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A new standard extension to DVB-T2 promises to get us excited again about getting TV to handsets

This is the standard that should have bene launched instead of DVB-H, but has it come 5 yeras too late?


Published: 18 August, 2011


We have always said that the right way to send TV to a mobile phone was to a) send it in faster than real-time bursts to cut battery cost by some 90% in portable devices and b) bundle it with existing broadcasts so that it needs no spectrum or network of its own - and those rules were more or less followed in ISDB-T and ATSC M/H.

Now there is the prospect, perhaps 3 to 5 years too late, of the same thing happening in Europe, with DVB-T2 coming out last month in a Lite version (DVB-T2 Lite) that allows a mobile signal of about 1 Mbps to be dropped into a multiplex with HD signals.

The BBC built a test bed to demonstrate this even before the standard extension was published and is showing it from a single transmitter sending the UK HD multiplex of TV programs with a mobile version with its signal power boosted to reach moving devices indoors, slotted in-between HD segments. As an idea it's not original, but if this had been announced instead of DVB-H, it would have been an obvious hit, and we'd all have TV on a phones by now.

But this may have come way too late in the day, as Tablet and smartphone video delivery is being dominated by WiFi and someone will still have to find a way to put low power DVB-T2 chips inside popular devices.

Given the failure of DVB-H to take hold just about anywhere, there is no guarantee that this will work commercially, but at least it is under the control of broadcasters and will cost them not very much. The next step will be to put the demodulation effort into software only, so that just about any broad spectrum radio chip can pick up the signal and from there on it becomes just software powered by say a PC or Tablet chip.

Will cellular operators find a reason to make the meager adjustments to Tablets needed to watch TV? We think probably not, and even if they do, it will take time, and lots of European signals to be sent like this, as well as the sponsorship of broadcasters like the BBC, plus German and French broadcasting interest, before anyone sits up and takes notice. But it's start. For a full version of this story go to

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