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Mobile content delivery platform DVB-H TV to grow in importance in Europe

MUMBAI: Digital video broadcasting (DVB-H), the standard used for bringing broadcast services to handheld receivers, is set to gain momentum in Europe by 2008.

With the full-fledged rollout of DVB-H mobile television (TV), the current role of downloaded video content (downloads and streaming) in providing access to TV and other forms of video entertainment is likely to change.

Frost & Sullivan analyst Pranab Mookken says, "By 2011, video services like downloading would be used as a sales channel for specific video content while DVB-H takes over as the primary channel for mobile video services,"

Manufacturers will launch DVB-H mobile TV on a trial basis by 2008 after dealing with ambiguities regarding spectrum allocation. Meanwhile, operators are likely to deploy stopgap solutions involving multicasting technologies in addition to using existing cellular networks and video services to introduce TV in Europe.

Notwithstanding this delay, the DVB-H standard is likely to witness high adoption rates in Europe. It was developed by the digital video broadcast (DVB) project, an industry-led consortium of over 260 professionals from over thirty-five countries. The project had already established a terrestrial transmission system for Europe in the form of DVB-T, but the industry still lacked a standard that could support handheld terminals.

CThe consortium developed DVB-H signals to meet the huge demand for such a standard. DVB-H currently has the ability to utilize existing DVB-T infrastructure, that is, it is backward compatible with DVB-T and its content is delivered in the form of Internet Protocol (IP) datacasts that are similar to that distributed on the Internet. This, along with the standards specification which ensure maximum conservation of handset/terminal battery power and thereby allay customer fears of running out of battery for communication purposes, will facilitate its adoption in Europe.

Moreover, mobile TV using DVB-H will be easy to use and will offer a better experience for its customers. This will automatically translate into increased viewership. The report notes that initially, companies will keep prices low, until business models, service offerings and quality levels become satisfactory. But by 2010, service providers might augment prices to anywhere between 7 Euros and 12 Euros per month.

Mokken adds, "The DVB-H mobile TV market is set to grow at an explosive rate and touch Euro 6.80 billion in revenues by 2011. The mobile average revenue per user (ARPU) is also likely to rise as prices increase." The biggest beneficiaries of this development will undoubtedly be the terminal providers that will gain tremenously from the revenue influx prompted by the need for compatible handsets. Service providers, especially mobile operators, will see a rise in their ARPU through the deployment of value-added services (VASs) in the form of DVB-H mobile TV. The channel will also help in making operators' retention and loyalty strategies more intimate and effective.

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