The European Commission is endorsing DVB-H as a European standard for mobile television broadcasting, despite opposition from a number of member states, led by Britain, Germany and the Netherlands. Although not mandatory, it is a blow for the rival MediaFlo standard developed by Qualcomm.

The European DVB-H standard will by published by the Commission in the list of official EU standards. As a result, all 27 member states will be required to support and encourage the use of DVB-H for the mobile television services. However, it does not mandate the use of the European DVB-H standard, which is backed by companies such as Nokia.

Viviane Reding, the commissioner for the information society and media, welcomed the endorsement by a majority of member states. “This shows that political resolve and market developments are in tune to ensure this potentially multi-billion Euro market is on the right track by mid-2008,” she said.

“I welcome the support received today for the Commission’s mobile TV strategy and, by a strong majority of member states, also for DVB-H. At the same time, I call also on the minority of governments who are still reluctant, partly for internal reasons, to endorse DVB-H as European standard to join the majority quickly.”

The commissioner said that “watching mobile television should become for every European as easy, attractive and affordable as making a phone call”.

The support for DVB-H is a challenge for the rival MediaFlo standard developed by Qualcomm.

However, satellite broadcaster BSkyB is believed to prefer MediaFlo, and could yet opt to adopt the technology in spite of the European endorsement of DVB-H.