Overland Park Sprint Corp. began broadcasting live television on its wireless telephone network Tuesday, making the same Fox News Channel that's on cable and satellite -- Bill O'Reilly, Sean Hannity and commercials included -- available to Sprint PCS customers.
The broadcast of 15 frames per second is the first time a cell phone has been able to display video of a quality similar to that of a regular television, said Roger Entner, a research analyst and vice president of Ovum, a technology research firm. A regular TV broadcast displays 30 frames each second.
"It's amazing what new phones can do," Entner said. "It's really mind-blowing."
Both Sprint and Verizon Wireless already offer broadcast video clips on their phones. The "Sprint TV" service includes clips from more than two dozen networks, including NBC News and the Discovery Channel.
To watch the live stream of Fox News on a Sprint phone, consumers must have one of four handsets, which start at about $200, and pay the Sprint TV service fee of $9.99 a month. The service is aimed at anyone who wants full-time access to the latest news, said Dale Knopp, manager of multimedia services for Sprint.
"It gives that instant glimpse of exactly what's going on in the world now," said Knopp, who added that he used a demo version of the service to keep track of the health of Pope John Paul II, who died April 2.
Sprint plans to start offering other live channels in addition to Fox, especially as its next-generation high-speed wireless network comes online later this year. Sprint chose to start with Fox News because it has the largest audience of any cable news network, Knopp said.
"As we add services, we reach out to the best and biggest," Knopp said.