Read these 10 Video Phones Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Cellphone tips and hundreds of other topics.
Nothing like Tivo for video and TV addicts who want to catch their favorite shows. Beginning in summer 2006, Verizon Wireless video cell phone users will be able to program their Tivo sets directly through their cell phones. The two companies announced this partnership in March 2006 and expect to have everything up and running by summer 2006. You won't get the programming on your phone yet, but you will be able to make sure the recorder is set anytime from anywhere.
What's next for video cell phones? Mobile TV. We're talking real TV, with real channels and shows. Right now, the best current cell phone plans offer are video clips from current shows, like ESPN's "SportsCenter" or Comedy Central's "Daily Show." But Nokia, Motorola, Samsung and Sony Ericsson are all working on handsets that will be designed for viewing live video feeds on high-speed networks. This is already live Europe and Asia but within a year or two, anyone should be able to see not only their favorite TV shows, but new shows designed specifically for the cell phone, too.
Want video-on-demand services from your cell phone provider? Make sure you live in a good-sized metropolitan area and have a video cell phone. These new video-on-demand services are only available in specific areas, mostly in and around big cities. If not, you're going to be stuck on dial-up modem speeds and text-only Internet connections. So it makes sense before you think about purchasing a video-on-demand service -- or a video cell phone that is enabled for the service -- to check that it's available in your area.
Remember when shooting cell phone video -- especially with high-end video cell phones like the Nokia N90 -- that you're going to need to eventually get the video out of the video cell phone. With the N90, for example, low-resolution videos can be emailed or MMS. Medium-resolution can only be emailed and high-resolution can only be transfered via card or USB cable sync. Remember this when you're out shooting. You don't want to get stuck somewhere thinking you can email the video from your cell phone when you can't.
Miss this week's episode of "The Sopranos"? Now you can catch up on your favorite show thanks to Cingular video cell phone, and a new $5 per month HBO Mobile service. You need a Cingular video cell phone and a basic account, upgraded to a Cingular video account ($15 monthly) and then you pay an extra $5 for the HBO clips. No full shows yet, but you will have serious "wow" factor around the office on Monday mornings. Cingular also offers parental controls on its cell phones, too.
Thinking of using your video cell phone's high-speed Internet network to connect your laptop to the Web, or perhaps to download videos from your favorite file sharing service? It's not going to happen. The major cell phone companies have done everything they can to cripple your ability to get video content from anyone but them. And if you do find a way to get around their rules, remember they watch anyone with large downloads and regularly throw people off the service for TOS violations.
Thanks to the introduction of micro-SD cards to many video cell phones, it's now possible to use your video cell phone as a real video camera. On new video cell phones like the Samsung A940-A950, the camera records video directly to the mini-SD card. This means you can shoot as much video as your card will hold. Buy a 1 GB card and shoot up to an hour of video with your video cell phone. Some video cell phones without cards still limit video to 15 or 30-second clips. So make sure that if video capture is important to you, your cell phone's video capacity is limited only by the size of your digital storage card.
Can you watch a full-length movie on your video cell phone? You can, through different services that offer movies which are broken down into clips like a DVD. But the question remains: Who wants to watch full-length movies on a tiny screen, broken up into clips? There may be a future for movies delivered to the cell phone, especially if and when the screen gets bigger.
What's the ultimate video cell phone? If you're talking video capture, the Nokia N90 is the video cell phone of the moment. It comes with a 2 megapixel digital camera with flash and zoom. You can shoot all day in MPEG4 video, with capture direct to the mini-SD card. It's available from T-Mobile and Cingular only at this point. If you're looking for video playback, you can't do much better than the Motorola RAZR line of video-enabled cell phones, which can play back MPEG4 videos and available from most major providers.
If you're the type of sports fan who can't miss "Sportscenter" or "PTI," the good news is you can now get clips from those shows on your video cell phone. The bad news is that you have to get an ESPN cell phone and ESPN Mobile service to see them. And neither come cheap. To view those "Sportscenter" videos on your cell phone, you need to make ESPN your cell phone provider and buy an account that costs anywhere from $35 to $225 monthly. And the Sanyo MVP video cell phone is another $200 to $300, depending on the deal you can get. So if you want to be on the cutting edge with sports videos on your cell phone, you need to make a major investment upfront.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|