One of my favorite moments at the 2013 Consumer Electronics Show (CES), was hanging out with NBC’s Salil Dalvi (@sd_so) on the second floor of the Red Touch Media booth. Salil took a few minutes out of his busy schedule to sit down and talk about the future of live mobile TV, Dyle TV, and the interesting technologies he had seen at CES this year.
Special thanks to Red Touch Media for inviting me to participate in their VIP social media lounge and allowing me to conduct my interview about live mobile TV with Salil at their booth. They were perfect hosts! Hope to see you next year.
Here’s the transcript of my interview with Salil Dalvi about the future of live mobile TV:
Hi, I’m Annette Shade with MethodShop and we’re here at CES in Las Vegas. And joining us, we have Salil Dalvi with NBC Universal. Hi Salil. How are you?
Hi. How are you?
Good. How’s CES going for you?
It’s going very well. It’s been a busy show. I’m here for the duration. Sunday to… Friday. So… I can’t even remember the days anymore.
It’s all a big blur, isn’t it?
It’s been good. There’s a lot of people here. It’s been nice.
And what are you doing here at CES?
I’m here with Dyle Mobile TV. Which is a joint venture between NBC Universal, FOX, and a group called Pearl. Which is a group of some of the largest TV station owners in the United States including Hearst, Gannett, COX, Media General, and a bunch of others.
And what we do is offer live television to mobile devices using the over the air traditional broadcast spectrum instead of using your data plan or WiFi. So what that means to the average consumer, is that if you have a device that’s Dyle enabled then you’ll be able to watch live mobile TV without incurring any data charges and without having to log in to a WiFi hotspot. And what that means practically, if you’re here on the floor at CES trying to login with WiFi, and if you try to stream video, you’re sharing that bandwidth with pretty much everyone else on the floor at CES. You won’t be able to watch any streaming video. Ok. You won’t have enough bandwidth to do that. But with Dyle, because it’s coming over the broadcast networks, it works perfectly well. You can see live local video. And for the first time, we’re offering live mobile TV, basically a living room experience to the consumer. The exact same programing you have on a regular television set on your mobile device.
So it’s a full schedule of broadcast content?
It is. So the content that’s available depends on the market. It depends on which stations have launched a mobile offering in that market. But in a market like Dallas, as an example, we have basically all of the over-the-air broadcasters – the big 4, plus Telemundo. In a market like New York, you have 4 broadcasters over-the-air. What we are really excited about is the prospect of offering live local mobile TV to consumers wherever they are on their mobile devices.
We’re in 35 markets covering about 50% of the US population. There are about 135 five stations that have been lit up with the upgrade. What an individual station has to do to make themselves mobile. To go mobile is to do about a $100,000 upgrade. That takes about 3 hours for them to do.
It’s very simple for them to do. Really what the stations are doing at this point is waiting to see what devices come to market. That sort of leads us to why we’re here at CES. We’ve got a few new devices that are available and compatible with this mobile broadcast. The first is an add-on, an accessory for your iPad. It plugs into your 30-bit connector and prompts you to download the app. Once you’ve downloaded the app, plug in the connector – it’s an antenna. Turn it on. It’s got an electronic program guide. And you’re watching TV just like what you do at home.
Is it compatible with other smartphones?
Right now it’s iPod… it’s iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch and the 30-bit connector. In the pipeline, we’ve got an Android version. We’ve got an Apple Lightning connector version as well. So more to come in the next few months.
How are consumers? What has been their experience so far? Have you seen any feedback?
So we literally just launched around Black Friday for these iOS products. Earlier this year in August, we launched a Samsung smartphone on the MetroPCS network. So there are very few customers who have this at this point. But we’re excited to sell these now. Especially with the most widely distributed product out there now… the iPad, iPhone. So we expect to sell a lot of them. We expect our partners to sell a lot of these devices. We’re excited.
And what’s the cost for these live mobile TV devices?
So the first product is called EyeTV. E-Y-E TV. It’s available on Amazon.com for $99 (Elgato EyeTV Mobile; $99). So just go to Amazon.com and type in “EyeTV” and you can determine whether you are in a market that’s served by the stations.
And are there opportunities for brands, for advertisers, with live mobile TV?
For now, we’re simply passing through the commercials that are already on existing networks. So we’re not inserting new ads at this point. As you see more and more devices come to market, you can expect there will be additional types of ad products. Whether it’s mobile insertion, or other types of interactive ads. That’s all very much part of our longer-term plan.
That’s great. Well Salil, are there any other gadgets you’ve seen here at CES? Any technologies that you’re found interesting? Have you had a chance to walk the floor yet?
I’ve had a little bit of a chance to walk the floor. I think so much is happening on the TV side. It’s amazing to see how big they are, how nice they look, and how smart they are. It’s pretty exciting to see.
Well, thank you for joining us today.
Thanks for having me!