Thursday, March 23, 2006

Carving up big market for tiny televisions

The International Herald Tribune writes about the three main competing mobile broadcast technologies aiming to become the dominant standard. The article thinks "a single standard will probably be adopted for most geographic areas, with phone makers, broadcasters and mobile carriers in a region agreeing to use the same technologies."

So far in South Korea, "the government is subsidizing the development of a technology called Digital Multimedia Broadcasting, or DMB," while Nokia is backing Digital Video Broadcasting- Handheld, or DVB-H, which might help it "become the standard in Europe and large parts of Asia outside of South Korea and Japan."

Adrian Drozd, at Datamonitor said, "We see DVB-H winning out over all, but there will also be limited space for some of the other technologies. DMB has a head start, but from 2007 onward DVB-H should get momentum and become the dominant technology."

According to the article, "DVB-H trials are under way by mobile phone networks in Spain, Germany, Britain, Italy, France, Singapore, Malaysia, Australia, the United States and other countries. The first commercial rollouts, including one by Hutchison Whampoa's 3 Italia, are scheduled to coincide with soccer's World Cup in June in Germany."

Qualcomm is pushing a third standard called MediaFLO that is predicted to "take a large slice of the U.S. market, and Japan has a fourth standard that is unlikely to expand much beyond its borders."Datamonitor predicts that by 2009, "69 million people worldwide will subscribe to mobile television services generating total revenue of $5.5 billion."

The firm also forecasted that in 2009, "90 million DVB-H phones will be shipped, compared with 28 million DMB, 30 million MediaFLO and 18 million with the Japanese standard."

The article then looks at the pluses and minuses of each technology.