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Samsung readies TV phone for Europe

But has it chosen the wrong broadcast format?

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Samsung will next week formally unveil the handset it will pitch at Europeans who want to watch TV on their mobile phones. It's called the SGH-P900 and it's capable of receiving T-DMB (Terrestrial Digital Multimedia Broadcasting) signals and relaying them on its 2.2in swivel screen.

Samsung's home nation, South Korea, has been broadcasting T-DMB services since late last year, but it's yet to catch on in the West. Over here, DVB-H (Digital Video Broadcasting - Handheld) appears more popular - certainly in terms of the number of pre-launch trials underway; there are at least 18 of them. It's a handheld-oriented version of the DVB-T (Digital Video Broadcasting - Terrestrial) system used to send digital TV signals from fixed transmitters.

T-DMB is based on the technology that underpins Digital Audio Broadcasting (DAB) services. There are T-DMB trials underway in Europe, one in Germany and another in France, undertaken by Bouygues Telecom. In Germany, it will be used to broadcast next Summer's World Cup, and Samsung is hoping the football tournament will drive sales.

A second technology based on DAB, called Enhanced Packet Mode DAB, is being used by BT and Virgin Mobile. Both DVB-H and T-DMB have been adopted as standards by the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI).

Samsung's SGH-900 has a two-megapixel camera, packs in Bluetooth and will ship with 128MB of memory - you can add more through the Micro SD slot. Apparently, you'll be able to record TV programming, and there's a TV-out port. It's due to ship in Q2, but will be announced next week at the 3GSM conference in Barcelona. ®

samsung sgh-p900 tv phone

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