Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Qualcomm Developing DVB-H Chips

According to a report by Reuters, Qualcomm is developing mobile TV receiver chips which support the DVB-H standard, which directly competes with Qualcomm's own MediaFlo technology. Qualcomm's CEO Paul Jacobs said in a Reuters technology conference on Monday that "it would be in Qualcomm's interest to make chips for DVB-H ... because the success of this standard could boost the uptake of wireless TV in general".

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

3 Italy to Launch Commercial DVB-H Service

3 Italy announced that it plans to launch a commercial DVB-H service called La3 in Italy this June, coinciding with the launch of the FIFA World Cup, for which 3 has secured exclusive broadcast rights in Italy. The service will include 15 channels at launch, and will be expanded in the future to 40 channels. The service will initially be available the LG U900 and Samsung Stealth mobile handsets.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Nokia and Telefonica Publish Results of Spanish DVB-H Trial

The results of a DVB-H trial held in Barcelona and Madrid last September were published today by Nokia, Telef√≥nica M√≥viles and Abertis Telecom. The trial showed that 75% of users are willing to recommend the service to their friends, but only 55% of users are willing to pay for the service, up to 5 Euros per month. These are figures are quite disappointing, compared to the T-DMB trial by BT and Virgin which showed that most users were willing to pay up to £5 (7.3 Euros) a month for the service, and the DVB-H trial in Helsinki which showed users were willing to pay up to 10 Euros per month for the service.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

3GSM 2006 Mobile TV Update - Part 3

To round up our 3-part summary of mobile TV news at 3GSM, Strategy Analytics published a new market research report on the topic of mobile TV, predicting that revenues from TV phone sales will increase form $8B in 2006 to $30B in 2010. The report also forecasts that DVB-H will account for 19% of TV phones in 2006, rising to 40% of the total TV phone market in 2010.

Not only phones will be able to receive mobile TV broadcasts, but portable game consoles as well. In a press conference in Tokyo yesterday, Nintendo said they will offer a mobile TV receiver card for the Nintendo GameBoy DS. The receiver will be available in Japan only, and will support the mobile ISDB-T broadcasts which are scheduled to begin in April.

And back to the good old TV-over-cellular services: Alcatel announced that T-Mobile has selected its technology to provide interactive mobile TV services over EDGE and 3G in the UK, Germany and Austria. Alcatel will be responsible for aggregating the live TV content, producing the mobile-specific channels, and hosting the service platform for all three countries from its centre in Stuttgart, Germany.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

3GSM 2006 Mobile TV Update - Part 2

The stream of mobile TV announcements at 3GSM 2006 in Barcelona continues, with Nortel announcing its mobile TV solutions over HSDPA, MBMS and DVB-H networks. T-DMB keeps gaining momentum in Europe, with Samsung announcing that it is working with Bouygues Telecom, TF1 and VDL on a T-DMB trial in France that will start at the end of this month. Samsung is not betting on T-DMB alone: At 3GSM, Samsung is demonstrating 7 different Mobile TV handset models, supporting various combinations of T-DMB, S-DMB, DVB-H and MediaFlo. Samsung also surprised the mobile TV chip industry with an Announcement of its own DVB-H front-end solution, comprising of an RF CMOS tuner chip and a DVB-H Channel decoder which also support DVB-T.

While Samsung is a new player in DVB-H chips, DiBcom which is one of the more established players announced a joint reference design with NDS which implements Conditional Access for DVB-H receivers, complaint with the DVB CBMS standard. And still on the mobile TV chip front, Philips introduced the new version of their DVB-H receiver chip, which includes a tuner and a demodulator in a 7x7 mm package.

If we didn't have enough mobile TV standards already, Alcatel is proposing a combination of satellite-based and terrestrial-based DVB-H mobile TV broadcasting in the S-band, which is supposed to enable re-use of existing 3G base stations, and solve the frequency allocation problems of DVB-H in Europe. Interesting concept technically, but pulling together the whole value chain to support it (satellite operators, handset vendors, other network equipment vendors) will be quite difficult.

Stay tuned for more mobile TV news from 3GSM 2006...

