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Mobile TV to reach 120 million users by 2012: report

DVB-H to dominate

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Mobile TV is expected to reach almost 120 million users by 2012 - a significant increase from the current 12 million.

The broadcast services are expected to be available throughout 40 countries worldwide, with consumer spending on mobile TV predicted to top $6.6bn within the five-year period.

According to a report from Juniper Research, DVB-H will be the dominant transmission standard, and the streaming services that are currently available will gradually evolve to complement mobile broadcast TV, as an outlet for minority viewing TV channels. The largest single market for the services in 2012 is expected to be the US, followed by Japan and Italy.

In Ireland, O2 has already conducted a trial of the broadcast service, which was run over several months and ended on 31 August, while other providers have offered TV clips for viewing from companies such as Sky and RTE.

However, it won't all be plain sailing for mobile TV - the services face technological and regulatory hurdles. The report called on vendors to ensure that broadcast TV chipsets are introduced into a wide range of mass market handsets as quickly as possible, to allow everyone to at least sample the services.

The adoption of DVB-H as the standard may also raise some issues. "While the quasi-mandation of DVB-H by the European Commission is a huge boost to that standard, it does create uncertainty in the minds of those who might regard other technologies as more cost effective and might ultimately be counterproductive as a measure to promote mobile TV per se," said Dr Windsor Holden, the report's author.

The report also emphasised the need for regulators to make optimal UHF spectrum available as soon as is practicably possible.

© 2007 ENN

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