Until the iPhone came along last year, getting media on and off mobile phones was mostly a hit-and-miss affair that relied more on luck than commonsense.

The latest attempt to change that comes in the surprising shape of a set-top box from Japan's number two mobile carrier.

Tune in

KDDI's 'au BOX' hits the market in November for ¥315 (£1.60) a month, offering subscribers to its mobile phones the opportunity to fill their handsets with media via the TV set.

Instead of using a PC and some kind of iTunes-like software to move movies and music to phones, the au BOX enables the TV as a web browser and prepares anything downloaded from au's various media services for transfer to a phone.

Unified bill

The Linux-based machine also has a DVD drive and can rip films and music CDs into a phone-compatible format too. Once done, it's a simple matter of connecting box and handset via USB for a quick mobile media hit.

Making things as simple as possible for users, au then charges everything to the monthly mobile bill to form a single payment.