Video and music
In some ways, Sprint's Power Vision bears a strong resemblance to Verizon Wireless's V Cast service; both feature short (2 to 5 minutes) downloadable video clips that give you bite-size nuggets of news, music, and entertainment. Sprint sets itself apart, however, in its live TV feeds from such sources as ABC News Now, Fox Sports, the NFL Network, the Fox News Channel, the Learning Channel, Fashion TV, Bloomberg, Discovery, and the Weather Channel. Click a network feed and you'll jump into its live programming--a nice service for news junkies, although you'll have to suffer through the same commercials that home viewers do. V Cast doesn't offer live video yet, but it just inked a deal with Qualcomm's MediaFlo mobile TV service, which is set to launch in late 2006.
Moving back to its downloadable clips, Sprint offers a varied selection of programming, such as sports clips from ESPN, Fox Sports, and SportsEdge; cartoons from Cartoon Network and Looney Tunes; news and weather from CNNtoGo, the Weather Channel, and GoTV; style and fashion updates from Diva and The Street; entertainment news and clips from E Entertainment, Access Hollywood, and Swimsuit Model TV; and mobile "shorts" from BlipTV (various comedy clips), mFlix ("underground" comedy, shorts, and cartoon clips), SmashTV (extreme sports), and Fun Little Movies (original comedy clips). There's even something called Adult Swim, which is billed as adult programming for the Cartoon Network. Also available through Sprint TV are movie previews and even more programming, including the Discovery Channel, CNET.com reviews, C-SPAN, the Learning Channel, and NBC Mobile, which boasts highlights from The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.
A surprising find was Mspot Movies, a novel but cumbersome service that offers full-length movies (mostly older and B-movies such as Oklahoma, Conan the Adventurer, Short Circuit, Night of the Living Dead, and One-Eyed Jacks) broken down into short downloadable sections running about five minutes each.
Would you rather listen to some tunes? Sirius and Mspot offer 20 channels each of music, and you can watch music videos over Rhapsody Radio, Music Choice, GoTV AltRock, and Pure Phat. What's more, Power Vision subscribers have access to Sprint's new Music Store, which features more than 250,000 songs for purchase and download over the air. The player interface is primitive, but it includes album art and is easy to understand. You can control the player through the navigation toggle or the player buttons that are featured on the front flap of all Sprit's 3G phones. Once the tracks are loaded on your phone, you can organize them into playlists, use the shuffle and repeat modes, or activate the airplane mode for listening to music with the phone functionality off.
Of course, there are a few catches. While you can buy songs for use on your PC at the same price, they're in WMA format and aren't playable on your phone. You can back up songs from your phone on a PC, but they aren't playable there. Alternatively, Verizon's V Cast Music offers dual downloading of tracks so that they'll play on your phone and your PC. On the upside, Sprint's Music Store can play nonprotected songs in the supported formats.
In all, it's an exhaustive offering. Yet what's missing from the mix (for the present, at least) are the slickly produced, much-vaunted mobisodes offered through V Cast, such as 24 Conspiracy (a mobile-only version of Fox TV's 24), Love and Hate, Sunset Hotel, and the upcoming Lost Video Diaries (based on ABC's Lost).