Sydneysiders with selected mobile phone handsets are currently enjoying live broadcast television, directly to their mobile phones, thanks to a trial currently being conducted in Sydney. The trial is being coordinated by the Ai Group’s Australian Digital Suppliers Industry Forum (ADSIF) and includes Optus, Nokia, Nokia Siemens Networks, LG Electronics, Broadcast Australia and Australian Digital Testing.
The purpose of the broadcast mobile TV trial is to:
- Showcase current state of the art broadcast mobile TV capabilities and quality of service capabilities
- Raise awareness of broadcast mobile TV with industry, government and other key stakeholders
- Demonstrate the interoperability of current handsets with state the art head-end mobile TV encoders
- Further assess the transmission coverage of mobile TV broadcasts
- Obtain feedback on mobile TV usage from selected subscribers using their own mobile phones. This is the first time that this has been done on a broadcast mobile TV trial.
Australia has one of the highest rates per-capita of mobile phone ownership, so this trial will test the feasibility of introducing this technology to the market, bringing to Australia services similar to those already available in a number of other countries in Europe, Asia and the USA. ADSIF will demonstrate to the Australian Government the advantages of this service, in anticipation of the Government setting a date for the allocation of one of the two planned 7 MHz “datacasting” channels for mobile broadcast TV services.
Mobile TV will allow network operators to offer a diverse range of very high quality video services without additional load on their existing 3G capacities. In excess of 20 separate video streams can be provided within a 7 MHz UHF channel. Mobile TV also provides free-to-air broadcasters and subscription TV service providers with a new platform and mobile audience for their content.
The trial service is running nine video streams and is available to selected Optus mobile customers. The content includes:
- Seven Network – Seven Digital
- Australian Broadcasting Corporation – ABC1
- Special Broadcasting Service – SBS Digital
- Premier Media Group – Fox Sports News
- Australian News Channel – Sky News Business
- Turner Broadcasting – CNN International and Cartoon Network
- MTV Networks Australia – MTV
- Fox Interactive Media – MySpace Road Tour
Optus as the trial mobile service operator has engaged the trial participants and commissioned consumer research into their usage patterns. Mobile TV capable DVB-H handsets have been supplied by Nokia and LG and provide high-resolution screens and extended battery life. Nokia Siemens Networks provided the DVB-H encoding and head-end solution.
The high-power transmission service is being provided by Broadcast Australia from its Gore Hill broadcast facility and has provided overall system configuration and management of the end-to-end platform. Australian Digital Testing has been granted a scientific apparatus licence by the Australian Communications and Media Authority for the trial until 28 February 2009.