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Virgin announces end to Lobster 700TV / Mobile TV venture

27 posts in this topic

Posted

Virgin Mobile TV RIP.

lobster-tophalf.jpg

When we reviewed the Virgin Mobile Lobster 700TV TV equipped handset, we commented on the rather bland design and awful keypad. It seems the market in general agreed with our negative findings... according to this article over at the Register, Virgin Mobile shifted only 10,000 units - a disastrous tally by any measure - and is now set to pull the plug on the TV service the handset was supposed to showcase.

From the Register:

Timescales for shutting down the Virgin service are still under discussion, but they admit that sales have been "slower than originally expected", which they attribute to a lack of big-brand devices and lacklustre interest from operators.

...

Virgin said its service will run until the end of January 2008, though BT's contract on the frequency lasts until 9 June. Virgin refused to comment on the reason for the cancellation, though a lack of subscribers seems likely.

Are you a Lobster user? How do you feel about the announcement?

From my perspective the device was flawed (I mean, you couldn't even watch TV in landscape) but the concept had potential given a wider range of devices more suited to the purpose! What now for mobile TV? Regular video streaming over 3G? DVB in handsets? Only time will tell, but I suspect we won't be seeing Virgin Mobile TV offerings for a while!

P

PS I notice that the Lobster 700TV is no longer on Virgin Mobile's site... I wonder if they managed to shift all the handsets they had lined up?

PPS Thanks to member 'jchamier' for the TIPoff :)

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Posted

Most people could probably have seen this coming given the heavy price cutting for the 700TV and lack of any other devices that support the standard. From my point of view as a 700TV owner I really couldn't care less about it, might have been a different story if they actually broadcast the TV signals in Northern Ireland though. I didn't buy the 700 TV to watch telly, I bought it as a really cheap windows mobile handset with the bonus feature of having a DAB Radio built into it. It was more of a toy to keep me going until the end of my 18 month tmobile contract, by the time that's up I should be able to get the Kaiser.

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Posted

Ha ha! I find that rather amusing also although I do actually use the TV on my Lobster so thats a little annoying but I hadn't really decided weather or not I was going to pay for the subscription, but its still a great little phone to have despite all the negatives people have pointed out.

I never really found fault in the keypad actually, I thought it was quite easy to text with as well.

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Posted (edited)

I just bought it for the DAB radio and as a spare sat-nav - I assume that'll work :)

Edited by Kallisti
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Posted

I'm gutted, I only bought one last week. Got be honest the tv on the Lobster is pretty crap, but the dab is fantastic.

2 reasons for the tv being crap is:

1. the aerial is in the headphones

2. the content is rubbish, ie the local news is always aimed at BBC London, which is good is you live in London, but i live 200 miles away, and BBC Northwest is my local BBC region.

The Dab is fantastic because I have a standalone DAB radio and it cant get half the stations that the Lobster can pick up.

I just hope they keep the DAB radio.

But aside of the tv problems, I paid £40 for a Windows Smart phone, fanstastic value for money.

Phil Graham

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Posted

I saw some random mum with one in Tescos last week :)

The sad thing is that various levels of designers, directors, marketing bods and so forth at both HTC and Virgin *all* looked at this handset and thought, "Yes, this is a handset people will look at and think 'i will part with my money for this desireable phone'".

Its got great features, but is a fugly design, to be honest, this news doesn't surprise me :P

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Posted

DAB will still work fine.

P

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Posted

DAB will still work fine.

P

Is it real DAB though? Because I tuned my DAB Hifi into a station and then my Lobster and the Lobster was behind making me wonder is it actually true DAB?

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Posted

Is it real DAB though? Because I tuned my DAB Hifi into a station and then my Lobster and the Lobster was behind making me wonder is it actually true DAB?

