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Europe tells states to get with the mobile TV programme

DVB-H for all

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The European Commission has told member states how to encourage mobile TV services to be implemented quickly.

What are the criteria? Services should be based on DVB-H and set up to ensure cross-Europe compatibility. Operators should be made to bid for licences with Ts&Cs that ensure services work well indoors and have sufficient transmission quality. If carriers fail to live up to the deal, government regulators should withdraw their licence to operate.

At the same time, the licensing process should be "a straightforward, transparent and non-discriminatory procedure", the EC said, and should "create conditions which encourage cooperation between telecoms operators and broadcasters".

Here's the bit we like: "One way to do this is choosing non-proprietary technologies, which all consumers would be able to use without extra plug-ins and regardless of which device they use, to access mobile TV content."

That doesn't mean such content will be free to view, but at least it will - hopefully - prevent punters being tied into specific vendors.

Actually, we were going to make a quip about Apple at this point, but of course the iPhone maker doesn't care about DVB-H - it wants mobile TV to be all about downloading shows from the iTunes Store.

However licences are awarded, EU Telecoms and Media Commissioner Vivienne Redding said, "we oppose heavy regulation or burdensome authorisation procedures for the introduction of mobile TV in Europe".

DVB-H's role is no surprise - in March 2008, the EC added the technology to its list of official European standards

The EC's guidelines can be read here (PDF).

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