NTL and O2 today revealed what those lucky punters who are trialling digital TV to mobile phones in Oxford are going to be watching. And if they were expecting live football or blockbuster movies on their Nokia 7710 handsets they are going to be sorely disappointed. For in the first six months of the trial our TV to go guinea pigs are going to sampling the delights of The Cartoon Network, CNN, Discovery Channel, Sky Sports News and Sky Travel.
Overall 16 channels will eventually be lined up by NTL and O2 in the trial which has been designed to test and showcase the televisual capabilities of the next generation of mobile phones. Apparently the trial will look at how people choose to catch up on their favourite TV shows, watch the latest music videos and keep up to date with the news and sport when on the move.
The six-month trial will use the DVB-H broadcast transmission standard, specially designed for handheld reception. With its low battery power consumption and robust reception, DVB-H allows an efficient 'one-to-many' method of delivering TV content in a way that complements the one-to-one video streaming which is already possible via GPRS and 3G networks.
To enable a commercial service to be launched in the UK, Ofcom will need to license spectrum, and the results of the trial are seen as valuable in proving ongoing consumer interest. NTL Broadcast is currently building a new broadcast network of eight DVB-H transmitters, using existing structures, to cover 120 square km centred on Oxford that will enable the participants to receive digital television on the move.
O2 will soon begin the process of recruiting triallists from the specified catchment area within the Oxford ring road: triallists will be between 18 and 45 years of age, and spend the majority of their day (i.e. live, work or study) in Oxford. Initially, handsets will be provided to all 350 triallists by Nokia - the new 7710 which, for the purposes of the trial, will come with a special DVB-H receiver.