Sprint Power Vision
CNET Editors' Rating: 3.5 / 5
The good: Sprint's Power Vision offers live news and sports TV feeds; streaming radio; access to the Sprint Music Store; speedy Web browsing and game downloads; and inexpensive video bundles.
The bad: Video quality on Sprint's Power Vision is still jittery and murky; there are no episodic made-for-mobile series, and at present, music downloads are pricey.
The bottom line: Though the unreliable video quality won't replace your television by any means, Sprint's Power Vision offers a comprehensive, albeit expensive, selection of content.
Design, Features & Performance (out of 10)
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).
In addition to the videos, Sprint Power Vision includes many of the features in the old PCS Vision service, including Video and Picture Mail, text messaging, e-mail, Web browsing, downloadable games, ring tones, and screensavers, along with a new Java-powered On Demand application with constant news, weather, movie, and TV info. You can get up-to-the-minute news, sports, and stock market updates. Moreover, you can personalize the information by punching in your zip code. And since the phone has GPS capability, you can access movie and TV listings, weather reports, and maps for your current location. Finally, there's an online phone book and dictionary.
Video quality and performance
As with Verizon's V Cast service, the video from Sprint Power Vision is a small, jerky, and often murky affair. Keep in mind that quality will vary by make of phone, but at 15 frames per second (vs. 30fps for broadcast-quality video), pictures overall are visibly jittery compared to the smooth action on the TV in your living room. The video quality fares best when watching the talking heads on Fox News and CNN, with relatively smooth and clear images; switch to sports or action shots, however, and the frame rate and picture quality drop dramatically, with the image sometimes freezing completely. The good news is that it takes only about 15 seconds or so for the Power Vision media player to buffer and begin playing your videos.
Those in EV-DO coverage areas will appreciate the speedy music previews, which begin almost immediately, and downloads, which typically take less than a minute. Though lacking much bass response, music quality was decent on the Samsung MM-920 and MM-A900. The player won't replace your iPod, but it does the trick for short periods.
Thanks to the broadband speeds offered by Sprint's new 1xEV-DO service, we managed to fly through mobile Web pages and quickly download games and applications; for example, we downloaded the 280K Jamdat Doom RPG in less than 15 seconds. It was noticeably slow in some instances, however. For example, when using the on-demand GPS mapping application, it took up to 10 seconds to pan between map sections.
You can get your video clips and feeds à la carte through the $15-per-month Sprint Power Vision Access Pack (most feeds and clip categories cost between $4 and $7 a month)--a price that includes unlimited Web browsing and data access. If you're a sports or fashion aficionado, the $20 Power Vision Plus Packs adds free video clips from Fox Sports, the NFL Network, Fuel, Fuse, and Fashion TV. Finally, full-on video junkies can max out with the $25 Ultimate Pack, which includes all the streaming news and sports channels, as well as music, plus clips from NBC, the Discovery Channel, and the Weather Channel--a pretty good bargain, considering all the content you get.
Music services are priced separately, and trust us, they don't come cheap. Though you can get up to 20 radio channels for $6.95 per month, music downloads to your phone or your computer cost a sky-high $2.50 each. You can get a free preview for a few seconds, but since there's no way to buy in bulk, a CD's worth of songs will seriously impact your wallet. Verizon's music downloads are significantly cheaper, so we expect Sprint will drop its prices at some point.
Average User Rating: 3.5 / 5
User Rating Breakdown
5 Star: 3
4 Star: 2
3 Star: 0
2 Star: 0
1 Star: 0
1,000,000 TIMES BETTER THEN V-CAST!!!
Rating: 5 / 5
on March 26, 2006
4 out of 4 users found this review helpful
Pros: Live streaming videos, radio, and Sirius satellite radio. Power Visions content can be used off of the EV-DO network. Unlike Verizon's limited VCast services. 10 times more content then VCast.
Cons: To get the complete package it will run you $25 a month. Which is not a bad deal for what you get access to.
