Sunday, August 03, 2008
On Thursday, German press reported that the consortium that won a DVB-H license in Germany, and started transmitting on June 1st this year, is about to shut down its DVB-H service. The apparent reason is that the mobile operators in Germany, who failed to win the license, would not provide DVB-H handsets to support this service, and prefer instead to offer to their subscribers handsets that are capable of receiving free-to-air terrestrial Digital TV broadcasts using the existing DVB-T network. Vodafone Germany CEO warned back in May that DVB-T handsets were threatening the business model for DVB-H, and that Vodafone wouldn't offer DVB-H handsets with a TV subscription fee, since they would cause subscribers to pay less for other mobile services.
And on Friday, Mobile Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) in Japan said it would shut down its satellite mobile TV service, which has been in operation since Ocrober 2004. In this case, the Japanese free-to-air ISDB-T service (OneSeg) is blamed for the low popularity of the subscription-based satellite service. Over 20 million handsets supporting ISDB-T have shipped in Japan in the last two years.
Friday, June 13, 2008
The service is supported by the Nokia N77 handset, and will cost 9 Euros per month (viewing DVB-H channels will be free until the end of 2008). Mobilkom Austria is also offering its customers free viewing of 6 DVB-T channels (regular digital TV broadcast) on the LG-HB620 handset, and viewing the UMTS channels on a PC using the Huawei E510 HSPA modem.
Tuesday, June 03, 2008
Reuters reports that KPN, the Dutch telecoms group, is staring to offer a mobile broadcast TV service based on DVB-H technology this month. The service will cost 10 Euros per month, and will include 10 channels. Samsung and LG will supply the initial handsets to support the service, and a Nokia device will be added at a later stage.
CSA, the French media regulator, has awarded mobile TV licenses to 13 TV channels. The French Mobile Broadcast TV service, using DVB-H technology, is expected to start by the end of this year. It is interesting to note that only two of the channels, EuroSport and CanalPlus will charge a subscription fee for viewing, while all the other channels will be included in the basic, "free" mobile TV package (part of the mobile subscription fee).
Thursday, May 22, 2008
Sunday, May 04, 2008
Sunday, March 30, 2008
AT&T is the second provider of MediaFLO mobile TV in the USA, following Verizon who launched the Verizon Vcast mobile TV service one year ago. Verizon announced that it will also add two exclusive channels to its service, ESPN Radio and MTV Tr3s. However, Verizon has not released any subscriber numbers for its mobile broadcast TV service yet.
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
Monthly sales of T-DMB devices are in the range of 400-500K a month, meaning that by the end of March the number of T-DMB users alone will pass the 10 million mark. S-DMB growth is not reported in the article, but it seems that S-DMB has stalled in Korea since similar numbers were reported at the end of 2007.
Sunday, March 23, 2008
- Only Nokia and other vendors can make money from mobile TV today, because they can sell network equipment and phones.
- Operators can't profit from mobile broadcast TV since consumers won't be willing to pay enough to make up for content costs.
- The future of TV is on demand, so supporters of mobile broadcast TV are betting on a dying technology.
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
Thursday, February 14, 2008
S3 showed a similar add-on device by Nokia, which receives DVB-H and sends it to compatible mobile phones over Bluetooth. S3 is providing the DVB-H protocol stack for the Nokia N810 Internet tablet which supports the add-on accessory device.
Wednesday, February 06, 2008
This is Broadcom's first offering to the mobile TV chip market, which is already dominated by several players including DiBcom, Siano, TI, ADI, Qualcomm, Newport Media and others.
Sunday, January 27, 2008
It is interesting to compare these figures with the recent findings in a report titled "Mobile TV in Asia", published by the Cable & Satellite Broadcast Association of Asia, as reported in TelevisionPoint. According to the CSBAA report, the number of mobile TV subscribers in Asia will increase from 15 million in 2007 to 76.3 million in 2012, out of 156 million global subscribers. The most probable explanation for this difference is that the CSBAA report refers to Mobile Broadcast TV subscribers only, while the ABI Research report refers to total Mobile TV subscribers, including both cellular networks and mobile broadcast networks.
