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Virgin announces end to Lobster 700TV / Mobile TV venture

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#1
PaulOBrien

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Virgin Mobile TV RIP.
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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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#2
Shuflie

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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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#3
greenturtle

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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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#4
Kallisti

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

Edited by Kallisti, 26 July 2007 - 07:56 PM.

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#5
phil8715

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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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#6
Monolithix

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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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#7
PaulOBrien

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DAB will still work fine.

P

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#8
greenturtle

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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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#9
Shuflie

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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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#10
greenturtle

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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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#11
Pondrew

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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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#12
Alex (nedge2k)

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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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#13
greenturtle

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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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#14
Alex (nedge2k)

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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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#15
greenturtle

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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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#16
dt_matthews

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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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#17
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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, 29 July 2007 - 08:48 PM.

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#18
dt_matthews

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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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#19
stevem999

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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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#20
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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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