updated 04:25 pm EDT, Wed July 18, 2007
Europe Chooses DVB H
European Commission officials today announced that they had chosen DVB-H as the preferred format for mobile TV in Europe, setting the basis for any future cellphones and other handhelds that would offer digital broadcasts on the continent. Created by Nokia and already in place for phones such as the Nokia N77, the Digital Video Broadcast - Handheld standard was described as the "strongest contender" among its rivals and could even become mandatory depending on the business climate, the Commission said. The move is intended to eliminate confusion and ensure fair competition between handset makers.
The declaration represents a major setback for companies such as LG and Qualcomm, who have promoted formats such as T-DMB and MediaFLO respectively but have had little success in encouraging their use outside of the formats' home countries. T-DMB is so far used only in Korea by several phone and GPS device makers, while MediaFLO is only in widespread commercial use through Verizon's V CAST TV in the US.
Qualcomm business development VP Omar Javaid said he was "baffled" by the decision and said that it was frequency rights, rather than the need for a common platform, that was holding up the growth of mobile digital TV in Europe.