Australian consumer tests reveal high interest in mobile TV

Eight in 10 consumers participating in a trial of a mobile television services in Australia reported liking the ability to watch television anytime, anywhere, especially when commuting, traveling or at home.

According to Broadcast Australia Group, which has offered 16 TV channels to mobile handsets as part of a trial of mobile TV in Sydney since July 2005, the total time spent watching television increased as a result of the service.

Called movemedia, the service offers 10 Foxtel channels as well as ABC2, SBS, Channel Nine, CNN, Sky Racing and Boomerang. A total of 375 consumers, representing a wide demographic range, participated in the trial. On average, they watched for 25 minutes at a time, once or twice a day. Sports channels were the most popular among viewers.

For the test, the service was transmitted on channel 29 from a Broadcast Australia facility using digital video broadcasting – handheld (DVB-H) technology. Broadcast Australia worked with Harris, telecommunications provider Telstra, and wireless antenna and cable manufacturer Radio Frequency Systems (RFS) to offer the service.

Consumers participating in the trial received the service via a Nokia 7710 mobile phone handset, turning it into a portable television. The special handset received 16 broadcast video streams while the telephone used the Telstra GSM and GPRS mobile networks.

Broadcast Australia selected The Bridge Networks to supply a Harris Atlas Digital DTV660L liquid-cooled DVB-T transmitter operating in DVB-H mode for the task. The transmitter provided 3.4kW of power from a single cabinet into an existing, multi-coupled UHF antenna system, delivering 80kW effective radiated power (ERP).

Based on these attributes, Broadcast Australia also decided to upgrade the transmission system used for its digital datacasting trial. This involved installing an identical Harris 3.4kW liquid-cooled transmitter operating in DVB-T mode.

Broadcast Australia has integrated the transmitter into its existing 24x7 Network Operations Center for monitoring and forward control. The SNMP, GUI and Web browser interfaces make it easy for the NOC team to interrogate the transmission system from the NOC or any other location.