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Portable navigation devices tune into mobile TV

Here's a multiple-choice quiz: Mobile TV on portable navigation devices (PNDs):

  1. Is an answer in search of a question;
  2. Terrifies me; or
  3. Makes perfect sense.

PND manufactures including Garmin, Mio and Navigon appear to think that No. 3 is the correct answer, judging by Siano Mobile Silicon's recent announcement that these manufacturers have integrated Siano's mobile TV receiver chips into their newest GPS devices.

While for some this conjures a picture of already-lost drivers further distracted by "Hoarders," there's some compelling logic here. "Personal navigation is a perfect fit for mobile TV rollout," said Siano CEO Alon Ironi. "Characterized by large screens, powerful graphics/video performance and mobility — digital television on-the-go is the ultimate complementary feature for navigation devices."

Research firm In-Stat is also onboard, so to speak. "Mobile TV opens up audiences and markets for PND vendors," said In-Stat Principal Analyst for mobile TV Michelle Abraham. "Given consumers' desire to access multimedia content on the go, combining GPS with additional entertainment services such as mobile TV is a must have criterion for PND players to maintain their competitive edge in the market."

Siano's tuners support CMMB, DVB-T, DVB-H, ISDB-T, T-DMB, DAB and DAB+ standards. The SMS1230 is the newest multistandard mobile TV tuner chip in Siano's portfolio. During the upcoming CES show, the company will demonstrate "the latest in MDTV innovations" — presumably including PNDs — at the Las Vegas Hilton Central Tower.