Live TV: Moving Pictures

VoicenData Bureau
New Update

Television is one of the most popular means of entertainment. It's no

surprise then that the ability to provide TV on mobiles is being called a

potential gold mine for service providers. Analysts including Frost &

Sullivan and IDC predict that the mobile video market will exceed $1.5 bn by



There are a number of technological alternatives to provide mobile TV

services. These include digital video broadcast-handheld (DVB-H), digital

multimedia broadcasting (DMB), TDtv based on TD-CDMA technology from Qualcomm

and MediaFLO. These technologies are still evolving and face issues like lack of

appropriate business model, availability of spectral frequencies, signal

strength, new infrastructure and network capacity.

Since early 2006, operators have initiated a number of trials to test these


Issues like content security

and storage, device functionality, battery life, and screen watchability

need to be dealt with before TV can go live on the mobiles


DVB-H is a technical specification to bring broadcast services to handheld

receivers. It adapts the DVB-T (digital video broadcast-terrestrial) system for

the handheld, battery-powered receivers. It can offer a high data rate

downstream channel which can be used standalone or as an enhancement of mobile

telecoms networks. The time slicing technology can reduce power consumption for

small handheld terminals.

The next generation of DVB-H is DVB-H+. It is a hybrid architecture which

uses S band. Although S-DMB uses a similar technology in satellite radios,

DVB-H+ is expected to be more promising as it combines geostationary

satellite with a terrestrial repeater.

Alcatel expects to deliver DVB-H+ terrestrial repeaters in 2007 and a DVB-H+

satellite-which  will cover

Europe-in 2008.


In January 2006, Modeo announced that it would begin rolling out DVB-H

services in the US this year. Meanwhile, Italia and Telecom Italia Mobile have

launched these services in Italy. In the UK, the network operator, Arqiva,

carried out a successful DVB-H trial in Oxford with 16 linear TV services

including BBC.

In India, Doordarshan will launch its DVB-H service in the latter part of

2006. It will be able to show all the four national channels on mobile using

this technology. Doordarshan had also launched DD News in moving vehicles in

Delhi through the digital video broadcasting to terrestrials (DVB-T).


Digital Multimedia Broadcasting (DMB) is another option to provide mobile TV

services. It has two forms: S-DMB which operates via satellite and T-DMB which

stands for terrestrial transmission.


South Korea started S-DMB and T-DMB service in May 1 and December 1, 2005,

respectively. As of April 2006, T-DMB service in South Korea consists of seven

TV, 13 radio and eight data channels, while S-DMB service includes seven TV and

20 radio channels. Germany has already launched a T-DMB commercial service for

the World Cup 2006. France is running a trial in Paris. Switzerland and Italy

are prepaparing a trial for 2006. UK and China plan to launch commercial

services in mid 2006.

Meanwhile, India has benefited from bilateral relations with Korea. The

Korean broadcasting commission (KBC) presented the DMB technology in India in

February this year. The Korean minstry of information and communication has tied

up with TRAI, Tata group and Bharti Aietel to hold T-DMB trials in India.


MediaFLO is another such technological option developed by Qualcomm to

broadcast data to portable devices such as cellphones and PDAs. The FLO stands

for Forward Link Only allowing data transmission in only one direction, from the

tower to the device.


LG and Samsung introduced MediaFLO-compatible devices in 2006. In December

2005, Verizon Wireless and Qualcomm together had announced to launch the

MediaFLO network. Verizon Wireless expects to deploy MediaFLO in half of its

1xEV-DO markets in the US in 2006.

It is evident that the industry is upbeat about mobile TV services. There are

issues such as content security and storage, device functionality, battery life,

and screen watchability. Once they are dealt with, mobile TV is sure to emerge

as one of the most popular services of the future.

Sonia Sharma