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Astro steps into mobile TV broadcasting space

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MUMBAI: Malaysia's leading cross-media operator Astro All Asia Networls PLC plans to explore the commercial side of mobile TV broadcasting. The company will make a formal announcement once a decision is made based on trial results and in consultation with the regulator.

The company joined hands with mobile operator Maxis Communications Berhad and global mobile device maker Nokia to showcase a live demonstration of Mobile TV broadcasting in Kuala Lumpur on 1 September. The showcase used the new Digital Video Broadcasting - Handheld (DVB-H) technology standard now undergoing extensive field trials in Europe, the USA and in other parts of Asia.

In this initial trial service, Astro provided the broadcast transmission for the event coverage with 4 live channels: TV1, TV3, Astro Ria and AEC, while Maxis supplied telecommunication and network services. Nokia is the technology provider for this showcase and has provided the network equipment and mobile devices used in the demonstration while Rohde & Schwarz provided the transmitters.

With this showcase, Malaysia becomes one of the leading countries globally to demonstrate DVB-H. Elsewhere in the Asia Pacific, the Mobile TV Broadcasting trial based on DVB-H technology has started in Australia. DVB-H has now been adopted by the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) as the Mobile Broadcasting Technology standard and many other regions of the world are expected to follow suit once their own trials are concluded, states an official release.

"Astro is proud to spearhead this technology demonstration. Mobile TV Broadcasting is a distinctive extension of our broadcast offer and with it we are able to further extend the reach of television to viewers beyond their sets in the living room", said Astro director of Business Affairs En. Azran Osman-Rani. "With the live mobile feeds, we plan to demonstrate that viewers can watch the latest in news and entertainment programming anytime, anywhere."

"The strong support of the government and industry players such as Astro and Maxis has helped make this showcase possible. This LIVE showcase, jointly with Astro and Maxis demonstrates the future of convergence between broadcast and mobile services & will help pave the way forward to show the myriad opportunities that exist for advertisers and players in the Mobile TV ecosystem in Malaysia, and what consumers can look forward to in the future'," Nokia Multimedia, Asia Pacific director, Rich Media & Music Programmes Jawahar Kanjilal said.

The Mobile TV Broadcasting demonstration used the DVB-H (Digital Video Broadcasting-Handheld) standard, which combines traditional television broadcast technology with elements such as mobility, smaller screens, indoor coverage, optimized use of battery and in-built antennae that are specific to handheld devices such as mobile phones. To receive the live television broadcast, the Nokia 7710 smartphone is paired with a Nokia streamer, the first mobile DVB-H receiver, designed specifically for pilots and trials, the release adds.

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