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
Tuesday, December 04, 2007
In terms of business models, the report predicts that free to air services, that currently drive customer growth in Asia, will not be popular elsewhere since the business model behind these services is not proven. Therefore, 90% of the revenues in 2011 will come from subscription-based services.
Thursday, November 29, 2007
One of the main obstacles for the service is regulation: The S-DMB service is not allowed to broadcast the main Korean terrestrial broadcast channels KBS, MBC, SBS and EBS. TU Media's request from the government to ease these regulatory restrictions has been unanswered, and their plea for additional funding from SKT, TU Media's largest shareholder, has also been declined. According to the Korea Times, there are reports that SKT may even withdraw from the S-DMB business in the near future.
Thursday, November 01, 2007
TSMB plans to start the commercial mobile TV service in spring 2008 in Hanover, and expand to the capitals of the 15 federal states by the end of 2008. According to the license terms, the broadcaster is expected to cover 90 per cent of the German population by 2015. Additional mobile TV broadcasting licenses will be awarded in Germany by the end of this year.
Sunday, October 28, 2007
Thursday, October 25, 2007
The Telecom Trends International report also sets a record for mobile TV revenues, predicting that by 2013 the global revenues from mobile TV will reach $134.5B. This figure is more than 10 times higher than any other mobile TV revenue figure published by market research firms in the past.
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
Sunday, September 30, 2007
Still on the optimistic side, Juniper Research is predicting that the number of users who receive mobile broadcast TV services will increase from 12M in 2007 to 120M by 2012, with service revenues expected to exceed $6.6B. And France is pushing forward with the introduction of Mobile TV services in the summer of 2008, just in time for the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.
The launch of DVB-H in France during 2008 follows the introduction of DVB-H in Italy during the 2006 Soccer World Cup, and in Finland during 2007. While the Italian service enjoyed a high adoption rate initially, the latest reports show that service uptake has flattened. And the service in Finland was stalled for several months due to the lack of compatible handsets and compelling content. The situation in Europe is quite inline with Gartner's recent survey, which found that only 5 percent of European subscribers are interested in watching video or TV on their phones.
Industry analysts have also shifted their positions in view of the market situation, demonstrated by the discontinuation of mobile TV services offered by Virgin and BT Movio in the UK, and by Modeo in the USA. The EE Times says that Mobile TV chip makers "struggles to hold on", as the market has proven successful only in countries that offer free-to-air broadcasts (Japan and Korea). Stephen Wellman from Information Week asks "When Will Anyone Actually Watch Mobile TV?", claiming that small screens and poor marketing have probably killed the service, although service providers in the USA don't reveal any numbers.
Mike Masnik at TechDirt writes about "The Ongoing Blind Belief In Mobile Broadcast TV", stating that mobile users don't have the time for watching broadcast TV programs, and would prefer short video clips on demand instead. He also says that people can broadcast their own TV from home, and watch it on their mobile device using a SlingBox and an unlimited data plan, meaning they don't have to pay mobile operators for such services. Indeed, the introduction of SlingPlayer Mobile for SymbinOS is likely to be a disruptive move in this direction. Russel Shaw at ZDNet takes the same position, claiming that "Mobile TV is So Overhyped".
So what's your take on the future of mobile TV, and in particular subscription-based Mobile Broadcast TV services? Please comment on this post to voice your opinion.
Sunday, July 29, 2007
In the US, Crown Castle decided to stop the DVB-H Mobile TV service of its Modeo subsidiary, and to spin-off the company by leasing the spectrum and the assets it owns to two venture capital firms. Crown Castle did not provide any reasons for this step, but it is probably related to Modeo's failure in getting any mobile operator on board its service, and the success of the rival MediaFLO service which has been adopted by Verizon and AT&T.
