EU Wants DVB-H as Only Mobile TV Standard for Europe

The European Union has taken the first steps towards establishing DVB-H (Digital Video Broadcasting to Handhelds) as the only standard for TV broadcasting to mobile devices in Europe.

"Mobile broadcasting is a tremendous opportunity for Europe to maintain and expand its leadership in mobile technology and audiovisual services", said Viviane Reding, EU Commissioner for the Information Society and Media.

"Europe is today at a crossroads. We can either take a lead globally, as we did for mobile telephony based on the GSM standard developed by the European industry, or allow other regions to take the lion's share of the promising mobile TV market," Reding said.

Officially, Reding's statement is an "official encouragement" to adopt DVB-H, not a mandate. However, the statement goes against the recommendations of the EU Commission-backed European Mobile Broadcasting Council (EMBC), which was set up to look at mobile TV standards in Europe.

The EMBC, with the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) as one of the participants, favoured a market-led approach, encouraging the adoption of the most suitable standard for each country rather than a single EU-wide standard.

Other alternative standards for Europe include the Eureka-147 DAB-based T-DMB and DAB-IP, the proprietary MediaFLO standard, and the newly developed satellite derivative of DVB-H, DVB-SH.