When the first handheld portable televisions began appearing several decades ago, the world was not convinced. Picture and sound were poor to say the least, scanning between channels required surgical precision and lots of luck and reception was impossible unless you were sitting in your living room, feet away from an actual television set.
However, in recent years, with digital technology snowballing through electronics and coming to rest in the burgeoning handheld, mobile and wireless markets, people are slowly but surely warming up to the idea of watching television away from their living rooms. And now, with television syndication and broadcasting taking place increasingly online, many living room television sets are likely to be collecting some dust—but probably not much.
The emergence of these new markets and their technologies has certainly had its challenges: speed and memory. Engineers have hit several walls in their search to expand and optimize memory and performance. But fortunately, engineers in handheld, mobile and wireless technologies are taking cues from computer manufacturers with compressed and improved chip design and hard drive and processor components, while combining them with several of their own industries’ breakthroughs like Wi-Fi and 3G.
But, like all other improvements before it, there are already obstacles ahead that are likely to demand serious and perhaps costly solutions. The closest and most difficult obstacle is bandwidth.
Bandwidth is a term used to describe the amount of data that can be transferred from one point to another in a given time, as well as the difference in hertz between the highest frequency the signal uses and the lowest frequency the signal uses. Though network servers, satellites and the like are being built at fevered paces to meet the demand placed upon them by new devices, bandwidth bottlenecks are formed on a regular basis as a communication path’s speed is compromised by strong demand. And as more and more pressure is put on various network servers and devices, these bottlenecks are likely to increase. And that is why handheld, mobile and wireless technologies are searching for ways around it—and succeeding.
As 3G and other technologies expand, they are likely to alleviate some of the pressure put on widely-used Wi-Fi networks, and with the hosting of data by websites (most Internet television sites already operate in this manner through “streaming”) handheld, mobile and wireless television use is likely coming to a pocket near you soon.
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