Bell TV app on the Samsung Galaxy Note

One of Canada's big three carriers, Bell, recently shot me a build of their upcoming on-demand streaming TV app for Android and a Samsung Galaxy Note to try it out on. I've already established that I'm a fan of the Note's big screen, and I was eager to make use of it with some high-quality streaming video. That, plus it's a ton of fun taking screencaps of the evening news guy and drawing a moustache on him with the stylus. Nyuk, nyuk. 


YouTube link for mobile viewing

Bell Mobile TV offers shows currently playing live, but you can also call up shows on demand. You can browse a program guide to find out what's playing when, and set alerts for shows that you want to catch as they air. As an added bonus, Bell Mobile TV also provides support for Sirius Satellite Radio, though you've got to pay extra for it. 

The whole shebang costs $5/month, and includes 5 hours of viewing that doesn't count towards your usual monthly data limit. Beyond that, it's an extra $1/hour. There are also some premium channels, like HBO, that cost an extra $5/month for mobile access. Unfortunately, just like real TV, you still have to sit through commercials, even for the on-demand stuff. 

The Bell TV mobile app for Android

The selection of program selection is decent, but not great. Even if you pay an extra for HBO, you only get The Sopranos and Sex and the City on demand (though you can still tune in live). The only show on Comedy Central that I was really excited to watch on demand was Ugly Americans. As you might expect, CTV has a ton of stuff, like The Colbert Report, The Big Bang Theory, Grey's Anatomy, and lots of others.

Bell's emphasis on TV is particularly important because they actually own CTV, which is one of Canada's biggest networks. Along with Rogers, Bell has come under a fair bit of fire, since such a set-up (usually called "vertical integration") used to allow them to retain programming exclusivity in channels like mobile, but I won't get too mired in the politics of it all. You can read up more on it here.

The Bell TV mobile app for Android

Bell has recently expanded their LTE network to include Montreal, Vancouver, and my current home, Ottawa, Ontario. While that's really helpful for services like this mobile TV app that demand high-speed data access, coverage is still spotty. I wasn't able to get my LTE service at my home in the west end of town with the Samsung Galaxy Note, but even on HSPA+, all you have to deal with is an extra little bit of buffering time. In all fairness, Rogers LTE is still hit and miss in the area too. The video quality itself is good enough, but the real sacrifice is made in audio. Even with headphones on, don't expect anything incredible. 

Since I'm not a big TV-watcher anyway, I'm not sure I would find a lot of use for this kind of service, but if it included the ability to shunt video out to the TV over DLNA or HDMI, then I might consider it. Even if you're already hooked up with Bell TV, they've got a remote PVR app available manage which shows you're recording while far from home. In the long haul, I probably wouldn't be too happy with the 5 hour limit each month for mobile TV, and there seems to be a lot nikel-and-diming to get access to the channels you really want. I'm sure sports fans will love being able to tune in live and pull up game highlights, but since that's not me, I'll be sticking to Netflix. For more information, hit up Bell's Mobile TV minisite

Oh, and you guys should stick around ... We'll be giving away a Samsung Galaxy Note from Bell soon!

 
There are 3 comments

y2whisper says:

been playing around with this for the past week. The latest update has been solid. The main problem I am harping on now is the fact the unless its a bell device it will not work with the app unless you edit the build.prop.

Bell is now marketing towards people that have unlocked devices to come on over. But can't use this program. Hopefully that will change.

The other bonus with the app. if you are on wifi, it doesn't count to your 5 hours.

Look forward to the giveaway!

scroucher says:

I recently picked up a Galaxy Nexus from Bell. I had to download the mobile tv app myself from the app market. The progam updated last night and after that it didn't work. I uninstalled the app, but when I attempted to reinstall it I couldn't find it on the app market. Any ideas?

y2whisper says:

that is weird I actually can't find it on the market if I look through the market website and try to search.

I can find it if I use the link on the minisite
https://market.android.com/details?id=com.quickplay.android.bellmediaplayer

Hopefully that helps.