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Nottv smartphone TV broadcaster to debut in April

It's not TV so it's Nottv. The smartphone broadcaster aims to air shows with live commenting and send magazines and games to handsets.

A model shows off a smartphone with Nottv content at Ceatec outside Tokyo. Tim Hornyak/CNET

MAKUHARI, Japan--A smartphone-only TV broadcaster will begin beaming programs to handsets in Japan next April, offering users live commenting as well as text content and games.

Promoters for Nottv were staging fashion shows in a TV studio set up at the Ceatec 2011 trade show outside Tokyo to drum up enthusiasm for the concept.

Japanese consumers have been able to watch conventional TV on their phones for years using the 1seg service. But Nottv will be the country's first dedicated smartphone TV channel.

Nottv shows will make use of frequencies left vacant when the country officially switched to digital TV broadcasts earlier this year. Programs will be around 10 minutes long to suit viewing on the go. Think of it as Twitterized TV.

Users will be able to comment on shows live using the microblogging service and Facebook, and watch programs live or whenever they prefer. Content will include newspapers, magazines, and video games.

Nottv is pending government approval. It's being put together by Tokyo-based Mmbi, established in 1999 with investments from cellphone giant NTT DoCoMo and major Japanese broadcasters.

The company was also introducing people to Notty, the channel's furry mascot, by giving out bags. He looks like the Cookie Monster's younger brother.

The result was hundreds of Ceatec-goers walking around with mascot bags bearing the phrase "I'm notty."