Five European countries this week established a coalition to push mobile TV services over the DMB and DAB network standards.
The International DMB Advancement Group (IDAG) was founded by representatives from the Netherlands, Norway, the UK, Malta and Italy, with the goal of promoting TV, radio and data services via DMB, DAB and DAB+ with a nod towards enhanced functionality via other networks, such as 3G and wifi.
The group said it will focus on creating a bigger Pan-European market for DMB terminals through purchasing partnerships, collaborations with other companies and organizations, coordination of technical solutions and the development of business models.
“IDAG helps create a much bigger market for DMB related devices and services across Europe and beyond. The members will support each other’s services, ensure faster experience sharing and save time and money on coordination of systems and processes,” said Gunnar Garfors, president of IDAG and CEO of broadcaster NMTV, one of the members.
Last month Norway’s three biggest broadcasters announced the successful launch of six free-to-air TV channels via DMB.
The service, launched by the Norwegian Mobile TV Corporation (NMTV), is a joint venture between the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation (NRK), TV 2 and Modern Times Group (MTG).
Licence-funded broadcaster NRK said that DMB is seen as the best technology in Norway due to its cost efficient coverage of large and rural areas. DMB receivers are also compatible with DAB digital radio that is available to 80 per cent of the population in Norway.
By using a MiniTV receiver or compatible mobile handset, the free-to-air channels can be received in and around Greater Oslo while on the move.
The TV channels on offer are NRK1, NRK2, NRK3, TV 2, TV 2 News 24 and Viasat TV 3. A further 15 DAB digital radio channels can also be received by all DMB handsets, and additional services providing interactivity, traffic information and on demand programmes will be offered later in 2009.
NMTV’s DMB licence is valid until July 2011 and may be lengthened if the initial period proves a success. Public service broadcaster NRKs channels will remain free to air throughout the period, while the commercial owners TV 2 and MTG are planning to introduce pay TV channels.
With pricing seen as one of the main obstacles, mobile TV has largely failed to gain traction outside of Japan and South Korea, where the free to air terrestrial TV model has proved popular, so it will be interesting to see how well Norway’s offering is received. The Netherlands and Malta will launch DMB services later in 2009, while Italy and the UK are currently testing DMB on a smaller scale.
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