old Trafford, but the £59.7m new boy is joining a club in a very different state
Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference