UK mobile phone operator 02 has revealed the results of its trial in Oxford of broadcast television to mobile phones, suggesting that users were overwhelmingly favourable towards the service and that the majority would consider subscribing.
The technical trial, carried out in conjunction with transmission company Arqiva, broadcast 16 television channels to a group of 275 users aged 18-44 in the Oxford area.
The results indicate that 83% were satisfied with the service, while 76% would take up the service within 12 months. Watching over twenty minutes per session on Nokia 7710 phones, they viewed an average of three hours a week, with some watching as many as five hours.
“Broadcast TV for mobile can be a powerful new service that further enables users to personalise their mobile handset so that they can always have the content they want,” said Dave Williams, chief technology officer of 02. “We call this trend ‘Personal TV’ and the addition of TV content digitally broadcast straight to your mobile is a huge part of that vision.”
“The Oxford Mobile TV trial has proved there is a market for mobile broadcasting and now we’re looking to make it happen with the collaboration of the whole industry,” added Dr Hyacinth Nwana, managing director of mobile media solutions at Arqiva. “We have also demonstrably proven scalability, even if we have to deliver to millions of handsets simultaneously.”
The Oxford trial employed the DVB-H broadcast standard, derived from the system used to deliver digital terrestrial television in the UK. Capacity for a full service is unlikely to be available until spectrum is released by the phased completion of digital television switchover between 2008 and 2012, although proponents are hoping that it may be released sooner.
The results from Oxford appear more optimistic than those for a recent trial by BT and Virgin in the London area, based on the DAB technology originally designed for digital radio. In that case, users ended up listening to the radio on their mobile phone more than watching television.
The higher viewing hours for the Oxford trial might be down to the variety of video content available, including a selection of channels from all the main terrestrial broadcasters.
Both trials used broadcast systems, allowing them to deliver services to any number of users, rather than on-demand streams which can saturate the capacity of cellular networks.