No clear demand for mobile TV in Western Europe, says IDC

LONDON, ENGLAND – AUGUST 2, 2006 – Demand for mobile TV is still unclear, but according to a new IDC Insight it is clear that moves are being made to ensure there is a dedicated pipeline to serve this market, as 3G is limited in terms of capacity and the need for multicast technologies is far greater.

"Current and future mobile services will not be a replacement for existing TV services," said Paolo Pescatore, research manager, Consumer European Wireless and Mobile Communications. "Strategies are such that mobile TV services will be complementary, thus offering an additional means for users to watch their chosen programming or content."

The market currently consists of streaming TV-like services over 3G, but the European market is still quite fragmented given issues surrounding spectrum availability as well as how many licenses will be awarded (which will be very few) and who will be successful.

Pescatore believes that there are plenty of strategic and technological decisions that need to be made. From a technology perspective there appears to be much more backing from vendors as well as industry support for DVB-H.

It may not appear to be the strongest from a technology perspective, however, when compared to the other standards in the marketplace such as MediaFLO. Another option is being evaluated, with two variants based on the digital audio broadcasting (DAB) standard: terrestrial-digital multimedia broadcasting (T-DMB) and enhanced packet mode.

From a strategic perspective operators and broadcasters need to converge two separate worlds and work in harmony to realize a unique user experience, and users need to demonstrate a willingness to pay for services that they deem to be of value to them, so the business model will be of paramount importance.

The IDC Insight Mobile TV and the Broadcasting Landscape in Western Europe (Doc #HW62N, July 2006) looks at developments in mobile TV in Western Europe. In particular, it focuses on the current marketplace for mobile TV streamed over current 3G networks and how this will evolve in the future, including further cellular updates as well as broadcasting.

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