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O2 Ireland begins trial of DVB-H-based mobile TV delivery

Wireless operator O2 Ireland has kicked off a consumer trial of DVB-H-based mobile TV in Dublin. Working with transmission services provider Arqiva, the company has put state-of-the-art Nokia N92 mobile TV phones in the hands of 350 of its customers to gage the picture quality of mobile TV, as well as viewing habits. Thirteen TV channels are providing the content for the trial, including RTE1, RTE2, TV3, Sky Sports, Sky News, Setanta Sports and The Discovery Channel.

As part of the trial, O2 is examining how participants choose to catch up on their favorite TV shows, how they watch the latest music videos and how they choose to keep up to date with news and sports while on the move. Viewers will have access to several popular programs, including "Lost," "Desperate Housewives," "Ugly Betty" and "The Premiership," as well as interactive music and games channels. They will be able to perform some interactive functions, including selecting their favorite program from an on-screen service guide, searching for specific items and setting their handsets to alert them when a show starts.

The DVB-H standard, which is being used to deliver the signals to the Nokia handhelds during the trial, has been adapted for mobile delivery applications across Europe. It is based on the same principle as digital terrestrial broadcast television, which means the mobile TV service remains unaffected by how many people are using it at once and that it can be delivered simultaneously with fixed content.

O2 conducted initial demonstrations of broadcast mobile TV in Ireland at last year's Ryder Cup, where it staged an informal exhibition of how the service would work. A trial completed last year between O2 UK and Arqiva in Oxford demonstrated that 72 percent of the participants indicated they would take up the service within a year if it became commercially available.

The trial is set to wrap up in August.

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