Virgin Mobile first to offer live digital mobile TV with BT Movio

MUMBAI: Live mobile TV is set to become a reality as British Telecom (BT) announced that Virgin Mobile will be the first mobile operator to sign up to the BT Movio broadcast digital TV and radio service for mobile phones.

Virgin Mobile will become the first mobile operator in Europe to offer its customers digital TV and radio content on a mobile device using broadcast technology.

The announcement of the deal coincided with the unveiling of the new handset which will screen the new TV service. The Trilogy, the world’s first DAB-IP enabled Smartphone, was unveiled at the 3GSM World Congress 2006.

Virgin Mobile will offer the broadcast service on a limited exclusive basis to its customers later this year giving its customers access to a wide range of digital TV content and more than 350 DAB digital radio stations nationwide broadcasting twenty-four hours a day.

Broadcast via the UK's existing digital audio broadcasting (DAB) network, the Virgin Mobile service will deliver a reliable, high-quality viewing and listening experience to an infinite number of mobile users.

BT Movio managing director Emma Lloyd said, "BT is at the forefront of innovation and the BT Movio service is the first of its kind in Europe. By taking the leap into broadcast TV for mobile, Virgin Mobile will be able to offer customers a real live TV experience. We are delighted that they have chosen our platform. Bringing the world's first DAB-IP enabled Smartphone to market is another huge achievement for BT and the beginning of a step change towards open standards in the area of TV broadcasting over DAB. By working with Microsoft and HTC we have been able to develop a handset that provides an easy to view, high quality experience, wrapped into a hi-spec media driven mobile phone. This will be vital in attracting mobile operators to the BT Movio service."

Virgin Mobile sales and marketing director Graeme Hutchinson said, "Virgin Mobile customers will be the first people in Europe to watch real broadcast TV over their mobile phones. It’s not downloaded; it’s not looped; it’s real TV just like you get at home, and it’s real DAB digital radio - crystal clear sound. We’re delighted to be working with BT Movio, Microsoft, HTC and others, to bring this service to British consumers, and to help develop one of the most technologically advanced phones ever. We are in no doubt that this is the world’s best telephone."

The mobile TV Smartphone has been developed jointly by BT, TTP, and HTC, one of the world's biggest original design manufacturers for mobile devices. This Smartphone is the world's first mobile device based on IP delivered over a broadcast network. The lightweight, Trilogy device features a 2.2" screen, ideal for consuming video content, and a range of other media driven features including removable storage and an integrated 1.3 mega pixel camera. Designed primarily around user feedback from the BT Movio pilot in the UK, the largest of its kind in Europe, the Trilogy is expected to have broad appeal among mobile users.

BT has developed a strategic relationship with Microsoft to enable a secure and efficient environment for delivering broadcast services on a mobile handset. Microsoft's Windows Media technologies, including Windows Media Video and Windows Media Audio Pro, enable BT Movio to deliver high-quality audio and video content over a DAB network using minimal bandwidth.

The BT Movio service also incorporates Windows Media Digital Rights Management (DRM) technology to ensure secure delivery of premium video and music content. Windows Media technologies integrate seamlessly with the Windows Mobile 5.0 operating system used by the HTC smartphones

Microsoft corporate vice president of Windows Digital Media Amir Majidimehr said, "The optimised capabilities of the Windows Media and Windows Mobile platforms are powering entirely new digital entertainment scenarios in the wireless space. Our collaboration with BT and HTC is breaking new ground for broadcast capabilities to mobile handsets and making mobile TV a reality for consumers."

BT Movio is the first wholesale TV offering of its kind in Europe and will be available in the future to all mobile operators in the UK.

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