DVB-H is the official mobile-TV standard
Business model still AWOL though
Brussels has now officially endorsed DVB-H as the mobile TV technology of choice in Europe. This means that member states are now required to "encourage" use of the technology, though the commission has no advice as to how to encourage punters to tune in.
In the UK both T-Mobile and Orange are about to launch trials using the competing MBMS (Multimedia Broadcast Multicast Service) technology, which utilises existing 3G networks and spectrum. The technology for that trial is being provided by NextWave Wireless, and CMO Jon Hambidge is dismissive of EU attempts to mandate a mobile TV technology "when [the network operators] spent billions of dollars on their licences MBMS [was] part of that business case".
Viviane Reding, EU telecoms commissioner, has made it clear that if companies don't migrate to DVB-H she'll use regulatory measures to create an EU-wide standard.
The new directive states that "member States shall encourage the use of the standards and/or specifications", pointing out that DVB-H is now an endorsed standard. But MBMS is already part of the GSM (3G) standard, which is endorsed by the ETSI (European Telecommunications Standards Institute). So, member nations could find themselves required to promote two separate video transmission standards for a service that few people seem to want. ®
Maybe read the document before getting excited
DVB-H is now on a list of standards that EU states have to encourage. This listing only covers mobile TV over broadcast networks, not mobile TV over 3G so should 3G operators be worried?
Surely there's an easier way
Do we really need a specific DVB format for mobile phones?
Surely it would be simpler to create a suitable chip to go inside mobiles that can receive and decode current DVB-T broadcasts?
Pointless and anachronistic
Presumably this will just give us live TV. Which is only necessary for breaking news and sports events. But ball sports will be unwatchable on a tiny screen, and news is better delivered using a web/RSS browser.
Video on a small device is fine (and a good entertainment alternative to a laptop for times when you can't get a seat on a train and don't have a book), but given that mobile devices can be had with multi-GB storage I wonder whether this whole broadcast mobile TV thing has missed it's window of usefulness.
Better to focus efforts on STB/PVR/flash memory integration to deliver convenient access to timeshifted content.
If I was Sky I'd be working with Nokia etc al to deliver Sky+ branded multimedia phones which sync with a STB over wifi. Mark selected programmes in the EPG as "Sync with mobile" and have the content pushed to your phone overnight while you sleep and your phone charges. Mind you, if Anytime on PC is anything to go by, it would crash your phone regularly and purge the content before you'd had a chance to watch it.