Analog TV handsets led the way in Japan last year. Now cell phones with sophisticated digital services pursue parallel paths into the future. These complex systems may migrate out of the country, but audience usage preferences are still an unknown. The following is a map to this new world of Japanese mobile technology — how digital FM cell phones have come of age and hand-held digital TV, delivered by satellite, may not be far behind. The second of a two-part series by Daniel Scuka.
In what has to be one of the first examples of using mobile data as a feedback channel to enable listener interactivity anywhere, listeners can click on a link when they hear a favorite song and download that song to their phone in the form of a “Chaka Uta” music file (but limited to only 30 seconds). The song can be played back as often as desired, but not transferred off the handset. Clips are encoded in AAC+ format, similar to MP3 format, and the phone can hold 50 or 60 songs. Average cost is about a dollar per track, and the files are delivered by Label Mobile, a startup joint venture funded by the major music labels in Japan. Continue >>