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US mobile digital TV service unveils smart phone

Modeo ropes in HTC handset

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Modeo, the US company evangelising the DVB-H digital TV standard Stateside, is to offer a Windows Mobile 5-based smart phone capable of receiving and displaying such broadcasts. The handset, manufactured by Taiwan's HTC, will go on sale in the second half of the year, the company announced yesterday.

The 10.3 x 5.5 x 1.5cm handset is based on a 200MHz Texas Instruments OMAP 850 processor, 128 MB of Flash ROM, 64MB of SDRAM and a Micro SD slot for more. It has a 2.2in, 240 x 320, 65,536-colour display and a 1.3 megapixel camera. It has a quad-band (850/900/1800/1900MHz) GSM/GPRS/EDGE radio and Bluetooth 1.2.

modeo us-oriented dvb-h smart phone

There's an Nvidia GoForce 5500 graphics chip on board to process and display the digital TV data picked up by the handset's antenna. The phone also sports an on-board electronic programme guide (EPG). Modeo didn't say whether it will allow shows to be recorded to memory.

The Modeo phone weighs 120g and contains a 1150mAh battery, the company said - enough, it added, for three hours' TV viewing time, four hours' talk time and to allow it to operate in stand-by mode for six days.

Modeo is currently putting in place the necessary equipment to broadcast a range of TV and radio channels into "select" US cities this year, followed by a broader roll-out in 2007. Modeo's business model is unclear at this stage: is it looking to make money out of telephony services, which it hopes consumers will be more likely to make use of if they can watch TV on their phones, or hoping to offer its content on a subscription basis? Since it appears to be handling the broadcasting too, presumably it's also looking to advertising revenue from spots in the content it will licensing from the major channels.

DVB-H is one of a handful of technologies developed to transmit digital TV to mobile phones. Derived from the DVB-T system used by Europe's terrestrial broadcasters, such as the UK Freeview network, DVB-H sends out multi-channel MPEG 2 streams in a form suited to low-power devices. ®

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