According to silicon.com, Virgin Mobile is on track to launch the UK's first true mobile broadcast TV service, a rebadged version of BT's Movio product, in the autumn.
Movio, which completed a successful trial earlier in the year, uses the same frequencies as DAB digital radio but enhances them to provide a limited number of TV channels, a system known as DAB-IP but even if it shares the DAB frequencies, it's not the same as DMB which also shares the DAB frequencies.
Previous iterations of mobile TV in the UK, such as services provided by Orange and Vodaphone, have streamed the signal as internet protocol (IP) packets. This method uses a large amount of 3G bandwidth and the resulting expense forced operators to cap the number of hours that users could watch per month. Streaming mobile TV over 3G networks can also lead to a degraded service if there are many active users in the cell.
The first handset to feature the service will be based on HTC's Trilogy design, and has been co-designed by BT and UK company The Technology Partnership. The phone runs on Windows Mobile 5.0 and will be incorporated into Virgin's Lobster range of devices.
DAB-IP has long been expected to beat its current rival technology, DVB-H, to the market as the spectrum it needs is already available. It is not yet certain whether the spectrum needed for DVB-H will ever be made available but if it comes to fruition it will offer more channels than is possible over DAB-IP.
It is also understood that BT will announce details of a new mobile TV technology early next week.
During a Mobile TV conference, last week in Berlin, Dominic Strowbridge, Marketing Director BT Group, said that according to BT's Movio friendly user test, the users expect the full real time live TV experience, not specially produced shows and movies. Therefore the chances are good, that Virgin Mobiles TV offer will become a kind of place shift TV offer as well, with access to real TV channels, not just predefined snippets as you often has it with UMTS streamed content which is more a video stream than a TV stream.
Cheers ~ Arne