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CBS to use Bluetooth wireless to market new shows

The TV network plans to install billboards in NYC to let people download clips of five shows on Bluetooth-enabled handsets.

CBS plans to use Bluetooth wireless technology coupled with billboard posters to market new TV shows in its fall lineup on mobile handsets.

Starting in September, people will be able to download short video clips of five CBS prime-time shows onto their cell phones or PDAs (personal digital assistants) from billboards in New York City's Grand Central Station, according to a Wall Street Journal article published Thursday.

Because Bluetooth is a short-range wireless technology, users must stand within 36 feet of the billboard to access the video clips with their Bluetooth-enabled devices. The video clips are free. They are delivered over the wireless connection directly to the Bluetooth-enabled device without the need to use the mobile Internet, so consumers won't be charged by their carrier for data usage.

The five shows to be featured on the billboards are "Shark," "Smith," "Jericho," "The Class" and "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation."

As more and more TV viewers use digital video recorders to skip through TV advertising, brands such as CBS are getting more creative about how they market their products. CBS has already announced plans to promote its new fall TV shows by stamping logos on eggs.

Billboards and neon lights have been a staple of outdoor advertising for years. Now Bluetooth technology can be used as an extension of those traditional mediums to give consumers a taste of the multimedia experience. The technology is already being used all over Europe to allow people to download movie clips and pictures.