3GSM 2006 Mobile TV Update - Part 1

Many sources have forecasted that mobile TV will be one of the hottest topics at 3GSM in Barcelona this year. And indeed, the show opened with some interesting news items. The first is a cooperation between Sony Ericsson and Nokia on DVB-H - the two companies announced that they cwill perform interoperability testing between Sony Ericsson's mobile handsets and Nokia's DVB-H network equipment.

The second item is the announcement by British Telecom, Virgin and Microsoft today regarding their plans to launch a commercial T-DMB service in the UK this year, following a successful trial. The big news is the addition of Microsoft to this party, since the company has so far been quite silent about its activities in the mobile broadcast TV market. The service was demonstrated at 3GSM on a mobile handset prototype designed by TTP and HTC. The design of the handset prototype, which runs Windows Mobile 5.0 and is powered by the NeoMagic MiMagic6+ multimedia processor, will also be licensed to other handset vendors.

I'll keep you updated on other Mobile TV news from 3GSM 2006 in Barcelona as it becomes available.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Mobile TV Chip Market Heating Up

There is definitely increased activity in the market for chips that support the various mobile TV standards, with Frontier Silicon announcing its Kino-2 chip which supports T-DMB and DAB, and Newport Media raising $25M from investors to develop a mobile TV receiver that will support T-DMB, DVB-H, ISDB-T and MediaFlo. This follows two other annoucements this week: DibCom's chairman disclosing that Cingular is evaluating products based on its chip for use in the US market, and Microtune announcing that it is starting to ship a DVB-H tuner. Also check out the CommsDesign article published today which discusses the conformance of the various DVB-H chips to the MBRAI specs, and if you read hebrew, there were an article published in The Marker last week about DVB-H chip vendor Siano Mobile Silicon, including an interview with their CEO Alon Ironi.

Expect a lot more to come next week during 3GSM in Barcelona - I will keep you posted...

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Interactive Mobile TV Doubles the Average Viewing Time

In a press release published by Ericsson yesterday, the company disclosed the results of a 9 week trial with NRK in Norway using interactive mobile TV over the cellular network. The trial showed that the average viewing time of interactive mobile TV users was 5 minutes per session, twice as much as regular mobile TV users. Interactivity in the trial included selecting the next music video to be shown, and chatting with a TV host and with other viewers.

Cingular Evaluating DVB-H

Cingular, the leading wireless carrier in the US, started to evaluate DVB-H products, which may be a sign that the company is contemplating launching a mobile TV service based on this standard in the future. In an interview published in the Red Herring yesterday, DiBCom Chairman Marco Landi said that Cingular is evaluating DiBCom's DVB-H chips in customer products, starting from PDAs and moving later to laptops and cellphones.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Samsung T-DMB Phone for Europe

Samsung has announced a T-DMB phone for Europe which will be launched in time for the FIFA world cup in Germany this June. The phone has an Electronic Program Guide (EPG), analog video output (TV out), and a built-in Personal Video Recorder (PVR) for recording mobile TV programs. The phone also features a 2 megapixel camera, MP3 player, Bluetooth and USB connectivity. According to an article published in the Korea Herald yesterday, Samsung will export its T-DMB phone to Germany from April of this year.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Mobile TV to reach 107 million subscribers by 2010

According to a new market research report published by Northern Sky Research , mobile TV is expected to grow significantly in the next few years, driven by the increased capacity of cellular networks, the decreasing price of video-enabled handsets, and the deployment of mobile broadcast networks. NSR predicts that by 2010, there will be 107 million subscribers to mobile TV worldwide using cellular, MBMS and mobile broadcast networks such as DVB-H, T-DMB and MediaFlo. The cellular networks will continue to dominate in the next few years, until the broadcast networks are fully deployed, and until reasonably priced handsets which support these networks become available.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

T-DMB Trial in India

Following the announcement regarding the launch of T-DMB services in China which was covered in a previous post, India now plans to hold a trial of T-DMB technology in Mumbai this month. The trial is conducted in collaboration with the Korean Information and Communication Ministry, which is pushing global adoption of T-DMB technology.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Commercial DVB-H Services for Finland

Sonera Mobile Networks, a subsidiary of TeliaSonera Finald, announced today that it has applied for a license to start commercial mobile TV services in the Helsinki area this year. The service will be based on DVB-H technology, and use TeliaSonera's cellular network as the back-channel for interactive services.