Mobile TV 'to take off from 2012'

ABI Research has claimed the mobile TV business is addressing the hurdles that have so far prevented widespread adoption.

The analyst firm said the business will pick up pace from 2012 through 2015 when total market revenues are forecast to exceed $20 billion. 

Market barriers have included the lack of free and simulcast local and national TV programs as a primer for fee-based premium content in most countries outside of Japan and South Korea. Further, there have been limited analogue-to-digital TV transitions in most regions that would allow broadcasters to simulcast mobile and terrestrial TV services. Most developed countries will complete that transition by 2012.

So far, ABI pointed out, 3G cellular service throughput and latency performance have proved inadequate for mobile TV. The deployment of 4G networks over the next few years will enable a significantly improved mobile TV experience.

ABI Research principal analyst Fritz Jordan said: “Mobile network operators have been hampered by their lack of media industry experience, by mobile broadcasting rights, and premium content. Also, there are still few mobile devices containing the chipset required to pick up free-to-air mobile broadcast TV services. On the bright side, however, once the analogue-to-digital TV conversion is complete, the barriers-to-entry for broadcasters will be low; they will leverage existing content licenses and rights and invest just $100,000 or so per tower to provide mobile TV services.”

A further disruptive influence on the direction of the market is the proliferation of new types of mobile devices with larger, high resolution displays and richer multimedia capabilities than cellular handsets.

Jordan said: “Since mobile TV won't be just the province of cellular operators but also of broadcast TV providers, we will see more TV-centric mobile devices: automotive infotainment systems, media tablets, MIDs, and netbooks. Mobile consumers won't be forced to go through a mobile operator and have to pay for voice, messaging, email and Internet plans first, just to get mobile TV.”

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