TECHNOLOGY: PHONES TO WATCH

The next time you can't find the remote, hunt for your cell phone instead. A Berkeley, Calif., start-up called Idetic is making TV reception on cell phones possible with its infant service, MobiTV (mobitv.com). For $9.99 a month, owners of 19 different Sprint phone models can watch 22 cable stations, including CNBC, C-Span, Fox Sports, the Discovery Channel and a few news and comedy channels tailored for mobile users. For another $10, a second Idetic service lets baseball addicts listen to audio of live major-league games over Sprint phones. The quality of the broadcasts is only fair--video is transmitted at around a quarter of the frame rate you get with real television. But that's probably adequate for news and sports junkies who need a constant fix. One pain: every four minutes, the phone asks if you are still watching, so it doesn't waste valuable bandwidth. But Idetic says it will soon lose that feature, and promises to announce more channels and deals with new phone carriers. Then your biggest problem will be figuring out how to watch "The Apprentice" and gab with friends at the same time.