EU gives DVB-H mobile TV standard thumbs up

29 Nov 2007

The European Parliament today endorsed the European Commission’s strategy for rapid deployment of mobile TV services across Europe.

The three pillars of its strategy are: putting in place a joint approach to the licensing of mobile TV in order to accelerate the rollout of services and to encourage innovative business models; making available spectrum for these services, possibly in the UHF frequency band; and promoting the use of DVB-H (digital video broadcast over handheld) as the mobile TV standard for Europe.

The commission will now prepare guidelines for authorisation procedures and the addition of DVB-H to the official list of standards whose use all 27 member states have to support.

The endorsement will give content creators, broadcasters, service providers and hardware manufacturers the certainty they need to roll out mobile TV services across Europe in 2008, the commission said.

“European mobile TV is a step closer to success following today’s endorsement by the Council of the Commission’s strategy for creating economies of scale in this important sector,” said Viviane Reding, EU Commissioner for the Information Society and Media. “This shows that political resolve and market developments are in tune to ensure this potentially multibillion-euro market is on the right track by mid-2008.

“I call on the minority of governments that are still reluctant, partly for internal reasons, to endorse DVB-H as European standard to join the majority quickly. The more member states participate actively, the better Europe will be in achieving the required critical mass to become a world leader in mobile TV. Europe must especially not miss the occasion of the European Football Championship in Austria and Switzerland in 2008.”

In July the commission proposed a strategy for promoting mobile TV across Europe, which included the use of the open standard DVB-H – which has been developed by the European industry, partly with the support of European research funds – as the common standard for terrestrial mobile TV across Europe. This proposal has already led to an irreversible trend in the market towards DVB-H as the preferred European standard for mobile TV, while other parts of the world are also backing this open standard of the DVB family.

The mobile TV market could potentially be worth up to €20bn by 2011, reaching some 500 million customers worldwide. 2008 is considered to be a crucial year for mobile TV take-up in the EU due to important sports events such as the European Football Championship and the Summer Olympic Games.

By Niall Byrne