Portable navigation devices tune into mobile TV

Garmin, Mio and Navigation ship devices equipped with Siano multistandard mobile TV receiver chips.
Garmin’s nüvi 900 enables users to watch news, sports, movies and more. Available in Italy, the "multimedia navigator" receives DVB-H free-to-air 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.