Vodafone to demonstrate broadcast mobile TV

Vodafone will demonstrate a broadcast mobile TV service at Cebit.

Visitors at next month's Cebit trade show in Hanover will be able to view live TV broadcasts over mobile phones as part of a demonstration planned by the German subsidiary of Europe's largest mobile phone operator, Vodafone Group.

The demonstration will be one of the first opportunities for consumers to view content received by mobile phones equipped with special antennas based on the DVB-H (Digital Video Broadcasting - Handheld) standard, Vodafone D2 said last week.

The announcement coincided with the opening of the 3GSM World Congress in Cannes, where one of the hot topics at this year's event was mobile TV.

The DVB-H standard, approved by the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) in November, was successfully tested last year in a pilot in Berlin. Vodafone participated in the pilot, together with Nokia, Koninklijke Philips Electronics and Universal Studios Networks Deutschland.

At Cebit, those interested in testing the new mobile TV service will be able to view several live broadcasts on a prototype mobile TV device developed by Siemens.

Vodafone doesn't expect to launch the broadcast mobile TV service before the end of 2006, at the earliest. "There is still a lot of development work going on in this area," said a spokeswoman for Vodafone D2.

Nokia, a key supplier of handsets to Vodafone, used its 7710 smart phone with a special antenna to demonstrate broadcast mobile TV technology to phone operators in Cannes. The demonstration, however, wasn't fully based on the DVB-H standard, requiring some proprietary technology.

Some operators are eyeing the World Cup soccer games in Germany next year as an opportunity to launch broadcast mobile TV services, but they might be out of luck. In a panel discussion in Cannes, an official from FIFA, soccer's international governing board, said the association is still undecided whether the small screens will do the sport justice.

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