Analysts Expect Fragmented Mobile DTV Market

A single mobile DTV standard in the United States is unlikely, according to this analysis in Beta News. The article lists at least seven existing mobile DTV transmission technologies around the world, many of which are already in use.

South Korea, for instance, is using DVB-H, the European mobile DTV standard. Yet it points out that 10 million wandering TV watchers are doing so over T-DMB, the country’s first mobile video platform. Korea launched mobile TV in 2005.

In the United States, MobiTV was one of the first companies to offer television over cell phones, and recently surpassed 4 million subscribers worldwide and has said it’s adding another 1 million every six months. Sprint and AT&T carry MobiTV in the United States. (Both carriers also offer movies through deals with studios.) MobiTV, based in Emeryville, Calif., also just secured $5 million in equipment financing from Leader Ventures in San Francisco, according to PE Hub.

AT&T also intends to add MediaFLO, the service currently power the VCast Mobile TV offering from Verizon Wireless. VCast was launched on MediaFLO 13 months ago and is currently available in 50 markets. The carrier has not released subscriber numbers.

All the available services in the United States start at around $10. Broadcasters hot to launch their own mobile TV service are banking that a free offering with hyperlocal content will trump the incumbents. The proposed technologies being considered for a U.S. standard include MPH (Mobile Pedestrian Handheld) from LG and Harris; A-VSB (advanced-vestigial sideband) from Rohde & Schwarz and Samsung; and another from Micronas Semiconductor in Zurich, Switzerland.