Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Salvaging the mobile TV nightmare?

It now looks like the EU has decided to push DVB-H as a standard for mobile TV across Europe. This worked well for us with GSM, pushing the mobile networks ten or years ahead of the US market, but I'm not so sure its going to help increase the pathetically low uptake of mobile TV.

Of course in the UK we already have mobile TV thanks to Virgin mobile, but it has few subscribers, and is in any case based on the DAB not DVB-H standard as we're unlikely to be able to free up the frequencies required for DVB-H until digital switchover which isn't for a few years yet.

Despite industry disquiet it seems that the network operators still view mobile TV as the killer application for those expensive 3G licenses. I think they're in for a surprise. Like video calling which, despite being heavily push by the 3 network in the UK from the outset, was never going to be the killer application they so needed. Mobile TV is a dead duck, like MMS and WAP before that, both of which were going to be the killer applications for the 3G networks.

When are the operators going to understand that what people want is to make voice calls and send text messages. If there is one, the killer application for 3G is packet data, and "real" Internet access. One thing the success of the iPhone should show is that the mobile web, the cut-down version of the Internet currently offered to mobile users, is dead. Just like mobile TV, although the operators just haven't realised it yet...

Update: I think the handset manufacturers have the right idea, I'll throw my two penny's worth into the ring and predict that there will be a lot more mainstream adoption for GPS then there ever will for mobile TV.