Coming soon: movies on your cell phone

At Hollywood Forum’s recent Digital Media Summit conference in Los Angeles, companies unveiled services for delivering full-motion video to cell phones, as well as showing new and innovative ways to bring audio and video content to your PC.

T-Mobile USA Inc. said full-motion video and sound will be available on Nokia Corp.’s new 3650 wireless phone with the company’s service. The announcement marks the first time a U.S. wireless carrier has offered full-motion video with sound on a cell phone.

The US$199 phone will support RealNetworks Inc.’s RealOne media player and service, which will also appear soon on select Pocket PC products. The service lets users stream live video of news and sports, as well as downloaded music, video clips and movie trailers. A Rogers AT&T Wireless spokesperson said the service would likely come to Canadians through that company’s GSM service.

In addition, the Nokia 3650 features a built-in camcorder, VGA camera and audio recorder. Users can record their own short videos, tap in an e-mail address, and send the clips across the country on T-Mobile’s high-speed data network.

Hollywood and the recording industry are very interested in putting their products – both video and audio – into consumers’ hands. Studios and labels are developing new ways to deliver movies and music to mobile devices, as well as more-innovative ways to bring them to PCs.

For instance, this fall RealOne subscribers will be able to download and view full-length feature films from Starz Encore Group on their computers or TVs. Pricing hasn’t been set, but for a monthly fee users will have access to many of the same movies available on the Starz cable network, RealNetworks says.

Users will download and play the movies, encoded in RealVideo 9, using the RealOne player. The companies will use Real’s digital rights management technologies to prevent copyright infringement.

Pocket PC Films, which distributes VHS-quality video programming for Pocket PC and Palm OS devices, this week added heavyweight film producer Warren Zide ( American Pie and Cats & Dogs) to its advisory board to help it shape its filmed-content selection. The Pocket PC Films library includes more than 25,000 titles, covering all types of programming.

On the audio front, music subscription services – whose first attempts were largely shunned by PC users accustomed to free peer-to-peer file sharing – are trying to stage comebacks in a post-Napster world.

FullAudio Corp. recently relaunched its MusicNow service with a base of more than 200,000 songs and growing.

MusicNow features commercial-free, CD-quality radio stations enhanced with specialized groups of songs, called TrakPaks, chosen by informed programmers who give an audio explanation of the grouping and the songs’ backgrounds.

For US$10 a month, the MusicNow premium service also allows a user to listen to the music on a PC, download the music to a PC, or purchase individual tracks to copy or burn onto media for US$1 each.

MusicNow’s relaunch follows the introduction of Yahoo Inc.’s US$40-per-year LaunchCast Plus service, and America Online Inc.’s recent announcement of its own premium paid music service, MusicNet on AOL. AOL’s service will enable its subscribers to listen to newly released music and copy it onto their own media for an additional fixed monthly fee – above the cost of AOL membership.

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