Australia launches new DVB-H trial

A new DVB-H mobile TV trial in Australia is for the first time in that market obtaining feedback from selected subscribers using their own mobile phones.

The broadcast TV via mobile trial, being conducted in Sydney and coordinated by the Australian Industry (Ai) Group’s Australian Digital Suppliers industry Forum (ADSIF), is partly to demonstrate the interoperability of current handsets with start of the art head-end mobile TV encoders. It is also further assessing the transmission coverage of mobile TV broadcasts.

A previous trial, which ended in 2007, used handsets that were not then commercially available. That trial was predominantly to assess technical matters.

Companies involved in the new six-week trial include Optus, Nokia, Nokia Siemens Networks, LG Electronics, Broadcast Australia and Australian Digital Testing.

In a statement, the Ai Group said: “ADSIF will demonstrate to the Australian Government the advantages of this service, in anticipation of the Government setting a date for the allocation of one of the two planned 7 MHz ‘datacasting’ channels for mobile broadcast TV services.”

That date has been pushed back and back by regulatory issues followed by a change of government. Initially the process was to have taken place during 2008.

The trial service is running nine video streams – although over 20 can be provided within a single 7MHz UHF channel. Content includes Seven Network’s Seven Digital, ABC1, SBS Digital, Fox Sports News, Sky News Business, Turner Broadcasting’s CNN International and Cartoon Network, MTV and Fox Interactive Media’s MySpace Road Tour.

Optus is responsible for trial participants and commissioning consumer research into usage patterns, while Nokia and LG are supplying handsets and providing high-resolution screens and extended battery life. Nokia Siemens Networks has provided the DVB-H encoding and head-end solution.

Broadcast Australia is providing a high-power transmission service from its Gore Hill broadcast facility as well as management of the end-to-end platform.

The trial has a licence until February 28.