MobiTV Combines Unicast & Multicast

Posted by Sam Churchill on

MobiTV (blog) says it will speed up the time between channel changes to less than a second and optimize cellular network backhaul by automatically switching video streams from unicast to multicast.

“We have more users in our system than all the IPTV users in Europe,” Kay Johansson, the company’s CTO, said in an interview with RCR Wireless News. The company said it has 4-million subscribers.

The company’s new Optimized Delivery Server will combine unicast and multicast distribution. If 50 subscribers are watching the same channel in one sector, the server will automatically begin streaming that channel in multicast to that group of customers, rather than relying on a solely unicast approach, which can be cumbersome and costly.

This new hybrid approach is expected to lower the cost of distribution and optimize backhaul requirements.

In-stream insertions for live and linear-clip content and post- and pre-roll ad placements for video-on-demand and downloaded content will all be possible with personalized targeting that will be based on each user’s profile information, the company said.

The new changes, including faster channel changing, are expected to be available next month.

MobiTV believes ATSC M/H offers the most viable opportunity for broadcast mobile TV services in the United States and has actively been involved in the standardization process for the past 18 months. ATSC-M/H (for Mobile/Handheld) would use digital TV for mobile reception.

The company plans to demo broadcast mobile TV service running over ATSC with interactive components at the NAB Show in Las Vegas this week. A-VSB has been proposed to the ATSC for its upcoming mobile and handheld standard ATSC-M/H.

“We can show we have technology that can make money for both the carriers and the broadcasters if they work together,” Johansson said.

A-VSB developed by Samsung Electronics and Rohde & Schwarz, and MPH proposed by Harris and LG Electronics are competing for a mobile television broadcast standard.

No timeframe has been announced for possible availability of ATSC-based A-VSB, MPH or Mobile-Pedestrian-Handheld mobile television, but officials hope to launch a system in time for the big analog shutdown in February, 2009.

A recent study commissioned by the NAB states that mobile DTV could pull in $2 billion in annual revenue for broadcasters by 2012 if a standard is adopted quickly and equipment is swiftly put into consumer’s hands. But mobile DTV services will only succeed if one universal standard is adopted by 2009, according to the report.

Meanwhile, other mobile television standards have already solidified, including; DVB-H, DVB-SH, MediaFLO, TDtv and MXtv in addition to the services offered over the cellular network such as MobiTV and Sling Player Mobile.

TDtv and MXtv can multicast live to multiple users or unicast to individual users — depending on channel demand — an advantage that television broadcasters, MediaFLO and DVB-H don’t have. In addition MXtv does not require a special radio receiver chip — the video stream is picked up over the same WiMAX silicon.

At NAB in Las Vegas, this week Qualcomm is showing off MediaFLO utilized for car entertainment system. For now, Qualcomm is hoping to spark imaginations with its concept media vehicle. The MediaFLO receiver is mounted in the rear center console, allowing the backseat passengers to control the 9″ VGA monitors mounted on the back of the headrests in front of them. MediaFLO works on a dedicated 700 MHz broadcast network, streaming QVGA (320 x 240 @ 15-30 fps) resolution without need for a line-of-sight connection.

Mobile Content Consumption:
iPhone, Smartphone and Total Market: January 2008





Any news or info via browser




Accessed web search




Watched mobile TV and/or video




Watched on-demand video or TV




Accessed Social Networking
Site or Blog




Listened to music on mobile




Source:M:Metrics. Data based on three-month moving average for period ending 31st January 2008, n = 31,389.
*Smartphones include devices running Windows, Symbian, RIM or Apple operating

Related Mobile television articles on DailyWireless include; What’s Dish Network Planning?, WiMAX TV from NextWave, BBCiPlayer on iPhone, MediaFLO: In Trouble?, YouTube Mobilizes, Motorola Does DVB-H, Italy Testing DVB-SH Mobile TV, Software Defined Radio: DVB-H, too?, Original Content on Sprint Mobile TV, The War on Mobile TV, ICO Wants Its Mobile TV – via DVB-SH, MobileTV: Modeo KOed by Crown, Mobile/Handheld TV: Killer App?, Mobile TV War at NAB and Gets Lucky.

Posted by Sam Churchill on Monday, April 14th, 2008 at 11:42 am .

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