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TI launches 'digital TV on a phone' scheme

DVB-H chip due late 2006 in time for broadcasts

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Texas Instruments yesterday pledged to allow mobile phones to pick up and show digital TV broadcasts, with the goal of putting the technology in consumers' hands by the end of 2006.

TI's goal is to extend its single-chip radio transceiver technology - already used in a Bluetooth part, and soon to appear in a GSM radio - to digital TV. All of them are designed to work with the company's ARM-based OMAP processor family.

Together they will allow handset vendors to embed a receiver capable of picking up and decoding European, North American and Japanese DTV broadcasts from terrestrial transmitters. The chip, codenamed 'Hollywood', will of 24-30fps playback, TI said, and cost under $10 when it enters volume production.

That's unlikely to happen before 2007. TI hopes to sample the chip late 2006, around the time European and Japanese companies begin broadcasting Digital Video Broadcasting Handheld (DVB-H) and Integrated Services Digital Broadcasting Terrestrial (ISDB-T), respectively. TI expects the US to follow Europe in the adoption of DVB-H.

DVB-H is a version of the existing DVB-T terrestrial digital TV standard but modified to suit mobile, battery-powered terminals better than the current system does. Rather than broadcasting continuously, DVB-H broacasts in bursts, allowing the receiver to power-down whenever possible, boosting battery life. TI said it ancitipates Hollywood-based handsets being able to watch TV for four hours at a time.

DVB-H trials are currently underway in Germany, Finland and the US. ®

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