October 26, 2004 6:56 PM PDT

ESPN testing video for handhelds

SANTA CLARA, Calif.--ESPN is testing new video services for wireless devices, taking a page from the playbook of its popular Web download service, a company executive said Tuesday.

John Zehr, ESPN Mobile's vice president of product development, said the sports news site is experimenting with several wireless providers to preload video onto handhelds--rather than streaming the entertainment--much as it already does with ESPN Motion, an application that preloads sports highlights onto millions of PCs daily. That way, wireless users can watch video automatically and in higher quality on the handheld, he said. (Streaming media can suffer delays from bandwidth limitations or network problems.)

With downloads, "we control the quality of our sports content," said Zehr during a panel on mobile rich media at the Streaming Media West conference.

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