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A mobile TV trial has kicked off in Oxford to test whether there's a market for TV on the move. The experts reckon that in Europe at least, the evidence suggests that beaming TV to mobile devices can be a mass market service.

Despite the optimism, the Oxford trial will assess the technical practicalities of the service, how well it's received by punters and whether they'll be prepared to pay for TV on the go.

O2 and Arqiva (previously known as NTL Broadcast) have hooked up with Nokia to test what's been described as the "UK's first trial of full multi-channel mobile TV".

The 400 O2 punters taking part in the six-month pilot have each been given a Nokia 7710 smartphone which they can use to watch the 16 channels on offer. Channels include the BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Five, Cartoon Network and Sky News, among others.

Said O2 CTO Dave Williams: "As an emerging industry, mobile TV will require a willingness of operators, regulators, broadcasters and handset suppliers to strike new deals.

"Regulators need to licence new spectrum, which will allow global economies to exist, broadcasters and publishers will need to tackle digital rights issues and operators develop workable revenue sharing partnerships."

The service is based on DVB-H (digital video broadcasting - handheld) transmission technology and works by beaming a signal to a digital TV receiver, which is attached to Nokia's 7710 smartphone, transforming it into a portable TV. ®

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