Internet streaming close to becoming a fully mobile medium?


American Media Services-Internet announced a webcasting test conducted last week in the SF Bay Area that demonstrated the viability of Internet streaming. While attending a streaming media conference in San Jose, AMSi CEO Reed Bunzel and VP/Engineering Laramie Guest drove from San Jose to San Francisco and back while streaming one of AMSi’s formats via a laptop computer equipped with a Verizon Wireless AirCard. The objective was to monitor how much drop-out occurred along the 100-mile test route.

"The near-flawless signal we experienced all along this 100-mile round-trip clearly demonstrates that we are witnessing a huge shift in technological capability and the true emergence of a new digital medium," Bunzel noted. "The underlying incontrovertible truth is that Internet radio no longer is tied to a cable and a surge protector. It is just as portable as terrestrial radio, it doesn’t have to appeal to a mass audience, it can be personal and interactive in nature, and almost anyone can join the club."

We elected to travel north on I-280, and set out in the middle of San Jose, where we were picking up a decent stream with no drop-out. They never lost the stream. They drove into San Francisco on 19th Avenue, crossed through Golden Gate Park and the Presidio, and continued across the Golden Gate Bridge. Again, the signal stayed with them the entire way.

For the return trip they had a brief period of silence while passing San Francisco International Airport. AMSi plans on conducting similar tests in several medium and large markets within the United States in the coming months.

RBR/TVBR observation: It’s only a matter of time before the auto industry adds mobile web to dashboards of new vehicles-complete with an external antenna for better connectivity and wired right into the car speakers for good sound. The biggest issue is how much it might cost to stream audio continuously-more than satellite’s fee a month? If users can pay a flat fee for unlimited internet in the car and it’s reasonable, satellite radio really has a lot to worry about-even more than traditional radio. Let’s face it-consumers will likely choose mobile web payments with sync capabilities (already offered by Ford) for their existing mobile  gear, over a monthly satellite radio payment-because streaming audio would cost nothing more incrementally.