After having being successfully tested in South Korea, mobile TV is all set to make its foray in the UK on a trial basis from next week. Billed as a great leap forward in bringing the television on your mobile set, the trail will be conducted by UK carrier O2 and technology company Arqiva. As per the trail plans, nearly 400 viewers in the country will be offered as many as 16 channels on their mobile handsets including BBC One, BBC Two, News 24, and ITV 1.
O2 said customers will have the facility to select a program of their choice from an on-screen guide, and would also be able to access live shows. They would also be able to set up alerts in their phones when their favorite shows like EastEnders, Coronation Street, CSI and Lost start. Says Dave Williams, Chief Technology Officer (CTO), O2, “By establishing relationships through activities such as this, we hope that potential challenges will be minimized and mobile TV becomes a commercial reality sooner than is currently possible.” The service is based on a transmission technology called DVB-H (digital video broadcasting–handheld) which combines the features of internet and broadcasting.
But the proposed trial notwithstanding, opinions are divided on the future of Mobile TV. There are many who believe that the concept may not be met with great success on the ground that the transmission of real TV channels to cell phones has been slower in coming. The major obstacles cited are networks incapability to make use of high-data stream for transmission as well as lack of confidence on the part of content companies to treat mobile screen as the competent and efficient screens for their presentation. These are considered to be main reasons as why mobile TV has failed to take off in the United States. But on the other side of the spectrum is a prediction by the British research firm Informa Telecoms and Media which underlines that 124 million viewers will own TV broadcast-enabled cell phones by 2010. Companies that are trying to promote mobile TV in Britain and elsewhere can feel encouraged from this outlook that they are not taking a shot in the dark.