Yes, mobile TV has truly arrived. Verizon Wireless upped the ante when it switched on its V Cast Mobile TV service in March, 2007. Unlike 3G video offerings (including the Verizon's EV-DO V Cast streaming video service), Mobile TV uses a portion of UHF spectrum that's different from the one used for standard over-the-air TV broadcasts. That means a stunning viewing experience with no waiting for streaming video to buffer. As such, the cellular and TV signals are independent from one another, and you don't need any signal-strength bars to watch the TV programming. Currently, only the Samsung SCH-u620 and the LG VX9400 support Mobile TV.
Mobile TV offers eight channels: CBS Mobile, Comedy Central, ESPN Mobile TV, Fox Mobile, MTV, NBC 2Go, NBC News 2Go, and Nickelodeon. On the whole, it's a decent offering, but if you're looking to make sure you don't miss your favorite show when you're away from home, you'll likely be disappointed. Not all the offerings are "live" as in simulcast; some of the content is timeshifted (David Letterman at 11 a.m.?), and others are delivered specifically for mobile viewers, such as NBC's Primetime Catch-Up, a roundup of the network's previous night's prime time offerings.
As far as when you can expect to see your favorite network shows simulcast, it's hit or miss. Different networks simulcast over Mobile TV at different times. But even if you can't watch your favorite shows when they're actually broadcast, you'll be able to view many popular shows, including Chappelle's Show, South Park, CSI, and The Real World. Fox Mobile proved to be the most disappointing in terms of programming, airing failed shows such as Stacked and The Loop during primetime instead of hits such as 24 or The Simpsons.
Still, there is a fair amount of live network broadcasts. We were able to watch the NCAA basketball tournament live while away from home, for example, and NBC News 2Go is a mix of mostly live programming from NBC, CNBC, and MSNBC. It's not exactly TiVoToGo, but V Cast could certainly come in handy during commutes or waiting for a flight.
One of Mobile TV's big draws is that it delivers live TV broadcasts rather than streaming video. That means true 30-frames-per-second transmission (EV-DO streaming services cap out at 15fps) and fantastic, crystal-clear video quality that rivals regular broadcast TV. We saw no lag between audio and video, and the video itself was crisp and vibrant. Some programs displayed a bit more artifacts than others, but it's far superior to any previous mobile video services. Of course the smaller display on a cell phone isn't conducive for extended viewing, but it's still a satisfying experience.