image Almost every smartphone demo and commercial features the phone streaming some type of TV show or movie. It seems like a match made in heaven. If there’s anything consumers love more than innovative gadgets, it’s television. It may come as a surprise, then, that as of April 2012, just 20 percent of users reported watching TV on their smartphones, according to Comscore.com.

While it’s an impressive feature, streaming television on smartphones might not be an desirable feature, experts ponder. A new wave of larger phones with faster processors will give new life to the smartphone TV market, however. Users want their smartphones to do more than control their DVR, which is already available to major providers, according to www.direct.tv. As technology catches up to the idea, expect to see more users glued to smartphones to watch sports, shows and movies.

Bigger is Better

Samsung recently made a splash in the smartphone market with an update of its Galaxy series. While an overly theatrical presentation drew attention away from the new Galaxy S4, this much-anticipated device has some exciting features, including a 5-inch high-definition screen. As it drifts further in to phablet (phone/tablet) territory, the Galaxy becomes a more viable option for TV and video. According to the same Comscore.com survey, over half of users watched TV and video on their tablets. The takeaway for phone makers: If you want users to consider watching TV on your phones, bigger is better.

Samsung isn’t the only company boosting screen sizes. Apple’s iPhone 5 featured the first significant screen-size increase in the phone’s history, and many predict the next generation will be even larger. With this new era of larger, more efficient devices, expect users to warm to the idea of watching video on their phones.

TV Madness

Hardware isn’t the only ingredient needed to watch TV and video on smartphones. Software developers also have to commit resources toward building apps. CBS Sports unveiled the NCAA March Madness app to stream tournament games live. This may affect productivity as professionals look for a way to watch games at work. CBS Sports found a niche itching for mobile TV. According to Tmcnet.com, 68 percent of basketball fans say they are interested in watching sports on their mobile devices.

Netflix is another company committed to mobile viewing. Its entire library of streaming content is available through the Netflix app, providing subscribers with a wealth of TV shows and movies on the go. As more content providers commit to developing software, users will have options to watch the shows, movies and sports they want.

A Fading Gimmick?

While streaming live mobile content is an impressive technological feat, critics argue that mobile TV is just a flavor of the month. Even as phone screens get bigger, they are still far too small to watch any shows of significance, some say. Smartphones may never replace traditional televisions as the go-to viewing devices, but the mobile TV market is too young to be considered a failure. In a society always on-the-go, it only make sense that users would want to watch their favorite shows at any time. Expect mobile TV to be a significant niche in the coming years.

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