AVI / MPEG /  WMV /  RM /  MOV /  VOB all Video Joiner in one Movie Joiner


  Deutsch       Español      




Movie Joiner


DVD Converter


Movie Converter


Movie Splitter


Movie Downloader


Photo Gallery








Useful Links




All in One! Movie Joiner, Movie Splitter and Movie Converter together!

Mobile TV comes of age

The value chain of mobile TV is starting to coming together, but there are still very different approach to providing streaming video to a handset. Nick Flaherty reports.

The market for mobile TV is potentially huge, with tens of millions of units predicted to ship in the next few years. Semiconductor giants and startups are all eyeing the market for chips to receiver broadcast TV on mobile phones, but

A flexible solution for all the different standards – from DVB-H, T-DMB and IP DAB in Europe, to DVB-H and MediaFLO in the US and T-DMB, IP DAB and other standards in Asia – is desirable to allow handset makers to have one platform that they can easily modify for the different markets.

While DVB-H commercial services are now in Italy and Germany and Spain will follow next year, and the Lobster service starting in the UK from virgin Mobile and BT Movio using IP-DAB, there are also issues of spectrum allocation across Europe.

But there are other ways to provide mobile TV. IP Wireless in Chippenham has been developing a system based on the TDMA technology that allows operators to use their existing spectrum to provide broadcast TV services to handsets via an extra modem in the PC or handset. That technology is rolling out across Japan this month and is being trialled by Orange, Vodafone and O2 in Bristol.

“The key driver is cost,” said Roger Nichol, vice president of technology at IP Wireless. “In Europe operators are really starting to get behind this as a viable way to deliver the same capabilities they do over their unicast networks.”

Vodafone also is looking to use its 3G network for video rather than broadcast technologies, and mainly for business reasons. It needs to recoup its investment in 3G spectrum, but needs new technologies in handsets outside of the mobile TV chips, and want to link video to its other broadband and Internet services, both on the handset and in the home.

Reconfigurable receiver

For mobile broadcast TV, Mirics Semiconductor has developed a reconfigurable radio chip that can handle all the mobile TV formats in the world. But as a small company it has to be clever and work with other suppliers in the handset supply chain in order to grow, says CEO Simon Atkinson.

“The mobile broadcast market is extremely fragmented by multiple standards and band allocations,” he said. “To date, companies have typically focused on supporting one or two of the multitude of standards. This fragmentation has been identified as the principal bottleneck to the wider adoption of mobile broadcast technologies; the small volumes available for any handset supporting a single standard do not justify its development.”

“The multi-standard TV tuner has been heralded as the 'holy grail ambition' for mobile handset design and is a key development target for our competitors for the next 12 months. Unlike our competitors, Mirics is delivering this technology today, in the form of working silicon which is available to sample now,” he said. “The MSI001 supports all current digital terrestrial broadcast standards, and analogue radio, across all terrestrial broadcast bands. It also has the lowest cost implementation and highest performance of any mobile broadcast receiver currently available.”

The MSI001 is initially aimed at consumer digital DAB + FM radio receivers and video on mobile phones. As it is reconfigurable, it changes the receiver architecture - from direct conversion to superhetereodyne to dual conversion superhet – depending on the frequency and the protocol.

The BiCMOS chip is being made by Jazz Semiconductor in a 0.35um process, and so can be priced at $3.50 in low volumes, making it comparable to the price of FM radio chips in cell phones today.

Sony has been at the forefront of chip design at it's Basingstoke centre, and has developed its own DVB-H chips for Sony-Ericsson and the open market. Chris Clifton, director of wireless at Sony Semiconductor sees battery life as the key problem, particularly as the mobile TV is added to several other radio technologies in the handset such as WiFi and Bluetooth.

“All this is making it very difficult for the battery to cope,” he said. “A mixed signal tuner is more challenging from a power point of view and that's than opportunity for us, particularly in the power amplifier design.”

He points to recent trails that have shown that a substantial amount of mobile TV viewing happens in the home where reception is not as good, so improving the link margin on the radio front end is vital. Systems that do not have an external antenna sea 5dB drop in margin, and having multiple antennas close together inside the handset can cause another 10 to 15dB drop, and all this leads to reduction in the battery life and the talk time as more power is needed to maintain the link.

Neil Johnson, principal engineer at the mobile multimedia business unit of Broadcom, pointed to the opportunities for the applications processor. Broadcom, which has its set top box chip design in Bristol and the video chip design in Cambridge, is building up its teams in both locations for mobile TV, and it is the system design that is important – the size of the screen, how the channels change, how all the different service are access. This is key for the applications processor.

“Developing demodulators and tuners is expensive and slow and will soon become commoditised into a single chip solution,” he said. “I believe the differentiation are the usability, connectivity and social networking, and the user interface design is critical for the success of the product.”

Frontier Semiconductor has launched the industry’s first single chip that handles both major mobile TV standards in both the baseband and the RF, ahead of established players such as Texas Instruments and starts such as Siano and Newport Media.

Frontier is the major supplier of T-DMB chips into Korea, and its Paradiso single chip handles both the DVB-H and T-DMB standards using the UCC digital signal processor from Imagination Technologies. This is scheduled for mass production in 2008, says Mark Hopgood, mobile TV business development manager. “TV has to get into the mass market, mid range ‘fashion’ phones to be successful so we get more flexibility by mopping up everything in the front end [chip],” he said.

“There may be a market for a portable player that has all the different standards loaded but for handsets we are looking more at a common platform where different software loads give different functions,” he said.

DibCom has also launched a new version of its digital terrestrial DVB-T chip for lower cost applications, and sees cost optimisation for different markets, rather than a single chip solution, as more important. “This is for three different reasons," said Yanick Levy, CEO Of DiBcom. “The basebands are different because there is different price pressure in the different markets and we want to be the most cost effective,” he said.

“We are already driven by cost but at this point we think this is the best cost because the baseband is still quite large compared to the RF so it better to shrink that alone. At some point, perhaps in 08 there will be a system on a chip but not at this point,” he said.

“I would challenge any fixed function architecture in size and power consumption against ours,” said Hossein Yossaie, CEO of Imagination Technologies which licenses designs to other chip makers. “Yes, if you do these things with a big digital signal processor then yes, I agree, there is overhead to programmability. But if you design a programmable demodulator that can reuse resources such as memory more efficiently, particularly in complex standards, then there is no overhead.”

Integrating the modem into the applications processor is still good, he says. “We are talking to almost all the applications chip makers, and in 90nm our demodulator is less than 5mm sq as it uses the system memory. At 65nm its less than 3mm sq, so I don’t see what all the fuss is about with a fixed function device.”

US startup Newport Media is also planning a single chip in 2008 for DVB-H and T-DMB, as is another start up, Siano, while TI is upgrading its Hollywood single chip to add T-DMB to DVB-H.

Streaming, not broadcast

But the world’s largest phone operator, Vodafone, sees more potential in streaming video to phones over the 3G network, rather than broadcast. It worries about the broadcasters getting revenue directly from the ads on the video service, bypassing the phone operator who, after all, has subsidised the phone.

So it is using the new HSDPA and HSUPA technologies for streaming video to handsets and combining this with internet access, access to other videos such as YouTube and other broadband services, says Steve Harrop, technical architect for Vodafone's mobile applications and content services.

The component suppliers see a battle ahead. “I think there is going to be this ongoing battle between the Asian handset makers adding features and the operators,” said Simon Atkinson, CEO of Mirics Semiconductor.

Source: Engineer Live


© 2003, MovieToolBox