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Can DVB-H provide broadcaster access?

16 August 2007

According to Envivio’s Alain Fernando-Santanda, mobile TV may be controlled in the future by broadcasters – not the telecoms operators who are currently trying to position themselves for dominance in this marketplace. Fernando-Santanda is chief marketing officer at Envivio, and he reckons that broadcast companies are well positioned to take advantage of DVB-H network roll-outs, writes Heather McLean.

Broadcasters will be able to bypass the mobile operators who are currently clamping down on ownership of the consumer, and transmit programmes straight to all handsets with an antenna. He commented: “The problem today is that broadcasters do not have access to the end consumer. They have to go through all these pipes to get to them, and they have to pay to get through those pipes, so they lose money.”

Fernando-Santanda stated that as mobile phones begin to incorporate appropriate antennas, they will be able to pick up television broadcasts in the same way that the ‘rabbit ears’ antennas for old TV sets used to work.

He explained: “Mobile phones on the market today can receive two types of signal, 3G and broadcast video signals (like DVB-H and MediaFLO). All you need to do is add an antenna to the mobile phone and it becomes a little TV set. The broadcaster can invest in a head-end and openly transmit its content. The cell phone operator will have to accept that, or put a lock on the phones so they can’t receive these signals, or charge a fee.”

This will mean a lot to broadcasters who wish to increase their brand presence in the mobile TV marketplace, stated Fernando-Santanda. “The bottom line is the broadcaster can get much closer to the end user. For branding, companies such as the BBC will be able to touch the consumer as the BBC, and not via an operator.”

Fernando-Santanda said this is a massive opportunity that the broadcasting community should prepare to take advantage of. “The telcos are worried about the broadcasters, and also the internet.”

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