Europe and South Korea clash over mobile TV

28 May 2007

The European Commission is seeking to push DVB-H (digital video broadcasting-handheld), which has been developed using almost €40m of EU research funds, as the mobile TV standard in the face of the T-DMB format already widely used by the Korean mobile industry.

Earlier this year the European telecoms commissioner Viviane Reding said that if the mobile industry could not agree on a standard she would choose it for them.

Last week the FLO Forum, a group of wireless industry leaders, met in Brussels to discuss global regulation for mobile TV.

FLO Forum Chairman Dr. Kamil Grajski said: “We believe that it is only in a fully competitive and technology-neutral European market that the opportunities and profitable economies which mobile multimedia broadcasting can bring to consumers and business can be guaranteed.

“Today’s discussion will help highlight success models for business, regulatory and investment environments for a rapid and widespread mobile broadcasting rollout in Europe.”

The DVB-H format is already in use in 17 EU countries, and as such is being touted as the pan-European mobile TV standard..However, the mobile industry has a deadline of this summer for all to agree on a chosen format.

It is approved by the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) and mobile giants Nokia and Samsung recently announced their plans to work together to deliver the DVB-H standard.

However, Debitel, Germany’s third-largest mobile telecoms operator, has adopted the South Korea led format of T-DMB and in the UK the DAB-IP format is used widely.

The South Korean mobile TV market is one of the oldest and better-developed worldwide and as such the T-DMB format cannot be overlooked by the European Commission.

Last week Sharp announced its development of the world’s first “dual mode” tuner , which will receive mobile TV in both formats. This tuner has been developed to fit into most mobiles devices, especially mobile phones, and could be an answer to the mobile TV standard debate.

By Marie Boran