DAB is a digital signal, you listen in analogue not digital, this means that your lobster has to do a digital to analogue conversion before you get to hear the broadcast. Your DAB HiFi also has to pass the signal through a digital to analogue conversion, the difference being that your HiFi probably uses a dedicated digital to analogue conversion chip while the poor little lobster's 200MHz CPU has to perform at least part of the conversion while performing other tasks in the background, leading to a slight delay in the process.

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Posted

DAB is a digital signal, you listen in analogue not digital, this means that your lobster has to do a digital to analogue conversion before you get to hear the broadcast. Your DAB HiFi also has to pass the signal through a digital to analogue conversion, the difference being that your HiFi probably uses a dedicated digital to analogue conversion chip while the poor little lobster's 200MHz CPU has to perform at least part of the conversion while performing other tasks in the background, leading to a slight delay in the process.

Ah gotcha :) thanks for clearing that up, I wonder if anyone will try another TV/DAB phone in the future?

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Posted

I had the lobster 700tv for about three weeks. Loved the DAB radio like others and actually quite liked the tv (signal was good on the bus to work!).

Still, predictable enough news. It obviously didn't sell well based on the savage price cutting and I understand the EU recently decided to endorse a different format for mobile tv...

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Posted

Got one of these for my mum purely for the TV and Radio...although I don't think she ever got the TV working correctly :) Can't say I didn't see this coming, they had the right idea, they tried to market it well but the phone was just too fugly to be popular. It's a real shame as Virgin did what O, O2, T-Mob etc. have never done very well and that's advertise about these devices! They always seem to miss the "important" features of these devices for the average joe too, like SMS memory that isn't limited to like 50 msgs or the fact that unlike some of the more popular devices, wm device haves no limits on file size. All these little things we take for granted with WM, most people with normal devices are still suffering with those limitations and yet the carriers never think to tell people about how much better their mobile experience could be if they switched to WM!

:P

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Posted

Got one of these for my mum purely for the TV and Radio...although I don't think she ever got the TV working correctly Can't say I didn't see this coming, they had the right idea, they tried to market it well but the phone was just too fugly to be popular. It's a real shame as Virgin did what O, O2, T-Mob etc. have never done very well and that's advertise about these devices! They always seem to miss the "important" features of these devices for the average joe too, like SMS memory that isn't limited to like 50 msgs or the fact that unlike some of the more popular devices, wm device haves no limits on file size. All these little things we take for granted with WM, most people with normal devices are still suffering with those limitations and yet the carriers never think to tell people about how much better their mobile experience could be if they switched to WM!

It's too true, take "mobile internet on the N95" wow thats new to alot of people because Nokia advertised it well! We've had that since Windows Mobile 2002!

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Posted

exactly, same with custom backgrounds, homescreens, themes, ring tones, alert tones, video playback...we've had all those for nearly 5 years and most phones today still can't compete.

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Posted

And not forgetting the ever so clever "Music Phones" Wowee! yet again we have had Windows Media Player since Windows Mobile 2002, and can you not play WMA's yet either?

How incredibly incredibly advanced that phone must be.

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Posted

i think its a shame but i guess with the ratification by the EU commission of DVB-H and really poor sales the writing was on the wall. tbh, i never use the tv functionality on mine, the radio however is excellent. i wonder (and hope!) a replacement app for just the dab radio gets home-brewed (i.e. dropping the UI of the redundant TV stuff)...

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Posted (edited)

Before I bought my Virgin Lobster 700tv I was going to get a Nokia N95. But to be honest given all the software problems that the N95 is having since its realease,I think i'd rather not bother and keep my Virgin Lobster 700TV

The only problem with it is Being on Virgin Mobile PAYG you get hammered for data charges, and Virgin dont really have any data pack addons and its not a 3g handset, I have an unlimited data package on 3. I suppose i could get it unlocked and put in my Vodafone contract sim in and buy a data bundle.

I really like the Lobster and a lot of negative comments have been made about its build quality, i've had no problems with the build quality myself, but then I dont throw it around like a football.

