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Take your shows on the road: Bermuda’s GoMedia launches live mobile TV

It’s been a few years in the making, but a Bermuda-based company has just become the first to launch a new live mobile TV service in Bermuda.

After nearly four years of research, development and beta testing, GoMedia is changing the way we’re able to watch TV — allowing users to get it on the go without a Wi-Fi connection or data plan.

It’s a technology service that’s not yet readily available in the US and it’s already available in Bermuda.

Glenn Doers and Shawn Murphy, are co-owners of Creative Industries Ltd. which owns a major share of GoMedia, along with other investors. Mr Doers acts as CEO of GoMedia while Mr Murphy is CEO of Creative Industries and CFO of Media Mine, a California-based tech company.

Mr Doers says Bermuda’s been something of a guinea pig for this new mobile television technology.

“Over the last few years, Bermuda has been somewhat of a beta test for the technology,” Mr Doers said. “There are plans for it to launch this summer in the US, and our model has been pretty much ahead of the industry — ready to go to market.”

“What we had been waiting on was devices and that process was really time consuming. The first two devices that are ready to go and that we’re bringing to market are the RCA seven-inch mobile digital television and the EyeTV mobile TV dongle for Apple products. We’re the first company to bring them to the retail consumers,” Mr Doers said.

At $180, the RCA mobile TV is a stand-alone device, while the $120 EyeTV mobile TV “dongle” plugs into the power port on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch. Both, along with the $35 a month subscription to GoMedia, enable to you to take your shows on the road — literally.

While the technology is not yet available for Android devices, it will be soon enough.

“RCA is going to bring out an eight-inch Android-based tablet with the mobile TV technology built right into it,” Mr Murphy said.

“We’re hoping to have a sample of that tablet and bring it to market this summer. And the industry is hopeful that an Android dongle will be available this summer as well for other Android devices like the Samsung Galaxy 4,” Mr Doers added.

The GoMedia service currently offers six channels in its line-up including ABC and CBS — channels 7 and 9 — NBC network, CNN Headline News, ABC Family, and Fox Soccer. But, the company hopes to soon add The Weather Channel to the package and a few others as well.

“As we grow, we would then like to increase to ten channels, but for right now, our offering is the six channels,” Mr Doers said.

“We have gotten a very good response for our line up. The line-up came from our focus groups — we didn’t just pick them out of the sky,” he said. “Of course, there are other channels and every time we sign a subscriber, one of the things we ask them is ‘What other channels would you like to see added as we grow our line-up?’ so we’re listening to what people want.”

The company did a “soft launch” in January and only started advertising the service in March, but already, they say the response has been incredible.

“You know, the response … people who have it love it,” Mr Doers said. “And word of mouth truly is one of the best marketing tools, so what we did was put 100 of these TVs into the market a year ago as a beta test. People who have them, love them. So that is really helping to drive the interest.”

When asked what separates GoMedia’s mobile TV service from other digital services like Slingbox, Hulu, Netflix or AppleTV, Mr Doers said the main difference is users can take it with them — regardless of whether they have an internet connection.

“One of the most important facts in this is that this technology is broadcast. It does not require any Wi-Fi, it does not require a data plan, there’s no streaming and no buffering. It’s digital, it’s clear, it’s TV on the go anywhere,” Mr Doers said.

“The one thing that I can’t do with those internet services is I can’t pick it up and just leave unless I’m streaming it and when you’re streaming through a data plan, it becomes very, very expensive,” Mr Doers added.

“You have these six channels anywhere anytime for $35 a month and it’ll never cost you more than that through usage. You can take it anywhere you choose on the island. You can also take it overseas and rescan and use your device free, with no roaming costs associated with it whatsoever because it’s a broadcast over-the-air solution,” Mr Doers said.

“And what that means is you have live TV and internet access at the same time,” Mr Murphy explained.

On the iPad, users can have a split screen watching TV up top and surfing the web down below. The service also allows users to rewind if they missed something and pause if they wish. Users can also use the service abroad — picking up stations abroad.

“When you travel to the US, you can pick up ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX in Atlanta, Miami, Vegas — wherever. Any station that is broadcasting in the mobile standard is available to you,” Mr Murphy said.

Mr Doers says while it sounds complicated, it’s really very easy.

“It’s techy looking, but it’s very simple plug-and-play in that sense,” he said. “The beauty is, I can pick this up and go anywhere I want to go.”

“I use this for example as my kitchen TV. I’m able to pick it up, walk outside and sit on my patio and watch it. I’m able to take it on my boat. Now you have TV anywhere anytime,” Mr Doers said.

Mr Doers said different customers like the service for different reasons.

“If I’m out and I want to catch the 7 o’clock news, I can catch it on my iPhone or my iPad. We have one customer who’s a Young and the Restless fanatic and his wife has got to get home by six to watch it. Now, they don’t have to rush home because she can watch it sitting in the passenger seat of the car. During the last hurricane, customers were watching the US Open when the power went out. But you could still watch it on the mobile TV,” Mr Doers said.

And yes, the technology even works in the car or on your boat.

“That’s the difference with the mobile standard,” Mr Murphy said. “If you had just a regular portable TV in your car, you’d lose the signal once you get up to about ten miles per hour, but testing on the roadways with this, you don’t lose the signal at all.”

“I watched Cup Match last year on that little TV cruising up North Shore on my boat,” Mr Doers said. “We went to Long Bay, dropped anchor and that’s where our family stayed and had a great time and we were able to watch the match and not just listen to it on the radio as we would normally do. We were actually able to watch it live.”

“The focus is obviously providing the mobile user something that’s appealing to them and that’s why we chose ABC Family for people with kids, the network channels for those who want their breaking news and Fox Soccer for the soccer fans,” Mr Murphy said.

GoMedia says they have signal coverage of about 90 percent of the Island, but due to Bermuda’s topography, there are some weak spots where customers might not be able to get a signal.

“When a customer comes into our store, we always ask, ‘where do you live?’ because we know our weak areas. Rather than have someone purchase the TV, go home and have a bad experience, we will do a home visit with a unit to first test it to make sure it works in their home,” Mr Doers explained.

GoMedia is located at 37 Reid Street and is planning a grand opening for later this month. In honour of that, they’re offering a special discount to a few of our lucky Tech Today readers. The first four people to e-mail me at mbreen@royalgazette.com will receive a voucher for $20 off the mobile TV device of their choice, subject to subscribing to their service.

Take your TV with you: GoMedia CEO Glenn Doers shows off the company's new mobie TV technology (Photo by Glenn Tucker)

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Published April 10, 2013 at 1:13 pm (Updated April 10, 2013 at 1:13 pm)

Take your shows on the road: Bermuda’s GoMedia launches live mobile TV

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