If you've been waiting for ratification before purchasing a mobile handset capable of viewing broadcast TV, then you're in luck: the European Commission has finally picked DVB-H (Digital Video Broadcasting – Handheld) as the official Europe-wide standard.
The European Commissioner for the Information Society and Media Viviane Reding has said she hopes the decision will cement “certainty about the technology,
” and encourage adoption of the technology.
The decision on the EC's part to endorse a particular standard shouldn't be underestimated: although the DVB-H was selected as the de facto standard for mobile TV broadcasting some time ago, many European member states are still on the fence as to which of the several conflicting technologies to adopt. This guidance from the Commission should push the whole of the EU in the same direction, meaning that devices purchased in one member state will be able to pick up broadcasts in any EU state. Which for a mobile device, is sort of a requirement really.
DVB-H is a patented technology, and the holders of those patents will be rubbing their hands with glee at the news of EC endorsement. Commissioner Reding has stated, however, that she expects the patent holders to abide to the “FRAND – fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory – principles
” and make licensing costs low enough to enable “the wide adoption of the technology for the benefit of consumers.
The big question that has yet to be answered is this: does anyone actually want
broadcast TV on their mobile handset? Although there are advantages to the DVB-H system – unlike streaming video over a GPRS or 3G connection, it doesn't use airtime or rack up data transfer charges – I'm not convinced as to the benefits of watching my favourite shows on a 2” screen whilst I'm on the bus.
What do you think: will you make DVB-H a must-have feature of your next phone now it's a Europe-wide standard, or do you just use your handset to make calls? Let us know over in the forums