Global Sources
EE Times-Asia
Stay in touch with EE Times Asia
EE Times-Asia > RF/Microwave

EC backing for DVB-H 'mystifies' DMB group

Posted: 23 Jul 2007 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:EC backing? T-DBM? DVB-H? mobile TV?

Reacting to recent statements by the European Commission (EC) endorsing DVB-H, members of WorldDMB said they "continue to be mystified" with the EC's unilateral support of DVB-H as mobile TV standard in Europe.

The group referred to EC Commissioner Viviane Reding's July 18 statement that European governments and the industry should encourage the implementation of DVB-H for mobile TV reception, adding that the commission could mandate DVB-H as a common standard.

The WorldDMB trade body stressed T-DMB is the world's most successful mobile TV standard with millions of devices already in the market. It is widely used in Korea, and is the only European technology for mobile TV sanctioned by China's state regulator.

WorldMB added that Reding ignored the commission's own expert device in insisting on a single technology, and that her stance, rather than being a positive for European companies and investments, "threatens jobs and investments" in Europe.

The group stressed that the EC consulted with "all main industry players" via the European Mobile Broadcasting Council, but ignored its counsel, which advocated platform neutrality for mobile TV in Europe. The EC also ignored the advice of device manufacturers who say that the need for only one technology is unnecessary.

Multistandard approach
Quentin Howard, president of WorldDMB, commented: "We, like most of the industry, have always advocated a multistandard approach including DMB and DVB-H. Europe's citizens and economy will not benefit from EC intervention that restricts technology and innovation."

WorldDMB members from across Europe including the United Kingdom, Germany, Italy, France, Denmark and Norway believe that mandating only DVB-H risks isolating Europe when the huge Asian markets of China and Korea have already adopted DMB for mobile TV.

Indeed, early this month, Italian public broadcaster RAI announced it has opted for DMB instead of DVB-H for mobile TV services. Stefano Ciccotti, CEO of network provider RaiWay, said that a national DVB-H network would have cost $41 million, while extending the existing DMB network in Italy would cost just $11 million.

One of the Commission's key requirements is that a mobile TV device works seamlessly in all 27 European Union (EU) states. However, Howard said, "Interoperability is an ideal which has little to do with old fashioned ideas about a single technology. One indisputable fact is that spectrum is not available in every state for the DVB-H standard. But perhaps the biggest challenge to interoperability will be the different encryption standards selected by various EU states and telecoms operators."

The commission, Howard warns, has not addressed these major barriers to interoperability.

Strong response
WorldDMB noted that DVB-H would have to wait up to five years for spectrum to become available in many countries, while T-DMB allows the majority of European states to roll out mobile TV services immediately.

It adds interoperable silicon chips have already been developed so that years before DVB-H spectrum is available in some states, receivers capable of delivering DAB, T-DMB and DVB-H via one chip will be available.

Anthony Sethill, CEO of digital radio and mobile TV chip specialist Frontier Silicon, said that, while being standards agnostic, "we see little benefit from Europe restricting itself to DVB-H. In many countries where spectrum is at a premium, limiting mobile TV broadcasts to just DVB-H will severely hamper its uptake and will weaken European companies looking to compete in regions where other standards are prevalent."

The WorldDAB group also queried the commission's suggestion that DVB-H could utilize spectrum in L-band and so bypass the need to wait for spectrum to become available. It stressed access to L-band is an essential part of the successful roll out of DAB/DAB+ and DMB services in Europe. Using it as a "fall-back" for DVB-H could lead to fragmentation of L-band and render it incompatible for use in Europe. This would seriously damage the very interoperability the EU is keen to promote.

It added that to "steal" L-band spectrum for DVB-H would undermine the potential for free-to-air audio services using DAB-based technology in Europe and could permanently damage digital rollout in many countries.

"It is astonishing, in a democracy, that Madame Reding would like to mandate one technology over another for mobile TV in Europe. All of us in the broadcasting industry know the different prerequisites in terms of population, topography and spectrum availability requires different technologies to be cost and spectrum efficient," commented Kenneth Lundgren, managing director, Factum Electronics AB.

The group said T-DMB has been adopted by many countries in Europe and beyond; spectrum is already available for immediate roll out; and it is already interoperable with other standards. Being a European technology, developed from EU funding and ratified in ETSI standards, many high-tech European companies and jobs have already been created to support T-DMB. The Commission should explain its logic in excluding successful European standards, such as DAB/DAB+/DMB from its list of recommended technologies.

- John Walko
EE Times Europe

Article Comments - EC backing for DVB-H 'mystifies' DMB...
*? You can enter [0] more charecters.
*Verify code:


Visit Asia Webinars to learn about the latest in technology and get practical design tips.

Back to Top