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printed April 19, 2014
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MediaFLO

A type of live broadcast TV technology.

See: Live TV

Unlike on-demand streaming video, MediaFLO does not operate over the cellular data network. Instead, it uses a separate network and separate radio frequency bands. Therefore it also requires its own antenna and radio chip inside the phone to receive the special broadcast signal.

In the US, Qualcomm owned the MediaFLO network and the radio spectrum it used. It was shut down in 2010. They worked with major carriers to offer the service to consumers, using special phones that include the extra components required.

Because it was a one-way broadcast technology - like broadcast TV for the home - you could only tune in to what was being broadcast on each channel at that moment in time. It could not play clips for individual users on demand. This also meant it could handle an unlimited number of users simultaneously, regardless of geography, even if they were all watching the same thing.

Therefore it was best suited to live content such as breaking news and sports.

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