The Price tag on the Nokia N95 in the UK is a utter ripoff, given that its had more problems than you can shake a stick at, I'll think i'll wait till it comes down in price and the software problems ironed out. At the moment its been sold for £500-550 simfree, why would people pay for a phone that doesnt work properly?

Windows 5.0 is fantastic and easy to operate, having had windows smartphones before I still think its better than the Symbian operating system, I also have an Nokia N73 and my Mrs has an E65 and we said the Windows operating system ia better than symbian.

Edited by phil8715
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Posted

for the money they have been selling for recently, this is such a bargain for wm5 and DAB regardless of the outgoing tv capability, as long as you can live with the size and what some regards as fugly design...

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Posted

PS I notice that the Lobster 700TV is no longer on Virgin Mobile's site... I wonder if they managed to shift all the handsets they had lined up?

I guess they unloaded them to bid.tv, the auction TV channel. They were being flogged on there last night for more than Virgin were selling them, and still as Mobile TV devices. No mention of the end of the service or disclaimer or anything!

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Posted

I guess they unloaded them to bid.tv, the auction TV channel. They were being flogged on there last night for more than Virgin were selling them, and still as Mobile TV devices. No mention of the end of the service or disclaimer or anything!

Haha thats hysterical! :) Their going to have some really happy customers. So when you say more than virgin do you mean more than with the discount code you enter or even more than without the code :P

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Posted

Yeah it's a shame but as has been said not totally unexpected. I've had my Lobster for 7 months but I rarely make use of the TV, as there's bugger all of interest on when I have thought to have a look and I can only really get a continuous signal when sitting still in my flat. But the DAB is great and keeps reception well even when whizzing around on the bus. I only bought it cos it was a cheap WM5 phone after the saga I had trying and failing to buy an SP5, but it has served me well even if it is more minger than supermodel!

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Posted (edited)

I understand there are plans to change the audio codec used on DAB from MP2 to AAC+ which might render the dab function obolete too! I imagine the timescale is probably a way off but stations might start to migrate from MP2 to AAC+ leaving fewer and fewer MP2 stations as time goes on.

http://www.digitalradiotech.co.uk/articles...-years-time.php

Edited by slimgym
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Posted

Haha thats hysterical! :) Their going to have some really happy customers. So when you say more than virgin do you mean more than with the discount code you enter or even more than without the code :P

Currently £157!

http://www.bid.tv/ProductDescriptionPage.a...Type=Categories

At least £100 too much!

M.S

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Posted (edited)

Down to £150 with only two of them left to go, get one while you can :) Glad I bought mine from V a few months back for £40.

Just had a closer look at some of the auctions on the bid.tv website and I can't believe that there are idiots out there that will actually pay the sort of prices that they do for this stuff. e.g. a pay as you talk Motorazr V3 is £50 from the vodafone website, on bid.tv there is one left to go and the price is nearly £78 + 7.99 p&p. I know that the prices are meant to be dropping but do they ever manage to dip below the price you could pay by walking into a vodafone shop and picking one up right away?

Edited by Shuflie
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Posted

I think HTC should look into doing some cheap little handsets like the S310 to compete with the likes of the Moto L7 etc.

Windows Mobile is a clear plus. My mum hates using a computer, but found Windows Mobile really easy to use for texting, reading her emails on the go and listening to MP3's through WMP.

I hope there will be more £50 Windows Mobile PAYG handsets soon!

My brother got a Lobster 700 TV one as a birthday present a few weeks back and he loves that he has an easy to use phone. His mates say it is ugly, but like the fact it has DAB radio and the mobile TV was a neat feature.

I think Windows Mobile manufacturers need to innovate. HTC has some cracking form factors, but they just don't have the sexyness of a Sony Ericsson. Moto just build poorly built handset anyway, whether Win Mo or not, Samsung actually has done well with the i300, i320 and i600, but they never are seen around in the shops.

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