Saturday, January 06, 2007

Cellphone Video Gets On the Beam

Cellular carriers and other technology companies have come up with numerous ways to deliver video and even live TV to cellphones over wireless networks in recent years. So far, the results have been a limited success.

Samsung Electronics announced the development of a new mobile television standard that essentially enables portable devices to receive digital signals from local TV broadcasters. Developed by the South Korean company's Samsung Information Systems America subsidiary, the technology--dubbed Advanced-Vestigial Side-Band--does not rely on wireless network bandwidth, effectively freeing capacity for other data-heavy mobile content services.

According to The Wall Street Journal, the technology operates via existing television infrastructures, including spectrum and transmitting towers, enabling broadcasters to sidestep investments in separate network buildouts or carrier partnerships. The Samsung service does require broadcasters to transmit separate signals to mobile handsets and related devices outfitted with Samsung chipsets, but the company said that hurdle is already being addressed. Among the business models Samsung is reportedly exploring is an ad-supported free service as well as a more traditional premium service.

Samsung will demonstrate the standard for the first time at next week's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, employing content contributed by Sinclair Broadcasting Group. Sinclair, which operates 58 local stations across the U.S., is currently trialing Advanced-Vestigial Side-Band services in the Baltimore, Buffalo and Las Vegas markets.


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