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First picture messaging, then mobile phone camcorders, next, broadcast digital TV? Not quite, but a new transmission specification, DVB-X, is intended to combine Digital Video Broadcast (DVB) and 3G mobile telephony, providing a mechanism for broadcast distribution of music, video and general multimedia content. The spec was announced earlier this month at the DVB 2003 conference in Dublin, reports EETimes, and according Nokia director for concepts and technology (sounds a seriously trekkie job to us) Goeran Wahlberg will become a mandatory spec for handheld devices in the future."

Digital broadcast both audio and video, has major attractions for 2.5 and 3G handheld devices because it in theory allows bandwidth to be used much more efficiently. Yes, if you're practically on top of a 3G base station and there's nobody else wanting the bandwidth at the time you can most probably get decent quality video, but if it's video that a lot of other people are going to be wanting as well, then broadcast is far more logical. Nor, if it's just a case of providing a return pipe, does the handset need to be 3G - you really just need video-capable hardware.

According to EETimes an ad hoc DVB-X technical group is seeking technology for the spec by the end of this month, and envisages the first hardware being available in the 2006 timeframe. This probably (touch wood) means it will be coming into service as 3G networks are maturing. Licking power consumption problems and getting the hardware into an affordable handset could however turn out to be tricky. ®

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