Sunday, January 22, 2006

Hopes raise for Mobile TV

Mobile TV -- an off-the-shelf-acronym for all TV services that are beamed to hand-held devices -- is gathering pace once more as the much-anticipated 'killer application' for 3G infrastructure. Within 10 days this month, three different announcements involving technological enhancements to 3G highlighted the strong interest in the European mobile TV market. Firstly, on 13 January, BT announced the successful completion of its 'BT Movio' pilot service with Virgin Mobile. On 18 January, O2 - recently acquired by Spain's Telefonica - announced that its six-month O2 Mobile TV trial in the Oxford region (U.K.) with cable giant NTL was a success. On the same day, mobile equipment vendor IPWireless launched its 'TDtv' services.

The recent trails of Mobile TV in UK and Europe raises hopes about Mobile TV to evolve to be used in daily life like we are using MMS etc. We may need to wait for some time to get full output from Mobile TV, but there is a cause of concern here. There might be some implications coming up as different technologies like DAB (Digital Audio Broadcasting), DVB-H (digital video broadcasting-handheld), MBMS (multimedia broadcast multicast service) are being used by different operators.

Deploying different technologies could have dire consequences for the market. For a start, consumers would need great persuasion to invest in handsets that would only work with one operator. Any attempt to pursue divergent standards would harm Europe's consistency in mobile communications, potentially drawing the ire of politicians. Judging by the level of vendor and operator interest, the likeliest near-term solution will be to unify under the ETSI-endorsed DVB-H standard. An early resolution would be a boost to mobile TV, given the enormous market for live TV coverage during the 2006 soccer World Cup.

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