Summary: I have used Verizon's pathetic attempt at offering VCast content. Since Sprint has been offering live content on their 1x network for years now, you can use Power Visions content ANYWHERE on Sprint's network. With Verizon you can only use it in the places where they have EV-DO up and running. Also with Verizon, you are forced to use BREW. That means no third party web browser, e-mail clients, applications, games, ect. You are forced to use what Verizon lets you use.
Sprint on the other hand uses the Java, which is used world wide. So you can use any free application you can find.
Also with Verizon, they limit what music files you can play on your phone. This due to a copy-right deal they made with Microsoft.
Sprint on the other hand does not have this limitation.
On every single level Sprint's Power Visions is better then VCast. Sprint also allows you to use the $10 and $15 dollard Visions access with PDA phones. Verizon charges $40 dollars extra per month!!
Trust me, stay away from Verizon. If you want to have access to more content and applications, then go with Sprint.
Rating: 4.5 / 5
on April 24, 2007
1 out of 1 users found this review helpful
Pros: Live streams from Nfl Network, Mtv, Cnn, Comedy Central etc etc.
Cons: Need more local channels and some video's have an occasional hiccup. (distorted picture)
Summary: The sprint service has a myriad of programs ranging from sports to made for mobile programs. (Sprint power view and Bones mobisodes) The live streams are great, and the picture quality is good. The addition of MTV and Comedy Central makes Sprint TV a winner!!
Oh and did I mention the full track downloads are only 99 cent!!!
It does have mobisode Content in Fun Little Movies.
Rating: 5 / 5
on March 15, 2010
0 out of 0 users found this review helpful
Pros: Fun Little Movies does provide episodic, made-for-mobile series.
Cons: It's a little hard to find the episodic content hidden behind all of the longform prominent content.
Summary: I am kinda partial(b/c I work for Fun Little Movies), but FLM's content is entirely mobisodes, including the Emmy-winning "Unreal Housewives of Kansas City," the Mofilm Grand Prize-winnning "Turbo Dates," and award-nominated Mr. Wrong. You can see samples here: www.babelgum.com/mrwrong and www.babelgum.com/turbodates
Rating: 4 / 5
on December 17, 2008
0 out of 0 users found this review helpful
Pros: NICE EASY TO USE INTERFACE, LIVE TV!!, NFL NETWORK, 99C MUSIC DOWNLOADS, GOOD NUMBER OF CHANNELS, STREAMING VIDEO BETTER THEN EXPECTED IN REVA AREAS. GOOD PRICE UNLIMTED IN EVERYTHING PLANS.
Cons: MUSIC STORE COULD BE MORE POLISHED, NEED MORE MOVIES AND LESS SUBSCRIPTON CHANNELS.
Summary: THIS IS THE BEST SERIVE RIGHT NOW ON ANY CARRIER, BOTTOM LINE!! DONT NEED TO BE IN EVDO TO WATCH (ALLTHOU THE QUALITY IS BETTER) LIKE OTHER REVIEW SAID 1,000 TIMES BETTER THEN V-CAST
Best I've Seen
Rating: 4 / 5
on January 20, 2006
0 out of 0 users found this review helpful
Pros: Fast, To the Point, Easy to Use
Cons: Service is not available everywhere. Music too expensive.
Summary: My brother has the A900 and we are both very impressed. The Screen is huge for such a slim phone with pack features. We switched over from Verizon's service and can't complain. Can't say happier since we just got the service, but all looks good so far. I got the Sprint 6700 and I'm sad to report it does not come with "Vision" but Data Service since it's a PDA. I wish it had the Vision Service since it's easy to use and built for the small screen. On my PDA, I am still learning how to use it and I am looking for some PDA Friendly Website for better viewing experience. Back to Vision, I like the On Demand Feature the best which gives you info like movie times, weather and news. I like the fact that we also got 5 free songs, we’ve download the songs already, but I don’t think my brother will pay to get any more. Why when you can just upload your MP3s. I would pay the $2.50 per song if it was a must have and I wanted to show off, but I rather just transfer as well. I am happy with Vision.