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Europe seizes lead in on-the-go TV

PARIS — The futuristic notion of watching TV on a cell phone or iPod, or in cars or high-speed trains, is no longer so farfetched. Europe's homegrown specification for mobile digital video broadcast, DVB-H (for "handheld"), is already in field trials, and commercial services are scheduled to go live in 2005.

"TV has been migrating into a number of consumer products," said Steve Turner, business development manager responsible for Europe at Philips Semiconductors. "TV will become a significant feature in a major mass consumer device"which obviously is a mobile phone."

Xceive Corp., a Silicon Valley startup developing RF-to-baseband receiver ICs, this week will announce a complete silicon tuner for ultrasmall analog and digital terrestrial and cable receivers. "Within the next five years, TV will become a commonly accepted feature on mobile handsets," said Jordan Du Val, vice president of sales and marketing at Xceive, just as a camera is now integral to many handsets.

"With DVB-H, telecom operators, for the first time, can offer something consumers already know about; they know what it is and how to use it," said Ari Beilinson, director of business development at Nokia Ventures. According to Nokia, most of those who watch up to 2.5 hours of TV daily also use mobile phones about 10 minutes a day. "We just want to give the possibility for them to spend 10 minutes of their TV-viewing time on a mobile handset," said Beilinson. If the average tube-watching phone owner tunes in for 10 minutes of handset TV every day, it would instantly double mobile-phone usage time, he added. "This is a goal easily achievable."
If this story doesn't convince you that the mobile service providers and handset makers are chomping at the bit to incorporate Microvision displays into their product offerings, then it's possible nothing will. No one wants to watch TV on a cell phone LCD screen. No one wants to watch TV on a little portable DVD player sized LCD screen. This is because no one wants the guy next to him on the subway to know what he's watching, or have him watch his TV over his shoulder. Personal mobile TV is for real, it's going to be big business, and all the mobile service companies know this. Microvision will play an integral role in this phenomenon.

Big thanks to view from afar for tonight's links.


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