Feeds

EU officially endorses DVB-H

But who asked for their opinion?

The essential guide to IT transformation

The European Commission (EC) has formally endorsed DVB-H as the preferred standard for digital TV signals to be broadcast to mobile phones, though the business model for broadcast TV is still open to debate.

The Commission makes much of its decision to mandate GSM as a mobile phone technology back in the 1980s, and the resulting success of mobile telephony, drawing parallels with the broadcast TV business in cost-reduction of equipment and potential for roaming between countries.

The problem with this argument is that the DVB-H specification covers only part of the interface - aspects such as Digital Rights Management (DRM) are likely to remain deployment-specific so switching between services, or countries, is unlikely to be possible. Language barriers will prevent much international roaming anyway.

The other problem is frequencies. The EU would like to see a chunk of the UHF band (470-862MHz) allocated to DVB-H once it's freed up by the analogue TV switch-off. But UK regulator Ofcom is moving away from allocating frequencies to technologies, preferring to just license the band and allow the buyer to decide what to use it for.

So even if DVB-H is used across Europe, you won't be able to receive a picture from different operators with one device - and even if you can you're unlikely to be able to decode it.

The business model for broadcast mobile TV is also contentious. Even where trials have been successful up to 40 per cent of viewing is happening in the home, where femtocells have the potential to provide unicast services in a cheaper and more personalised fashion.

DVB-H isn't being mandated by the commission, just officially encouraged. More consultation, and a possible mandate, will come next year as the commission considers 2008 a key year in the development of mobile TV.

Such a mandate could reduce hardware costs and create a more competitive market, or it could strangle an industry on the edge of being stillborn anyway. ®

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
6 Obvious Reasons Why Facebook Will Ban This Article (Thank God)
Clampdown on clickbait ... and El Reg is OK with this
So, Apple won't sell cheap kit? Prepare the iOS garden wall WRECKING BALL
It can throw the low cost race if it looks to the cloud
Time Warner Cable customers SQUEAL as US network goes offline
A rude awakening: North Americans greeted with outage drama
Shoot-em-up: Sony Online Entertainment hit by 'large scale DDoS attack'
Games disrupted as firm struggles to control network
BT customers face broadband and landline price hikes
Poor punters won't be affected, telecoms giant claims
Netflix swallows yet another bitter pill, inks peering deal with TWC
Net neutrality crusader once again pays up for priority access
prev story

Whitepapers

Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Backing up distributed data
Eliminating the redundant use of bandwidth and storage capacity and application consolidation in the modern data center.
The essential guide to IT transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIOs automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.