Mobile TV gets closer to home

People taking part in Ireland's mobile TV service have been given Nokia N92 phones to use

Mobile operator O2 is trialing digital television for mobile phones in Ireland, starting today. Known as DVB-H (digital video broadcasting - handheld) it delivers digital TV to your mobile phone.

13 channels have been made available, making it comparable to our Freeview digital TV service. Trialists have been given a Nokia N92 handset to watch the service on.

The trial is showing Irish channels RTE1, RTE2 and TV3, as well as Sky Sports, Sky News, Setanta Sports and The Discovery Channel and various interactive music and games channels.

Gerry McQuaid, commercial director O2 Ireland, said: "Mobile TV will greatly enhance the range of services to users and is an exciting progression in the evolution of mobile entertainment".

A trial of the same technology was run by O2 in Oxford last year. Heralding it as "a great success", O2 said almost two-thirds of the trialists wanted such a service permanently in the UK.

But there is no digital mobile broadcasting confirmed for the UK, for now at least. Extra bandwidth is needed to broadcast digital TV to mobiles. It's thought mobile companies will bid for the analogue TV spectrum to enable such services when it goes up for auction later next year.

Different standards

DVB-H is one standard of broadcasting digital TV to mobile devices; it's used in Finland, Italy, the USA, Vietnam, France, Germany and Spain, amongst other countries.

DMB (Digital Multimedia Broadcasting), a competing standard, is used in South Korea, Germany, France and Switzerland, with trials running in China and Indonesia.

Chip manufacturer Qualcomm announced last month that it was producing a multi-standard chip set capable of receiving different standards of mobile digital TV. This would enable one handset to work in lots of different countries.