Eye on the future

Mobile TV has long been lauded as the next big thing in the telecommunications industry. With the service still awaiting widescale deployment in the region, CommsMEA examines the latest handsets of the industry's leading vendors.

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By  Administrator Published  November 24, 2007

A recent report published by US research firm ABI Research predicts the mobile TV industry is set to take off despite recent trepidations about the business case for the service.

Entitled Mobile TV Services, the report examines the mobile TV and video ecosystem, and addresses the as-yet-unmade decisions facing all players in this arena.

"Just a year ago, there was a lot of discussion in the industry about whether unicast or broadcast distribution models would prevail, and it seemed possible that unicasting would soon disappear. The new research suggests that while the major top-ranked channels will follow a broadcast model, unicasting is here to stay as a conduit for the ‘long tail' of other content that consumers will desire," says ABI Research director Michael Wolf.

Most of the formats and distribution models under consideration have both pros and cons, reads the report.

Finding the right mix for each type of content and each target audience will be crucial to unlocking the true value of the service concludes the report.

With successful trials using the DVB-H standard already conducted in both Qatar and the UAE, as well as TV-streaming services on offer in Saudi Arabia, Middle East telecommunications players would do well not to discount the commercial benefits of mobile TV services.

LG KH 1400

The South Korean vendor started shipping its latest DVB-H handset in 3Q07 and has recently paired with 3 Italia in the European market where post-paid subscribers can purchase the handset for approximately US$145.

Key Features: Supports online services such as Windows Live Messenger, Gmail and E-bay on HSDPA, GSM, GPRS and UMTS standards using a lithium-ion battery.

Middle East LG distributor: Al Sayegh Brothers.

Nokia N77

Dubai Media City recently conducted a US$2 million DVB-H trial using Nokia N77 devices. The Finnish vendor started shipping during 2Q07 in countries where DVB-H services are available, with an estimated, pre-tax, unsubsidised sales price of approximately $529.

Key Features: S60 3rd Edition software on Symbian OS, automatic channel discovery, up to five hours TV viewing time.

Middle East Nokia distributor: i2.

Motorola MOTORIZR Z6tv

The vendor recently launched the device in the US pairing with Verizon Wireless charging US$13 to $25 per month for the service. Motorola's portfolio of mobile TV-enabled handsets do not support the DVB-H standard at present.

Key Features: V CAST Mobile TV, V CAST Music and Video, internal antenna, video capture and playback, location-based services available.

Middle East Motorola distributor: Brightstar.

Samsung SGH-910

Available in the Middle East since December 2006, the company launched the DVB-H-enabled handset to coincide with the Doha Asian Games. Samsung executives claimed the handset was the first such device in the region and lauded the SGH-910 as a milestone in TV-viewing in the region.

Key Feature: 2.2-inch TFT LCD screen with high resolution QVGA interface and 262, 144 colours, capable of showing 30 frames per second.

Middle East Samsung distributor: Eros Electronics.

ZTE F908

The vendor launched the handset during the latter half of 2006 proclaiming it as the world's first DVB-H device to support HSDPA making ZTE the first Chinese company to offer such a device.

Key Features: Supports online services such as Windows Live Messenger, Gmail and E-bay on HSDPA, GSM, GPRS and UMTS standards using a lithium-ion battery.

Middle East ZTE distributor: Various operator partners.

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