EU hit over mobile TV plan

Rival tech backers miffed by choice

Backers of Digital Multimedia Broadcasting technology, who claim that it is the world's most successful mobile TV standard, have slammed the European Commission for its "unilateral" support of the DVB-H standard in Europe.

EU Telecoms Commissioner Viviane Reding last week backed the Nokia- and Motorola-supported DVB-H (Digital Video Broadcasting for Handhelds), which is Europe's most widely adopted of the three technologies that enable mobile TV.

But WorldDMB said Reding is putting the growth of the nascent mobile TV market at risk by ignoring the very experts she asked for advice a year ago.

"At the rate technology is evolving, it can only be dangerous and imprudent to mandate just one standard for Europe," WorldDMB president Quentin Howard said. "By limiting the flexibility of individual businesses and constraining the whole of Europe to just one platform, the commission risks stunting the growth of mobile TV and damaging what, by its own estimation, could be a €20 billion ($27.6 billion) market."

WorldDMB claims that its members across Europe — including the U.K., Germany, Italy, France, Denmark and Norway — fear that mandating only DVB-H risks isolating Europe from the huge Asian markets of China and Korea, which already have adopted DMB for mobile TV.

Howard said that DVB-H uses UHF radio frequencies, and there simply isn't enough UHF spectrum available in many EU member countries until after the completion of the digital switchover — a process that will take until 2012 to complete.