Earlier this summer we told you about Bitbop, a mobile TV subscription service that launched exclusively on BlackBerry devices. At that time, it seemed intriguing that BlackBerry phones would be the target market for mobile TV viewing, especially when other mobile platforms now offer Netflix and Hulu. The FOX-owned company may have taken a significant step forward today as it has announced the service is now available on Android devices.
For $9.99 a month, BlackBerry and now Android users can subscribe to watch full television episodes shows on their mobile devices. Despite providing commercial-free viewing, Bitbop faces some challenges from popular competitors that could be significant obstacles.
Bitbop features wide palette of popular television networks, but many shows available on other services like Hulu are missing at the moment. Hulu features dozens of shows from three of the "big four" cable networks, while Bitbop has just a few handfuls.
For the same price, users can subscribe to Hulu Plus and view the service's large catalogue of shows on their phones, iPads, computers and televisions. Bitbop so far is only available on Android and RIM devices, and with its limited catalog the $9.99 price tag might be too much for some users.
Jose Zavala, director of communications for FOX Mobile Group, told ReadWriteWeb that Bitbop has developed its very own video codec that helps with streaming to mobile devices at various connection speeds. The company intends to continue expanding beyond BlackBerry and Android phones, including forthcoming Android tablets and (the company hopes) Apple iOS devices.
Internet enabled TVs and new devices (Apple TV, Google TV, Boxee Box, etc) and services are quickly changing the way we enjoy television and movies across various platforms. Bitbop, however, which seems dedicated to solely providing mobile TV viewing, might be tying its hands by not attempting to expand beyond handheld devices. For now, the app could be a solid mobile TV solution for Android users, but a Hulu app for Android is expected by the end of the year.