Nokia introduces visual radio

FM with pictures

Nokia Mobile Phones will showcase its Nokia 7700 Media Device during this weeks MIDEM music trade show in Cannes. It is Nokia's first dedicated media phone, a new type of device with a completely new look, and bursting with properties, Finish daily Helsingin Sanomat reports.

The Nokia 7700, already announced last year, is the first mobile phone that can receive digital TV transmissions, using the new DVB-H standard.

But Nokia's presence at MIDEM has to do with another service it hopes to introduce to the music industry, called Visual Radio.

With Visual Radio the listener will not just receive the FM sound signal, but also images and text on the LCD handset display screen. If a radio station is playing a number by Finnish band The Rasmus, then up on screen there might be an image of the band's singer Lauri Ylönen, and the name of the song or its current chart listing.

As part of a pilot network in the Greater Helsinki area researchers are currently examining how well video and audio can be streamed to mobile devices, such as Nokia's newest device. Full test transmissions with video are scheduled to start in the autumn. That venture is a collaboration between Nokia and the commercial TV broadcasters MTV3 and Nelonen, telecoms operators Radiolinja and TeliaSonera, and the Finnish Broadcasting Company.

Meanwhile, Kiss FM (part of SBS Broadcasting) has already started testing Visual Radio in Helsinki and its affiliate Radio City (classic rock) may soon follow. In the future, the radio transmissions would still be free, but listeners would have to pay for the visual content. ®

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