RIM BlackBerry Bold Tip: Fix AT&T Cellular Video Glitches
By Al Sacco
Managing Editor, CIO
UPDATE: It has been brought to my attention that this trick will only work with unlocked, non-AT&T BlackBerry Bold 9000 devices–like the one I’m currently using. Folks who bought their Bolds directly through AT&T are out of luck. My apologies if I got anyone’s hopes up. However, this trick will work for non-AT&T devices. Thanks for pointing this out Bla1ze aka Videos4BB!)
Since the first time I fired up the AT&T Cellular Video application on my BlackBerry Bold 9000, I’ve experienced maddening variation in streaming video quality due to the device’s tendency to switch back and forth between 3G and 2.5G EDGE while Cellular Video is in use—even with full 3G network coverage. The service usually works great over 3G, but it’s a choppy nightmare over the slower EDGE cellular connection. Luckily, I found a quick workaround that helps ensure my Cellular Video experience is as smooth as possible. Check it out.
I’m unsure of how widespread this issue currently is, but since it happens consistently for me, I’m fairly sure some of you folks are having the same trouble. It’s worth mentioning that I’m constantly installing and running new, beta BlackBerry OS code on my Bold—right now it’s Bold OS v188.8.131.52; 184.108.40.206 is waiting patiently on my PC–and I’m aware that this pre-release software could be part of my problem. However, I had the same issue while running the current “official” AT&T Bold OS, v220.127.116.11, and with every other Bold OS I’ve installed since.
Open your BlackBerry Options menu by clicking the icon on your home screen—or wherever else you’ve placed your Options.
Scroll down to Mobile Network and click your trackball to select it.
Navigate to the Network Mode option and again, click to select it.
With the Network Mode option selected, you’ll see a drop-down menu with options for 3G, 2G, and 3G & 2G. Pick the option with only 3G. (This tells your handheld not to use 2.5G, EDGE radio frequencies.)
Finally, click your BlackBerry Escape key—located to the left of the trackball—a couple of times to return to your home screen. Your Bold will terminate its current network connection, even if you’re already on 3G, and then reconnect with the new settings in effect.
Voila! No more inadvertent switching between 3G and EDGE during episodes of Lost.
However, restricting your Bold to only 3G also means that your device won’t work in areas without 3G coverage. (See AT&T’s 3G coverage map.) So remember to repeat this process and switch back to the 3G & 2G Mobile Network option when you’re done watching video, especially if you frequently travel outside AT&T’s 3G coverage area.
(Note: AT&T’s Cellular Video service is available only on select 3G, AT&T devices. In fact, the Bold’s currently the only AT&T BlackBerry that supports Cellular Video, as it is the carrier’s only 3G smartphone from RIM. More information on the service can be found on AT&T’s website.)
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Al Sacco was a journalist, blogger and editor who covers the fast-paced mobile beat for CIO.com and IDG Enterprise, with a focus on wearable tech, smartphones and tablet PCs. Al managed CIO.com writers and contributors, covered news, and shared insightful expert analysis of key industry happenings. He also wrote a wide variety of tutorials and how-tos to help readers get the most out of their gadgets, and regularly offered up recommendations on software for a number of mobile platforms. Al resides in Boston and is a passionate reader, traveler, beer lover, film buff and Red Sox fan.