TV to Go. Kinda.

Streaming video makes an underwhelming debut on cellphones.

by Courtesy AT&T; Wireless

Nokia 3650Courtesy AT&T; Wireless

For the true info-junkie or sports nut, no screen is too small for getting caught up on the news or watching highlights of the game. But while diehards might put up with the new video services available on select Sprint PCS and
AT&T Wireless cellphones, for the rest of us it's really a stretch to even call them video.

Although AT&T's RealOne performed best in our tests, it served up only four to seven frames per second (full-motion video is 24 fps). The resulting footage is painfully jerky, with sound akin to crackly AM radio. Sprint's MobiTV delivered just one frame per second (as did Sprint's RealOne service), playing like a slide show with FM-quality audio.

Viewing programming from the Learning Channel or ToonWorld TV Classics at such low frame rates may be masochistic, but MobiTV's and RealOne's decent audio quality redeem them for news and sports, with clips available from CNN, MSNBC, FOX Sports, and more. However, it would have been nice to be able to recommend these TV services with higher praise than "they work well as radios."