Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Mobile TV Wish List

Mobile-TV, especially DVB-H is starting to gain traction nowadays. Dozens of commercial & trial services have been launched all over the world. Nevertheless, I still have my doubts whether this will actually take off or not. There are several issues which I find not very appealing. Then there are also a couple of things which I would like to have on my mobile TV. Thus, here is my wish list regarding this mobile TV thing:

1. More flexibility on supported subscription model
In subscription model supported by Nokia's solution (which in turn is based on OMA BCAST DRM Profile), subscription process is fully controlled by subscribers. I.e. a subscriber can start, cancel, change subscription at (almost) any time. This is actually good from the subscriber's point of view since they have the freedom over the use of the service. However in a few cases, The service provider (especially when the service provider is more like a traditional cable/satellite TV broadcaster instead of a mobile operator) may prefer typical subscription model where Service provider can “push” and “cancel” subscription centrally. They may also want to limit subscriber’s ability to buy/cancel/change subscription on their own.

2. Widespread adoption of SPP standards
Currently, the available open standard for the Service Protection & Purchase (SPP) is OMA BCAST DRM Profile. The issue is that I still don't see widespread adoption of the standard, resulting in lack of support from terminal vendors. To date it seems that only Nokia, Samsung, & LG(?) that produces compatible handsets. Even viewer vendors provide the complying head-end equipments. Most CAS vendors still provide proprietary OSF-based systems.

3. Variety of Terminal types
Only few varieties of the terminals, especially those that supports encrypted channels are available in the market. More diverse terminal types, not just handphone are definitely needed. They have to be affordable too.

4. Less limitation on user experience
In all the devices that I have seen, user cannot record TV broadcast or send the output to another device. This limit is not due technical issues, but intended limitation. I think users should be liberated just like in the typical broadcast/cable TV. I have a feeling this lacking of recording capability is actually a desired feature demanded by content rights owner.

5. Free mobile TV services
One way to guarantee quick market adoption is to offer free mobile TV services. Then we can forget about SPP standards, forget the lack of terminal availability. Service providers should think of other ways to get revenue (advertisement, interactivity). You wish!!!

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