Installation of the sis file is simple, using the Nokia application installer.
I was very skeptical about watching TV on a mobile. There is a lot of hype about IPTV but it just did not take off. It required high amount of bandwidth and must be delivered with certain levels of Quality of Service (QoS) and reliability to become a viable alternative to cable television. Its typically the cellular operators who advertise and provide IPTV service to mobile subscribers. I was curious to find out what Spb TV had to offer.
Spb TV has integrated live streaming feeds of various TV channels on the Internet, whether they are free or premium, to the mobile for a one-time cost of the application you have to purchase. So its subscription-free.
It is not really IPTV as defined by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU-T) but Spb TV have used their proprietary telecom network infrastructure (more below) to deliver video content at 300 Kbps and you get to watch real live TV on the mobile which is absolutely great. To their credit, Spb TV don’t call it IPTV but officially calls this a mobile TV application. Spb TV is best viewed over high-speed WiFi or HSDPA since its very data intensive. I used only WiFi for all my testing.
There are 105 channels from more than 17 countries being streamed live in several languages and there should be something for everyone.
The channel preview is well done, which changes the thumbnails used in the preview frequently from the latest streams available.
You can also preview other channels, while watching a particular channel. The preview appears in the Picture-in-picture mode.
A TV Guide is available for all the channels and you can set an alarm to view a particular channel on a certain date and time.
The volume can be controlled on screen or using the hardware buttons on my E71. For the onscreen control of volume, the D-Pad can be used. It took me a while to find the onscreen control for other features like brightness control, picture in picture, etc. I later found that pressing the “Enter” Key brought up the onscreen menu.
The mobile TV service from Spb TV is not just about having an application on the mobile pick up live videos from the Internet. The Spb TV solution requires a full blown network infrastructure that you can see below.
Videos from each channel is retrieved and hosted by Spb TV Transcoding Servers that feed the data to Spb TV Re-streaming Servers that stream data using the RTSP protocol at 300 Kbps per channel. An Spb Authorization Server is used for authenticating users. The Spb TV Thumbnail server caches latest frames of each channel viewed and displays that over the channel during Picture-in-Picture view or when you browse through the channels. There is a separate Spb TV Guide Server that is updated periodically with the latest TV information.
Channel browsing and Picture-in-Picture were great to use and gave an experience that’s close to that of watching real TV.
I could select only a subset of channels that I want to have in my main screen for browsing and the TV guide’s alarm functionality is a very nice feature.
I could spot some audio lag, which results in loss of sync between the video and voice but its very minimal and you’ll get over it in a no time. There was never an issues with the quality of the picture. Typically live streaming video over the web has a lot of buffer delay but Spb TV’s own infrastructure has mitigated this to a considerable extent, thereby greatly improving the TV viewing experience.
I am very impressed with Spb TV. With a 30 day money back, no questions asked, no risk full price refund offer, its a no brainer to check out Spb TV on your Symbian mobile. It available for a trial or purchase for $14.95. Its very good stuff and I’ll give it a 4 of 5.