Europe must adopt the DVB-H standard of mobile digital TV broadcasting or face being left behind, the European Commission warned yesterday.

Digital Video Broadcasting - Handheld (DVB-H) is an open standard developed by independent body the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI). Its rival technology is digital multimedia broadcasting (DMB).

In an interview with Dow Jones Newswires, European Commissioner for Information Society and Media Viviane Reding explained that she favoured the DVB-H standard.

Reding and the European Commission have high expectations for digital TV on mobile devices, estimating that it will generate around 11.4bn euros worldwide, in 2009.

However, the Society and Media commissioner believes the time to act on accepting a standard is now, adding that she "wasn't very impressed with the progress the industry and governments in Europe have made so far".

"The time for decisions is now - otherwise mobile TV will miss the boat to the European soccer championships in 2008," she said.

In South Korea mobile TV is thriving, albeit with DMB. The country offers two services: a terrestrial service and a premium satellite service. China is attempting to launch a similar service in time for the Beijing Olympic Games in 2008.

The UK has no such service as the spectrum needed to broadcast is not available. It is believed mobile operators will bid for the spectrum currently being used for terrestrial analogue TV in order to launch mobile TV.