BBC launches live mobile TV tests

The BBC is testing the live streaming of its television and radio channels to wi-fi enabled mobile devices.

The feed is designed for use by wi-fi enabled phones. Screen size is currently 176 x 144 allowing reception on the widest number of available devices. Full 3G compatibility may be used at a later date, although the associated charges may be prohibitive.

The tests, which it has emerged have been running since September 2008, are looking at a number of handsets including those from HTC, Motorola, Palm, Samsung and Sony Ericsson. The Apple iPhone is also under consideration.

“The BBC iPlayer, including live TV and Radio, is now available on some mobile handsets and has been for some time,” said the BBC in a statement. “The BBC has been running a public beta to test live TV/Radio, on a limited number of Wi-Fi enabled handsets, via the mobile homepage since last September. The purpose is to test uptake and quality and assess how we might be able to stream live services to an increasing number of mobile devices in the future, but we are some way off this becoming a full BBC service.”

It is not the first time that the corporation has experimented with mobile TV. It was involved in the 2005 Oxford trials and a year later was carried on the BT’s ill-fated Movio.

This latest offer will free the BBC from being tied to an individual operator.