EU regulators pick DVB-H as mobile TV standard

27 Jun 2007

Following long delays after a request by EU telecoms commissioner Viviane Reding for the mobile industry to pick a TV standard, the European Commission (EC) has itself chosen one: digital video broadcast over handheld (DVB-H).

The two competing standards in mobile TV have been DVB-H, as backed by mobile giant Nokia, and T-DMB, largely adopted by South Korean manufacturers like Samsung and LG Electronics.

There are currently five million subscribers to T-DMB in South Korea, which is expected to reach seven to 10 million by the end of the year.

Although these formats have existed side by side in the European market for a while now, the EC would like to see a unified format, much like when the Global System for Mobile communications (GSM) standard was chosen in the early Nineties.

Despite the fact that the US has several competing standards, with only AT&T and T-Mobile adopting GSM, Reding said that there was a need for one standard in Europe to avoid “market fragmentation”.

The report outlining DVB-H as the proposed standard will be published next month.

Given that the DVB-H standard is approved by the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) and was developed with some funding from the EU, its adoption over T-DMB comes as no surprise.

Instead of a VHS versus Betamax, or BluRay versus HD-DVD battle, companies can look to new technology like the dual mode tuner from Sharp which is designed to fit into most mobile devices.

By Marie Boran