Mobile TV is one of the fastest growing sectors in the new range of television services emerging, with Asia, Europe and the US all showing signs of a desire to watch TV on the move using mobile devices.
Yesterday, The New York Times published a piece about the phenomenon, how the services, and take up amongst consumers, vary around the world, and how the fight is still on to be the single standard of choice for mobile video.
Asia Leading The Way
At the moment, Japan is the world’s leader in direct mobile television, with over 20 million mobile phones thought to be equipped with television receivers, and capable of receiving signals.
South Korea is not too far behind, with 8.2 million mobile phones in use with the ability. Worldwide, the number of people who view mobile TV is estimated to be about 29.7 million, although this is expected to double by the end of 2008.
Asia may be leading the way, but Europe and America are gradually catching up.
In the US, AT&T starting a mobile TV service just last week, and with 71.4 million current phone customers, it only needs a small percentage to take up the service to become a success.
The service has started with 10 channels on offer, which customers have to pay $15 a month to receive. One of the channels is Pix, which includes moves from Sony Pictures, so the content isn’t all bad.
Europe Catching Up
In Europe, Italy and Switzerland are leading the way. 40,000 Swiss watch a 100 second news bulletin on their mobile phones, while over the Alps in Italy, a million people pay heavy subscription fees for the privilege of watching mobile TV.
However well mobile television is currently doing, it needs a standard broadcasting system to emerge. At the moment, Europeans generally use DVB-H, while in the States, a rival standard called MediaFlo is currently used by AT&T and Verizon. Asia uses other standards again.
A Single Broadcasting Standard
Lars Felber, product marketing manager at Elgato said:
“It is fair to say that no single global standard has emerged as dominant yet. What appears to be emerging is a collection of different, complementary technologies.”
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