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Content, Technology in the Digital Home

by Andrew Morris~ April 26, 2006


Broadcasting video to mobile devices was the focus of a midday session at Tuesday's NAB Multimedia World conference titled "MoTV: Mobile Video and TV Forum." Moderated by Peggy Miles, the session focused on the different systems competing for primacy in the mobile video world, as well as issues that need to be resolved to ensure the success of these services.

Panelists included Omar Javaid of Qualcomm MediaFLO, Ian Blaine of thePlatform, Jon Hambridge of IPWireless, Scott Wills of HiWire, Bruce Gersh of ABC Entertainment, Ian Trow of Envivio, and Yoram Solomon of the Mobile/DTV Alliance and Texas Instruments.

The panelists represented a mixed group of content, equipment and service providers. Issues that were discussed included the various open and proprietary technologies, and the need to create a better user interface.


Solomon explained that content will be delivered in a variety of different ways. "Some content, especially on-demand content, will be delivered by the existing cellular network," he said.

Javaid said Qualcomm MediaFLO is an owner of 700 MHz spectrum and later this year will be launching a commercially

available service for Verizon Wireless. Javaid emphasized that the service is not about the technology. "At the end of the day it's not about the technology per se but what technology enables you to do," he said.

Wills of HiWire explained that HiWire is also an owner of 700 MHz spectrum. "We've decided to go with DVB-H because it is an open platform; we think it has a tremendous ecosystem that will only get richer with time. By going with DVB-H we wanted to give the carriers a choice of different technologies. We're just one component of their offering. Consumers on a wireless handset will get video over the Internet, video over 3G networks and video over broadband."

Gersh of ABC explained the company has only one live channel, which is ABC News Now. "We don't have a live entertainment channel. What everybody has learned early on is that there are lots of rights issues that we all need to get through before you'll ever see a live broadcast of an entertainment program on a mobile phone," he said.

Ian Blain of thePlatform discussed current mobile video usage and its potential. "If you add up the mobile subscribers who are using video in the U.S. it is north of one million now. And that's growing rapidly," he said. Blain suggested mobile viewers watch more video in the morning as they make their way to work.

Solomon of Texas Instruments said that by the year 2010 there will be 50 GB to 100 GB hard drives installed in phones. These kinds of advances will help make mobile TV deployments a success.

"Ultimately we do have to provide the right kind of user experience," added Javaid of MediaFLO. "When we're talking about mobile TV, whether it's a technology savvy end-user or it's just a mass market user, they have a certain expectation of what television means. Simply saying that 'I have a technology that does mobile TV' does not mean it actually does it or does it very well. The biggest challenge will be crafting an end-user experience that people will actually pay for."

© 2006 NAB