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LIME Jamaica Mobile TV Review

LIME Jamaica is the first company in the Caribbean to offer DVB-H Mobile TV to customers and one of the first companies in the western hemisphere to adopt the technology. DVB-H is a subsidiary of DVB technology specifically designed for mobile TV viewing, featuring high signal penetration and designs to reduce the impact of the service on battery life.

LIME Mobile TV was launched In November of 2010 with a free promotional period and from that time has gained increasing interest from the public. Within the first week of the launch many persons dealing in cellphones have received several requests for mobile TV enabled handsets in addition to the ones available at LIME stores. There are a few mobile phones and accessories not sold at LIME that can get you tuned into LIME Mobile TV:

  1. The Nokia N96
  2. The Nokia N77
  3. The Nokia USB headset for the Nokia N8, C7, C6-01*
  4. The Nokia Bluetooth adapter**

* Supports all Nokia smartphones with USB OTG support.
** Supports nokia N95, Nokia N97, Nokia N97 mini, will soon be available at LIME.

The devices being pushed by LIME as a part of their official Mobile TV Handset lineup are the Nokia 5330 TV Edition and the ZTE-G N290. These fit into the mid range and the low end of the handset spectrum with various pricing mechanisms that are used in an attempt to get the average Jamaican involved and interested in the product.

Coverage and Signal Quality

The claimed coverage area of LIME Mobile TV is Kingston and St Andrew and Greater St Catherine. Greater St. Catherine involves Portmore, Old Harbour and Spanish Town all the way to the outskirts of Linstead. In my ‘test drive’ run I tested the quality of the system in various situations as well as the coverage area an average person might encounter. My test handset was a LIME provided ZTE-G N290 that is equipped with a large 3.2 inch touchscreen and a high capacity 1500mAh battery- perfect for Mobile TV consumption. The following table gives an idea of how the service fared in various situation:

Key:

8-10 excellent

6-10 acceptable

4 & 5 watchable

1-3 laggy and unwatchable

Test

Resulting quality (1-10)

Area test was done

Walking

Sitting in a park

Sitting in a building

Riding in a bus(approx 20km/h)

Riding in a bus(Approx 50km/h)

Riding in a bus( near stationary)

Riding in a bus(30-50km/h)

8

9

8

7

5

7

4

Halfway Tree Road

Halfway Tree Park

Mothers Restaurant(HWT)

JUTC Bus(HWT to SPN TWN)

JUTC Bus(HWT to SPN TWN)

Mini Bus(SPN TWN to LNSTD)

Mini Bus(SPN TWN to LNSTD)

My test drive took me from one end of the support area in Halfway Tree to The outskirts of the Bog Walk Gorge where I finally lost coverage. Throughout most of the tests done the service worked admirably well and only degrades significantly in certain remote situations such as driving at high speeds in areas with spotty signal. Degradation at a set speed affects all mobile technologies, WIMAX for instance does not work above 120km/h and GPRS, EDGE and 3G all degrades significantly the faster you go(until they eventually stop working). Signal retention of Mobile TV is also affected by the size of the vehicle, the mini bus for instance tends to lose a lot of signal whenever something like a trailer or a truck blocks the window, reinforcing a form of Faraday Cage that is already in place with the metal skin of the vehicle. Overall however you should not experience much issue with LIME Mobile TV signal quality under normal circumstances.

Picture Quality and Content Available

Image quality varies between devices with different screen resolutions and different screen technologies. The device I had for testing was the low end ZTE-G N290 however I had the opportunity some weeks ago to get first hand experience of the service on a Nokia 5330 TV Edition, in any indoor comparison the ZTE-G N290 would have better overall performance and picture quality. Outdoors however the transflective screen of the Nokia 5330 TV Edition would have given it a visibility edge over the N290 which is very difficult to see in direct sunlight. The difference is due to the different screen resolutions with the N290 having a higher resolution screen when compared to the Nokia 5330 TV Edition(240 x 400 vs 320×240). This higher resolution density gives a very crisp and detailed ‘HD like’ quality to Mobile TV on the N290, this also demonstrates that the technology itself is scalable and will work even better on higher resolution phones such as the Nokia N97 mini.

There are currently 10 channels available: CNN, Starz!, Hype, Tempo, ABC, NBC, Fox Soccer Plus, CVM and Sportsmax.

Loading the list of available channels take anywhere from 30 seconds to 2 minutes depending on your signal strength, loading a channel from the list however is instantaenous.

Pricing

LIME Mobile TV is surprisingly affordable and is theoretically free when the talk time you receive after activating the plan is considered. At 250 dollars weekly you can get to tune in to the 10 channels available, with more coming online in the coming months, the service is free now as a part of a promotion however so you can tune in if you are in the coverage area and have one of the following phones in your possession:

Phone/Phone category

Low End:

ZTE-G N290

Mid Range:

Nokia 5330 TV Edition

Nokia N77*

High End:

Nokia N96*

Nokia N97/N97 mini**

Nokia N95**

* not officially supported, not guaranteed to work
** not officially supported, needs Nokia Bluetooth Adapter

Closing Notes

Mobile TV is a very innovative move by LIME, a move in the right direction it seems as the service has been gaining widespread publicity and interest from the public. Mobile TV can be said to be the most appealing LIME service offered since the company came about, it is not as much of a niche technology as people once thought, interest is growing, and it’s growing fast. If the company is able to grasp and sustain this renewed interest that the public is showing into them then they should be able to use it as a leverage to get back into the thoughts of the average Jamaican, not as a secondary phone company, but as a phone company they will bet their day to day life on.

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Horace is a military and tech enthusiast who spends most of his spare time listening to music or working on his many interests. He has a grasp of journalism and has been writing from he was 9 years old and has participated in several writing competitions throughout Jamaica.
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