Sunday, June 24, 2007
Tuesday, June 19, 2007
MiTV and Nokia announced that they will launch a commercial DVB-H service in Malaysia in the second half of 2007. The infrastructure for the service will be integrated and maintained by Nokia-Siemens Networks, and the first handset to support the service will be the new Nokia N77.
Philippine Multi-media System, Inc. and UDCast announced that a commercial DVB-H service in the Philippines will also be launched this year, following a successful trial held in Manila. During the trial, PMSI is broadcasting 8 TV channels to Samsung DVB-H handsets, but the variety of both channels and devices is expected to increase at the time of the commercial service launch.
And in Hong Kong, cellular operator PCCW will conduct a technical trial of Qualcomm's MediaFLO technology which will run through November this year. Another MediaFLO trial is currently underway in Taiwan, run by China Network Systems and Taiwan Television Media.
Thursday, May 31, 2007
Monday, April 16, 2007
Friday, April 13, 2007
eMarketer is also forecasting that by 2011, an additional 120M users will pay for mobile video and TV services delivered over cellular networks, and that the total number of mobile video and TV users, including both paid and free services, will increase from 40M users in 2006 to 754M users in 2011.
In terms of revenues, eMarketer is forecasting a total revenue of $12.7B for mobile video and TV services, comprising of $5B from cellular video and TV services, and $7.7B from mobile broadcast TV subscription.
Thursday, April 12, 2007
The ATSC-M/H standard is actually the third standard being proposed for extending the existing ATSC broadcasts in the US market for mobile reception. The two other standards are A-VSB promoted by Samsung and Rohde & Schwarz, and MPH proposed by LG and Harris.
Thursday, March 29, 2007
Sunday, March 11, 2007
- Verizon launched its VCast Mobile TV service, based on Qualcomm's MediaFLO technology, in 20 US states. The service includes 8 TV channels, and costs $15 a month. Also see the analysis from infoSync.
- AT&T, the largest US wireless operator, has announced that it will also use Qualcomm's MediaFLO technology in the mobile TV service it plans to launch during the fourth quarter of this year.
- EchoStar has invested $40M in TU Media, the Korean company which runs the country's S-DMB service. This will make EchoStar the second largest shareholder in the company, after mobile operator SK Telecom.
- Modeo launched a "beta" version of the their DVB-H service in New York City. The service features 5 TV channels, and has some issues with picture quality and channel switching time - see the impressions by Gizmodo. According to the EE Times, The FCC gave Modeo permission to increase their power by a factor of 10 in urban areas and 20 in rural areas, which might help to solve some of these issues.
- O2 and Arqiva have launched a trial of DVB-H in Ireland, with 350 users and 13 TV channels. The trial will continue until August.
- Qualcomm, China Network Systems (CNS) and Taiwan Television Enterprises (TTE) will launch a trial of MediaFLO technology in Taiwan. The trial will feature 4 TV channels from CNS and 3 from TTE.
- Mobilkom Austria and Hutchinson 3G will launch a DVB-H trial in Austria during April. The trial will include 400 users, and will be funded by the Austria Regulation Authority RTR.
Thursday, February 15, 2007
On the handset side, the show's major announcement was probably the Nokia N77 DVB-H handset. As rumored just before the show, this is a mid-range handset, which is targeted at initial DVB-H deployments in Vietnam, Italy and Finland. I took a look at the video quality, and it was quite good at 15 frames per second. However, every minute or two there was an occasional error in the stream (picture freezes or breaks into blocks). The demonstrator at the N77 stand in the Nokia booth claimed that this was due to the "crowded network at the show", which seems highly unlikely since DVB-H is a broadcast network... The channel switching time was also quite long, at 4-6 seconds. The long switching time was also apparent in other DVB-H demos at the show, and I also noticed this issue in CES demos last month, which leads to the conclusion that this is probably an inherent issue with current DVB-H implementations. The Nokia representative told me that the handset will cost 370 Euros without subsidies, and has a 5 hour TV viewing time, and 7.5 days standby time.
