At Least Two Paths Are Emerging In Mobile TV


If you haven’t heard about this yet, join the club. While Qualcomm (NSDQ: QCOM) and others have been working diligently within the wireless industry to roll out mobile TV, a separate initiative has been under way within the broadcast industry to allow TV stations to transmit local content to mobile devices from their existing towers. The Open Mobile Video Coalition, which represents more than 850 TV stations, is announcing today that it is moving forward to establish a standard following technical trials. The standard is expected to be ready by the digital TV transition taking place in February 2009. This puts into context yesterday’s announcement by South Korean handset manufacturers LG (SEO: 066570) and Samsung, which have agreed to work together on a mobile TV technology that they hope will become the North American standard. They plan to combine LG


Mike Gauba

Rocker – If you look around, the market reseraches regarding the adoption (usage) of untried high technology services have been most of the times not accurate. There are reasons for that which can be best explained with a concious-subconscious model and will be more than happy to provide you with it and can be contacted on You may laugh at it but it is very interesting that in the case of untried high technology services, what the people often want is not what they finally use. If you are in any way associated with the DTV-M deployment, I would encourage you to study the conscious-subconscious model for moving forward.

Korea has the highest penetration of broadcast Mobile TVs in the world. More than 60% of the Mobile TVs are PMPs/dedicated solutions and are seriously used. The question is how many times, do we use the "million services" available to us on our mobile phones. They are all victims of convergence – a value dilution syndrome.

Yes, there is a growing usage of Mobile TVs at home but at this stage it is very much limited to kids, teenagers and to some extend young adults becuase of their high degree of adoptability.


Mike: What you are saying sounds logical…sounded logical to me too. Then I reviewed DTV-M commercial deployment results, trial results and research data from around the world, and can only tell you: We were both wrong. Consumers explicitly DO want the mobile TV experience to resemble the home TV experience as much as possible. Will they watch "Lost" on their phone when the big screen TV is 10 feet away? No. It's about staying connected when on the go (although a surprising amount of mobile TV usage actually happens in the home). Note: Mobile TV and Mobile Video are not synonymous. The fact that Flo/Mobi offer "made for mobile" channels is one of their biggest achilles' heels as mobile TV providers.

Mike Gauba

Qualcomm's technology is struggling today not because there is anything wrong with it but becuase the marketeers have not been able to package it effectively

Now yet another technology is being brought in to broacast the local channels to hand held Mobile TVs – a perfect recipe for failure. The key issue will still stay the same – usage. The issue in fact gets further compounded by the fact that living room TV programs watched on handhelds will be limited by small screen size and lower resolution – limiting the value delivered to the users. The users at the subconscious level will compare the viewing experience of the two and develop notionalideas – which can also become barriers to further usage.. If the broadcasters persist on using the same programs, the technology in question will struggle much more than MediaFlo or DVB-H.

"On the go" needs are distinctly different from that of the living room and hence the solutions that can effectively address them. Using one to address the other is like fitting a square peg in a round hole

Mark Aitken

It is the access to local content, the relationship to the community, and network/affiliate agreements that will be leveraged by local television Broadcasters. As well, if you look at this from a simple capex standpoint, a large part of the capitalization for network build-out required has already been sunk with the investment into digital and a government mandated transition.

Maybe not the best news to those starting from scratch, but certainly a favorable position for many Broadcasters…


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