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EU commissioner's DVB-H pick criticized

Posted: 22 Mar 2007 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:mobile TV? DAB? DMB? DVB-H? WorldDMB?

European Union commissioner for Information Society and Media Viviane Reding has singled out DVB-H as the technology of choice for the region's mobile broadcasting. However, the European Mobile Broadcasting Council (EMBC) stressed that they recommended technology neutrality and said the Commission "should not favor any one technology over another."

EMBC, which includes major mobile telecoms operator, broadcaster, network provider and technology manufacturer from the country, passed a recommendation stating that, "there is no urgent need for specific new EU regulation to foster the introduction and development of mobile broadcasting." Rather, the market should be allowed to decide for itself which technologies are best suited for broadcasting TV, radio and data to mobile devices in Europe.

Reflecting on Reding's decision, The WorldDMB Forum, an international NGO that promotes the awareness, adoption and implementation of DAB/DMB worldwide using the Eureka 147 family of standards, believes the Commissioner's stance is dangerous and detrimental to the future of mobile broadcasting in Europe.

"It is vital for European industry that the market is not restricted to one specific technology but rather we are able to use different systems tailored to each market," said Quentin Howard, WorldDMB president. "Technology is a rapidly and continually evolving process and it would be damaging to Europe's economy and its citizens for the Commission to mandate one standard." He added that each country has its own unique requirements and market conditions, and mobile operators and broadcasters need flexibility to develop different business models.

Many European countries, including the U.K., Denmark, Switzerland, Norway, Belgium, Germany and Spain have already deployed portable and mobile broadcasting using DAB digital radio and Digital Multimedia Broadcasting (DMB), both of which are versions of a family of compatible European standards originally developed by the European-funded Eureka147 Project.

In the U.K., mobile TV is delivered using DAB-IP, while in Germany the DMB variant is the platform for its national mobile TV network. France has just announced its intention to adopt DMB. Other EU member states including Ireland, Italy, Portugal and Sweden are in trials or planning to adopt the DAB/DMB standard. Based on this, Howard said that DMB is a successful mobile TV platform deployed also in other countries such as Korea and China.

He added that WorldDMB and the DVB Forum are already working together to ensure that DAB/DMB and DVB-H2 (the next version of DVB-H) can be interoperable. Howard said, "The availability of spectrum is key to the roll-out of mobile TV and radio, and having a combination of DMB and DVB-H, for example, means mobile broadcasting can now start in most European countries without the need for the Commission to do anything at all." Meanwhile, the implementation of DVB-H in Europe will take time until analog TV is switched off.

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