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No data, no delays: Fox pushes movies straight to your phone

Full HD movies, straight to your phone, without eating your data or slowing down your device -- it's the dream, and the technology is here.

New technology could bring movies to your phone without you even having to download them.
Getty Images

Imagine having movies downloaded and ready to watch on your phone, without ever using your data or slowing down your device. In fact, imagine having movies on your phone without you ever having to think about downloading them.

That's the promise of a new service announced at Mobile World Congress by Ericsson, Australian carrier Telstra and 21st Century Fox (through its in-house innovation group the Fox Innovation Lab).

The pilot program, which kicks off in Australia today, will push Full HD movies to a user's phone without the need to download them, ready to watch with or without a network connection.

(There are also plans to trial the technology in the US, but there are no further details on that front yet.)

"Participants will receive notifications when the latest movies that match their interests become available," said Ericsson, 21st Century Fox and Telstra in a statement. "The movies are pre-positioned on the consumer's device and are available immediately for purchase or rent and play in full 1080p HD and high quality audio without interruption, both online and offline, and irrespective of network connectivity."

It's all thanks to LTE Broadcast technology (also known as LTE-B or multicast), which lets carriers and telecommunications providers push content to a large number of users at once using existing LTE spectrum.

Best of all, the carrier only needs to use a single stream of data to push the content (hence the idea of broadcasting) rather than requiring each user to download their own stream and put massive strain on the network.

It's not the first time we've seen LTE-B used. Telstra has trialled the technology to deliver sports content in Australian stadiums, while US carrier Verizon tried out a small-scale multicast of the Super Bowl back in 2014.

But what is new is the partnership with a big name entertainment company like 21st Century Fox to deliver movies.

It's a different proposition to services like iTunes, Google Play or Netflix (which recently added offline viewing). It also has the potential to massively change the way you watch video on your mobile.

It's as simple as sharing a few details about what you like and then Full HD movies will appear on your device, ready to watch -- you won't have to think of what title you want to watch or even trawl through lists of recent releases (and you thought Netflix was making you lazy enough already!).

But there are applications beyond entertainment. Imagine advertisers getting a few details about your buying habits and then being able to broadcast relevant content straight to your pocket.

It's a sign of the times that we're seeing more and more of these partnerships between entertainment companies and carriers, who are eager to expand beyond their role as a delivery pipe and get a slice of the lucrative content pie.

In sad news for cinephiles, the trial won't be open to the general public. It will be closed off to a select group who will be provided with specific devices to test the technology.

But who knows -- the days of you getting your favourite movie pushed to your phone, before you've even decided you want to watch it, could be just around the corner.

Check out our full coverage of Mobile World Congress here.

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