It's basically a pocketable broadcast receiver that turns Wi-Fi-enabled phones and personal media players into mobile TVs.
The Mobile Broadcast Receiver has been developed by Packet Video (PV) and we saw it in action on an iPod touch. Essentially, the PV hardware decodes a digital TV signal and repurposes it for use on the playback device.
Apparently the receiver can tell what video codecs the playback device uses and adapt the stream accordingly - so it used QuickTime for the iPod touch, for example. And the quality was impressive, too.
Opening up mobile TV
Unfortunately, you can't get your hands on PV's Wi-Fi gizmo just yet. The product will be available later this year, but PV usually works with mobile operators rather than selling direct to consumers. PV wants to get operators on board as a way of selling the device – perhaps with their branding.
Let's not underestimate the impact that this technology could have. Rather than replace your existing phone with a model that features dedicated mobile TV support, PV's technology can simply add-in the new functionality.
It won't be the neatest solution. The device measures 6.4 cm wide by 1.8 cm high x 4 cm deep - about the size of a matchbox. But it will open up mobile TV access to devices that exist right now, like the N95, the iPhone, HTC Touch and so on.
According to PV, the mobile broadcast receiver will be available in versions for all major mobile broadcast standards, including DVB-H and MediaFLO, as well as for WiMAX.
PV adds that the device is certainly compatible with the Nokia N series mobile phones, the Apple iPhone and HTC Smartphone devices and will work with many others (as long as there's Wi-Fi connectivity present).
PV currently supplies the multimedia software that enables the Orange World service. Its software is used in more than 200 million devices worldwide, spanning more than 200 different models.
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Dan (Twitter, Google+) is TechRadar's Former Deputy Editor and is now in charge at our sister site T3.com. Covering all things computing, internet and mobile he's a seasoned regular at major tech shows such as CES, IFA and Mobile World Congress. Dan has also been a tech expert for many outlets including BBC Radio 4, 5Live and the World Service, The Sun and ITV News.