HiWire [not to be confused with JiWire], announced a 24-channel lineup for its upcoming 700MHz mobile TV broadcast trial in Las Vegas. It’s more than double the eight-channel lineup currently offered by rival MediaFLO USA, notes RCR News.
The Aloha Partners subsidiary partnered with SES Americom to deliver the programming. Aloha Partners is the largest licensee of 700 MHz spectrum in the U.S.. In Las Vegas two 6MHz UHF channels will be used: 54 and 59. Aloha Partners owns access to these channels in 80% of the top 100 markets in the US.
HiWire’s mobile television system, which uses the DVB-H standard, will include seven channels from Discovery Communications; six channels from MTV Networks (CMT, Comedy Central, MTV, Nickelodeon, Spike TV and VH1); two channels from Turner Broadcasting (CNN Mobile Live and Cartoon Networks/Adult Swim Mobile); Anime Network; E!; Fox News Channel; Travel Channel; The Weather Channel; MavTV; and AccuWeather.com.
“The HiWire SES Americom joint mobile TV trial is delivering three times the number of broadcast quality television channels of any other U.S. mobile TV system being utilized today,” said Bill Squadron, president of SES Americom’s IP prime division.
“Our trial will be a historic milestone as we have amassed the largest channel lineup of high-quality, streaming mobile TV ever trialed by consumers” said Scott Wills, president and COO of HiWire. “We all hope to gain new insights about mobile TV viewer’s habits and needs.”
Aloha owns two 700 MHz channels (at UHF Channel 54 and 59). Qualcomm’s MediaFLO, by contrast, owns only one 6 MHz slot (UHF Channel 55). Up for auction early next year will be UHF Channel 56. Another mobile television startup, Modeo is also using DVB-H, but at 1.67 GHz, a much higher frequency.
Actually, more than half a dozen competing systems for mobile television have been rolled out. They include:
- Qualcomm’s MediaFLO
- DVB-H (Modeo, Aloha Partners, European broadcasters)
- DVB-T (Europe’s Terrestrial DTV). The DVB Project is the demonstrating a scheme that allows a DVB-T multiplex to contain one or more DVB-H services alongside a high-definition DVB-T service in the same 6 MHz channel. The co-existence of a 13.8 Mbps high-definition television signal and a 5.5 Mbps DVB-H signal within a 19.3 Mbps stream. It uses Hierarchical Modulation, embedded as a High Priority service within a Low Priority DVB-T stream.
- Digital Multimedia Broadcasting (DMB) is a digital radio transmission system for sending multimedia. It comes in two favors; S-DMB (for Satellite) and T-DMB (for Terrestrial). It has been deployed successfully in South Korea and Japan, and also used in Europe, using dedicated “digital radio” channels. Spectrum is available across Europe in the L-Band (1452–1492 MHz) and Band III (174–240 MHz). T-DMB can often provide mobile TV faster than DVB-H, which must wait for UHF spectrum to become available.
- IP Wireless TDtv uses 5 MHz of unused spectrum for Mobile TV.
- Mobile WiMAX TV (using modified MobiTV)
- MobiTV Cellular-based (unicast) service offered by Sprint & AT&T.
- Verizon’s V-Cast Cellular-based (unicast) service offered over Verizon’s EV-DO network.
US-backed ATSC wants to maintain compatibility with ATSC digital television for mobile television — and maintain their lock on ATSC royalties. DVB-H proponents say ATSC uses ghost-prone 8-VSB modulation rather than COFDM, which is generally thought to be better suited for the job.
European officials have backed a single broadcast standard (DVB-H) for mobile TV services across Europe. DVB-H competes with Qualcomm’s MediaFlo technology, which would be forbidden in Europe if the commission were to issue the mandate.
WiMAX is two-way. It allows WiMAX television to automatically switch from unicasting to multicasting (depending on demand). That’s more flexible than either cellular (unicast-only) or broadcast (multicast-only). Nokia plans to sell WiMAX phones by early next year.
Mobile television revenues will increase to more than $1.8 billion in 2011, says Daniel Winterbottom, a senior analyst at Informa and co-author of Informa’s “Mobile Entertainment” report.
Datamonitor predicts mobile TV will reach 155.6 million subscribers worldwide by the end of 2012, up from around 4.4 million mobile TV subscribers today. Mobile video revenues in the U.S. totaled $146 million in Q1 2007, growing 198 percent year-over-year.