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Philips' Nexperia promises on-the-go TV

Posted: 03 May 2004 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:philips electronics? universal studios networks? vodafone? tv?

Philips Electronics N.V. is joining forces with Nokia, Universal Studios Networks and Vodafone to perform what it calls a litmus test of full-scale digital broadcasting and mobile convergence services. Dubbed as the Broadcast and Mobile Convergence (BMCO) project, the four big names will explore the new market opportunities around interactive and TV-like services at home and on-the-go--ushering a new viewing and mobile experience for consumers.

Steve Turner, business development manager of consumer and multimedia group at Philips, said that BMCO will "provide the end-to-end infrastructure for this convergence." It will also look at the feasibility of receiving IP datacast with standard DVB-Terrestrial (DVB-T) networks using DVB-Handheld (DVB-H), proving that end-to-end systems exist and thus create the business perspective.

A four-month field trial is scheduled to begin this month in Berlin, Germany. Turner says that Berlin was chosen because of its all-digital environment. "As early as August 2003, the analog terrestrial broadcast in Berlin came to a close. Berlin is an excellent testbed for us to trial these new mobile and terrestrial broadcast services," he said.

On the occasion of the launch of DVB-T in Berlin, a hybrid network services platform will be set up, which will open up opportunities for new kinds of services for stationary and mobile applications. Within a pilot project, user requirements as well as economic, technical and regulatory requirements for such new applications will be examined.

Core hardware of prototype

Philips' Nexperia platform (PNX8526) will provide the multimedia-processing engine for Philips' first-generation converged services prototype consumer terminal, mixing software from both the broadcast and mobile-phone industries.

"Nexperia was chosen specifically for the software. It can house a Linux environment and load very quickly all the applications software for mobile-phone and digital broadcast interactivity," Turner said. "We have a lot to squeeze into a small space that's why Nexperia was chosen. We could effectively take the Linux kernel and load a lot of software in a very short span of time."

Early discussions about the trial lead to DVB-T's high power requirements. Obviously, for a mobile-phone user, adding TV-like services would tend to drain the battery, and ultimately affect the handheld performance. Turner said that using the new DVB-H standard would ease the power issue, as it uses time-slicing techniques to send data in bursts, thus extending the battery life of handsets.

Other discussions prior to the trial include whether people would want to watch on a small-screen phone for long periods of time. "After the trial, we expect some of the features and functions to become permanent; some will have to be dropped at a certain gate," Turner added.

The BMCO trial will be using 20 Nokia 7700 units and 20 portable Web pads developed by Philips.

Jerico Abila

Electronic Engineering- Times

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