TV on mobiles by end of the year

Mobile phones

Well, 3GSM is well under way, so we’ll be beavering away, getting those stories up as fast as our fingers can type. First up, Philips has announced System in Package, a service that connects consumers to live television on the move. The service, shortened to SiP, will allow customers to get television on mobiles by the fourth quarter of 2005. The service is based on the DVB-H standard which allows the creators to cram complete digital TV capabilities into a thumbnail-sized receiver. This not only means that you’ll be able to access live digital television, you’ll also be able to access pictures, movies and music while out and about. The service is being previewed at Cannes over the next few days and the system board the supports the service will be rolled out to handset vendors in the second quarter of 2005, kicking off the next phase of trials. Following that, all being well, the SiP for DVB-H service will be offered on a chip with a reduced footprint and lower power consumption later this year.

More details from the press release follow:

To further enhance the offering, Philips has partnered with Silicon & Software Systems (S3) to integrate its onHandTV software into the solution, an advanced DVB-H-compliant product that complements the Philips SiP. As part of the agreement, S3 will join the Philips’ Nexperia Partner Program, an initiative to enable Independent Software Vendors (ISVs) and Integrators to deliver middleware, applications and reference designs based on the company’s Nexperia family of semiconductors.

To enhance the user experience of TV on mobile, Philips Software offers a complete application that supports H.264 video and AAC audio for high-quality viewing and listening. It also incorporates Philips’ world-class picture and audio enhancement IP from its proven consumer electronics products, including Natural Motion for smooth, easy-to-watch images and ‘smart color mapping’ for attractive colors on LCD displays. High-performance features such as these will play a critical role in creating sustained consumer demand for mobile TV services.

"This is a revolutionary development, integrating all the components of a digital TV receiver into a space small enough to fit into a mobile phone," said Mario Rivas, executive vice president Communications Businesses, Philips Semiconductors. "As a broadcast technology, watching TV on the mobile phone is the natural progression from listening to radio and downloading video clips. Our work in the Broadcast Mobile Convergence (BMCO) trial, in Berlin, showed the impact for the consumer will be much more spectacular."

As part of the Berlin-based BMCO project, Philips was the first semiconductor supplier to be involved in mobile TV trial transmissions, working with industry leaders from the content and mobile industries. The project studied the use of DVB-H to broadcast conventional TV, as well as innovative interactive content designed specifically for the platform, to mobile phones and portable digital TVs. In addition to implementing the technology, the trial also looked at user acceptance of the services, finding that participants extensively used and enjoyed the services offered – at home, on the road and at work. Of the 512 users that took part in the survey, 78% stated that they thought TV on mobile was a good idea, with 82% willing to pay for content.

About DVB-H
DVB-H builds on DVB-T and is a system where data (typically digital multimedia data) is transmitted in IP datagrams. In order to reduce power consumption in small handheld devices, DVB-H employs a technique called ‘time-slicing’, where the IP datagrams are transmitted as data bursts in small time slots. The front end of the receiver switches on only for the time interval when the data burst of a selected service is on air. Within this short period of time a high data rate is received which can be stored in a device buffer. This buffer can either store the downloaded applications or play out live streams.

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