Europe set to lose lead in mobile TV

Asia is set to overtake Europe’s early lead in adopting mobile television broadcasting as Europe struggles to find available airwaves for broadcasts.

Europe set to lose lead in mobile TV

“Out of the regions of the world this represents the most interesting at the moment,” Peter MacAvock, executive director of industry body DVB Project, told reporters at the BroadcastAsia fair in Singapore. “The appetite for mobile phone based content is higher here than anywhere else.”

Mobile operators hope that mobile TV could encourage users to spend an extra 5 to 10 euros a month, compensating for declining revenues from voice calls.

But executives said a lack of consensus on business models and the variety of different technologies were holding back take-up of mobile TV.

“Everybody thinks mobile TV is a great idea, but when it’s time to get out the chequebook everyone starts to look at each other,” MacAvock says.

So far only one standard, digital video broadcast handheld (DVB-H), has been taken up globally, while Korea, Japan, US and China are embracing local technologies. Some of these other technologies are also aiming for the global market, preventing services from being offered worldwide under a single standard.

“That standard issue needs to sort itself out first,” says Chris Lee, Sony Ericsson’s head of marketing in Asia Pacific.

Because spectrum availability is not a problem in many Asian countries, commercial DVB-H broadcasts have already started in India and Vietnam, with Malaysia, the Philippines and Indonesia also set to open networks this year. In Europe, three countries have started commercial networks.

Most people who currently watch TV on their cellphones use 3G mobile networks – bringing in long-awaited data transmission fees to operators – but this caps the quality of the picture and maximum amount of users.

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