EU endorses DVB-H mobile TV format… but its decision is already causing ructions

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lg-dvbhphone.jpgMost UK mobile operators offer some form of streaming mobile TV over their 3G networks, and while the quality has improved, it’s still not exactly tip-top. Proper digital broadcasts would seem to be the answer, but there’s a cluster of competing formats, which each have different cheerleaders in different countries. It’s a bit of a mess.

The European Commission wants to change that, by endorsing one specification: DVB-H. It wants governments / broadcasting regulators to allocate a chunk of their UHF band to DVB-H once they turn off their analogue TV broadcasts. The EC isn’t ordering this, yet, but it might next year after further consultation.

Are the people behind rival digital mobile TV standards happy? Of course not…

Here’s Dr. Kamil A. Grajski, president of the FLO Forum, which backs Qualcomm’s FLO standard: “There is a reason why the principle of technology neutrality exists and that is to ensure that the market can choose which technology delivers the most attractive solution for the consumer,” he says.

“Each country has its own unique market conditions and each mobile broadcasting technology standard has very different performance characteristics. Locking the European market into one technology model is potentially harmful to the growth of mobile broadcasting in Europe and will hinder the development of innovative technologies.”

Obviously, cynics would argue that he would say that, and would doubtless be saying something completely different if the EC had picked FLO as its platform of choice.

But then, the politics of the EC’s decision is something for mobile firms and broadcasters to argue over. What does the recommendation mean for us punters? Well, The Register isn’t exactly optimistic that it’ll herald a brave new age of pan-European mobile TV roaming, to say the least.

“Even if DVB-H is used across Europe, you won’t be able to receive a picture from different operators with one device – and even if you can you’re unlikely to be able to decode it.”

Ah well.

(via The Register)

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Stuart Dredge