Sunday, August 03, 2008

Bad Week for Mobile Broadcast TV

Some dark shadows on the future of dedicated Mobile Broadcast TV networks have been cast last week (thanks to Dick Pache for sending in the info).

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.