British readers, whatch our for EastEnders, Coronation Street, CSI and Lost on your mobile phone. These are some of the TV programmes available to some 400 O2 customers, living and working in Oxford, will be able to watch live on a mobile during a trial starting October 2005.
O2 and Arqiva (previously known as NTL Broadcast) have teamed up with Nokia as well as the leading terrestrial and satellite broadcasters to kick-off the UK's first trial of full multi-channel mobile TV. 16 channels are being offered to O2 customers, including BBC ONE, BBC TWO, BBC News 24, ITV 1, ITV 2, Channel 4 and Five, which will provide a core of mainstream channels coupled with programmes from British Eurosport, Cartoon Network, CNN, Discovery Channel, MTV, ShortsTV, Sky News, Sky Sports News and Sky Travel.
Customers will be able to select their favourite programme from an on-screen service guide, search for specific items as well as set their handset to alert them when a show starts. The trial will run for up to six months and is designed to test and showcase the televisual capabilities of the next generation mobile services. It will look at how people choose to catch up on their favourite TV shows, how they watch the latest music videos and keep up to date with the news and sport when on the move, and provide an understanding of how much customers are willing to pay for the service.
The service is based on the DVB-H (digital video broadcasting - handheld) transmission technology and works by sending a signal to a digital TV receiver, which is attached to Nokia's 7710 smartphone, transforming it into a portable TV. DVB-H is ideally suited to sending high-quality, digital TV pictures from a single source to multiple users in a way that complements the one-to-one video streaming which is already possible via today's GPRS and 3G mobile data networks.
In addition to aggregating the content and operating the trial service, Arqiva is providing the DVB-H transmitter network that will cover an area of 120 sq km centred on Oxford. O2 customers taking part in the trial do not pay to watch the TV element of the trial, however all voice and data calls are charged under their existing tariff plan. Nokia has provided the handsets and is working on a new range of devices for the future with in-built DVB-H capabilities.