EU officially endorses DVB-H
But who asked for their opinion?
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. ®
What happened to 3G TV?
£22.5 billion in license fees doesn't seem so smart now does it.... 3G rollout has massively slowed down, not because they've achieved coverage, but because it just isn't making the cash.
Seems someone missed an important step in the proccess
Which one? Buying the requisite number of EU politicians prior to them making important decisions (sometimes mislabeled as lobbying).
In the US, which has a tried and trusted PPB (pay per bill) political system, the way it works is over a period of years the relevant major players in a particular industry argue amongst themselves until the technology in question is on the verge of obsolescence. Having finally decided on a standard, they then hire a "lobbying" firm to buy up the politicos that create bills and push them to Congress. It then falls down to these corporates new employees to convince other congressmen that this is a really good idea, and if we don't do it the terrorists will win.
Thus a new, industry favourable, bill is passed - and democracy wins again. None of that wishy washy recommending stuff. Delays like that could open up the process to sneaky reporters and other troublemakers.
It truly seems odd that the same corporates that operate in the US still don't realise they're supposed to purchase their EU politicians prior to important decisions being made for their industries.
So you see, it is possible for a bi-partisan political system to exist, you just need enough money to buy one.
Mobile Broadcast Video: As Useful As Tits on The Pope
And that's assuming there were uniform standards across the whole planet.
I own a media player with a 4-inch display (that's 10cm for you people who actually have real standards). It's OK for watching video on an airline flight, since my knees are already up my nose anyhow, and the screen has to be close enough to my face that I can lick it. Anything smaller would be much like attempting to view a rugger from a distance of 2 km, without a telescope or field glasses. Why bother? The radio coverage would give me a better idea what's happening.