AT&T Inc. offers two phone models that can receive the broadcasts through a FLO TV service branded as "AT&T Mobile TV," while Verizon Wireless sells another two for "V Cast Mobile TV." Qualcomm also sells a portable TV set for $200, while Audiovox Corp. sells an in-car entertainment system that can receive FLO TV.
Mobile TV hasn't been a big draw for phone shoppers so far.
Qualcomm said Tuesday that it aims to change that in the second half of this year by giving buyers more flexibility.
The video-recording feature will let them watch shows when they like. The company will also let viewers buy service by the day, rather than committing to subscriptions that cost $10 to $15 per month for a package of a dozen channels.
Qualcomm will also add interactive features to its viewing software, to let viewers click for more information about a show or click to buy an advertised product.
Qualcomm said the new features will become available on current FLO TV devices through software upgrades.
The new features don't address FLO TV's main problem: that it's accessible on only a few devices. But Qualcomm has demonstrated a device that takes the FLO TV signal and rebroadcasts it over Wi-Fi, which would make it accessible to smart phones such as the iPhone. It hasn't said when that device would be available.
There's competition on the way for FLO TV. TV stations have been testing their own broadcasts designed to be picked up by mobile devices. Consumers are supposed to be able to tune in the broadcasts starting in the Washington, D.C., area in May.