Another DVB-H handset was demonstrated by Sagem. Sagem is not a top-tier mobile handset vendor, but their myMobileTV handset is very nicely designed, and features an innovative auto-rotate feature which rotates and expands the image based on the direction in which the device is being held, using an acceleration sensor. In this demo I also witnessed the long channel switching time, and the occasional frame error every 1-2 minutes. The Sagem demonstrator came up with another original excuse for this, claiming that it was due to a low battery on the device (although the device was connected to a power supply and charging...). Another interesting handset demonstrated at the show was the Samsung SGH-F510, a slim DVB-H phone which blends well with the company's "thin is in" design.
Qualcomm showed the MediaFLO handsets which will launch with Verizon's service at the end of this quarter, the Samsung SCH-U620 and the LG VX9400. Qualcomm also showed a prototype handset of its own design, which is used mainly for testing the service. Judging by the video quality, it seems that MediaFLO currently has the edge: Frame rate is about 20-25 frames per second, and channel switching time is 2 seconds. MediaFLO also had a larger variety of channels at the show: 20 TV channels vs. only 9 channels which were available on the SIDSA DVB-H demo network at the show.
Other vendors were showing unicast live TV over cellular networks, circuit-switched streaming (using 3G video telephony for content delivery), and TV interactivity solutions. Compared to last year's show, 3GSM 2007 demonstrated the maturity of mobile TV technology and the range of available handsets, driven by commercially deployed services. However, subscriber numbers for paid mobile broadcast TV services in Europe remain low, both for DVB-H and for DAB-IP, so the question of return on investment still remains.
Sunday, February 11, 2007
3 Italia is planning to offer a new phone, with a 4.3 inch screen, in hope of attracting more subscribers to its service. The company will also export its knowledge to other countries, starting with a 3-month trial of DVB-H with Malaysia's Maxis Communication.
Some of the other demonstrations at the show:
* According to sources quoted by Reuters, Nokia is planning to reveal a mid-range N-Series mobile phone called N77, capable of receiving DVB-H broadcasts. The phone is supposed to be in the 200-300 Euro range, as opposed to Nokia's N-92 DVB-H handset which currently costs over 600 Euros.
* Chinese handset vendor ZTE will demonstrate its own "N-Series" DVB-H mobile phone, the N7100, which is based on Siano's SMS1000 mobile TV receiver chipset. The N7100 handset, which features HSDPA high-speed cellular connectivity, will be distributed in Italy by Telecom Italia Mobile in the next few weeks.
* Mobile TV chip vendor Frontier Silicon and mobile TV software vendor S3 will demonstrate a multi-mode reference design for mobile TV based on Frontier Silicon's FS1030 "Paradiso" moible TV receiver which supports DVB-H, DVB-T, T-DMB and DAB-IP; and on S3's "onHandTV" multi-standard mobile TV client software.
* NEC and Telegent systems will demonstrate a high-definition, low-power mobile TV platform running on NEC's application processor, which allows up to four and a half hours of viewing time.
* TI, Orange and Viaccess will demonsrate content and access protection for mobile TV services, utlizing TI’s M-Shield security framework, which is integrated into the OMAP application processor platform.
* NXP software (formerly Philips Software) will demonstrate a full mobile TV software solution running on TI's OMAPV1030 baseband application processor.
* Ericsson will demonstrate mobile TV using MBMS (Multimedia Broadcast Multicast Service), following a successful MBMS trial conducted in 2006. Ericsson plans commercial rollout of MBMS services in 2008.
I'm off to Barcelona tonight, and will do my best to continue and provide mobile TV coverage from the show itself.