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Does Mobile TV Service Have A Future In The UK?

Yesterday, we saw how three of the biggest mobile phone operators in the country came together to test a TV broadcast service which would allow them to broadcast television services over their existing 3G networks without using too much resources.

The news coincide with the current World cup event in South Africa which promises to be the biggest global televised event and one which will be followed by millions online and with the recent clampdown by O2 which aimed at freeing a significant amount of bandwidth currently used by a handful of users.

The technology used by the companies, IMB, has been around for some times but failed to gather enough momentum. Not surprisingly, all major operators have already some sort of mobile television offering in the offing. Even 3UK has (had??) a Mobile TV service courtesy of Sky although the service appears to have been cancelled.

The problem with IMB is that it will be useful mainly for video on demand content rather than real-time streamed content as it will require constant connectivity (ed : although smart buffering and caching technologies will help).

Those looking for TV content on their mobile devices might instead look on the handset manufacturer's side instead. LG's soon to be launched LU2300 for example comes with a DMB TV Tuner and many knockoff mobile phone handsets in China have integrated tuners.

Two years ago, the European Commission adopted the DVB-H mobile TV standard put forward by Nokia, but the news was met with skepticism from the GSM association, which questioned whether the standard was actually the better option.

Désiré Athow
Contributor

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at ITProPortal.com where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.