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CBS launches iPhone television application


TV.com has been released by CBS Mobile, the new free mobile application will allow iPhone and iPod touch users to view full episodes of select CBS television shows and other programs via a Wi-Fi or 3G mobile network.

No iPhone application has yet to provide free television content directly form a television studio based in the United States. However, iPhone users can receive free content streams from the British-based BBC using its iPlayer app.

Currently, TV.com offers a selection of CBS shows, such as CBS News, episodes of “Late Show with David Letterman”, CBS Sports, “The Young and the Restless”, and many others. The mobile application also delivers shows from the CW including “90210” and even six shows from Showtime, including “The Tudors”. Users can also head over to TV.com to view CNet and GameSpot podcasts.

Although the selection is currently limited, the application will be capable of accommodating new content delivered from CBS when available. CBS is also working to make available more of its content. The application also delivers decent video quality utilizing the standard iPhone QuickTime player.

While iPhone lacks camera with video-recording capability, it doesn't stop it from reproducing a high-quality video. In fact, many users swear the iPhone is the best media player around despite being an average phone. But for an “ultimate media player,” the iPhone lacks what many think is the Holy Grail of television - live TV on the go. In an ironic twist, rival devices manage live TV as part of broader media playing features far better than the iPhone does. Many cellphones sold by AT&T, and especially Verizon, for example, feature an additional live TV service for viewing select TV programming on the handset over the cellular network. Samsung Instinct offered by Verizon is one such example, and these devices are often seen in use at airport terminals as passengers wait for their flight.

With the iPhone, AT&T wouldn't allow even simpler applications over its network like radio streaming or song purchases. However, both Apple and its carrier partners have been working to gradually remove limitations as to what applications are allowed over their network. In past few months, carriers have allowed the handset to stream radio stations, iTunes song purchases and live video over their cellular networks. Free VoIP calls, however, are still not allowed. With video streaming over cellular allowed, several iPhone applications have appeared to take advantage of this, but most of them fail to deliver the quality content iPhone users expect.

With offerings ranging from video podcasting to dedicated applications which stream short clips from local TV stations, to the Joost application, they all lack premium content that would really put TV in your pocket on the go. The arrival of TV.com from CBS Mobile marks a turning point and gives hope that rival TV stations will follow the move, bringing iPhone users more high-quality programming, TV shows and news.

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10:43 PM

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