A new specification has been approved for the satellite and terrestrial delivery of mobile television and multimedia services to handheld devices. The DVB-SH specification was approved by the steering board of the DVB Project, an industry consortium which sets standards for digital television and data services.

The DVB-SH standard is designed to deliver media and data in internet protocol form to mobile phones and other handheld devices via satellite. In the absence of line of sight reception to satellite, terrestrial transmitters can provide additional coverage. Satellite transmission ensures wide area coverage, while terrestrial transmitters provide infill in urban areas where it may not be possible to receive satellite signals directly.

The DVB-SH system has been designed for frequencies below 3 GHz, typically in the S-band. It complements the existing DVB-H standard for terrestrial transmission to handheld devices. It also uses the DVB IP Datacast set of content delivery, electronic service guide and service purchase and protection standards.

The DVB Project has approved a description of the system and a waveform specification. The DVB-SH specifications will now be published and forwarded for formal standardisation at the European Telecommunications Standards Institute. A comprehensive set of implementation guidelines will follow.

“DVB-SH enhances the range of DVB standards in the area of mobile digital television,” said Peter MacAvock of the DVB Project. “At a time when frequency availability is at a premium, it’s important to ensure that those wishing to deploy mobile TV in the S-Band can benefit from DVB’s proven record in producing successful open standards.”

Alcatel is among the proponents of the use of a hybrid satellite and terrestrial system using S-band transmissions. The use of spectrum originally designated for satellite use could enable the early roll-out of mobile television services across Europe, where terrestrial frequencies are limited and fragmented.