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England's World Cup verdict: 'unfocused, jerky, inadequate'

And that's just the mobile videos

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"You had to wait 10 minutes or so for clips - even of the penalty shoot-out," complained self-appointed mobile TV referee David Frodsham [right] of Argogroup.

He used his proprietary Monitor Master system to compare clips from T-Mobile, 3 and the BBC over ADSL. Amazingly, the ADSL stuff was only marginally better than the mobile clips.

"The tests showed that, for this particular content, an ADSL broadband connection and 3 UK’'s 3G service provided a similar quality of content, with 3’s delivery possibly edging the contest within the limits of experimental error," reported the company.

The Hutchison-owned 3 UK service had video quality which was superior to the T-Mobile service where users found it very difficult to see the ball, even when it was stationary on the penalty spot, Frodsham noted.

"These clips were adequate at best," Argogroup CEO David Frodsham said. "And while the BBC stream was free, it costs about £2 per MB to download the video over 3's network."

The company is using the mobile clip service to publicise its Monitor Master service, and after the disastrous (for England) exit from the football championship, issued a press announcement which pointed out that the software flatters the service, if anything.

"We score the quality of service of the video clips automatically, a company spokesman said. "It uses complex mathematics to produce a Mean Opinion Score (MOS) of quality, to get as close as possible to what a human would say after viewing the clip."

The MOS is expressed as a single number in the range one to five, where one is lowest perceived quality, and five is the highest perceived quality. Both 3's service and the BBC's stream scored 3.1-3.2 on this measure, meaning they are only just acceptable, even before they are delivered over a network or viewed on a handset.

According to Frodsham, a misfiring network could reduce the MOS score significantly, perhaps by as much as 20 per cent again. "And if an operator hasn'’t ensured the content works on particular handsets, the score will fall even further."

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