Cingular Demos Live Cellphone Video Streaming

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Las Vegas - Cellular carrier Cingular Wireless is demonstrating live phone-to-phone video streaming here at International CES at the booth of parent AT&T.

The service will be the country’s first live phone-to-phone video-streaming service when it goes commercial before the summer with multiple compatible phones. The service will be available in the carrier’s 160+ W-CDMA high-speed downlink packet access (HSDPA) markets, 70 of which are in the top 100 metro areas, but it wasn’t certain how many markets would be live before the summer. A spokesman said that at least a substantial number of markets would be live by summer.

The planned service enables one-way live video streaming during a two-way voice call between compatible phones that must be operating in one of Cingular’s HSDPA markets. Frame rates could go to 15 fps but will probably be more like 13 fps on average, he said. The service will be an extra-charge service, but pricing hasn’t been determined.

Cingular’s next step is to enable cellphone-to-PC video streaming late this year or early next, he added.

The service is being demoed here with LG’s CU500 HSDPA phone with embedded video-streaming client and 1.3-megapixel camera, but compatible phones from more than one vendor will be available at launch, the spokesman said. The CU500 features a swiveling video camera that can be aimed at the person holding the phone or at an event that the caller wants to stream. Users can also stream video stored on their phone.

To initiate a live stream, a user makes a voice call, and the person receiving the call is promoted to start a video session.

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