LAS VEGAS Qualcomm Inc. picked up more supporters for its MediaFLO mobile broadcast video network at the National Association of Broadcasters show here. Rohde & Schwartz showed prototypes of a broadcast test system for MediaFLO, while Harris Corp. pledged support both for MediaFLO networks and nets based on Europe’s DVB-Handheld standard.
Certain European nations and companies seem bent on barring MediaFLO because it challenges DVB-H. “All we are hoping for is that decisions on spectrum will be made for technical reasons, not for nationalist or emotional reasons,” said Rob Chandhok, vice president of engineering and market development for MediaFLO at Qualcomm. “Some DVB-H advocates are treating the issue as a Europe-invented DVB-H vs. a U.S. MediaFLO, but the first two FLO transmitters were developed in Europe. MediaFLO uses turbo coding, which is based on France Telecom patents, the last time I checked! We certainly don’t need royal decrees that a nation must use DVB-H, as we saw recently in Spain.”
Chandhok said some observers have mistaken network builders’ profit-driven decisions with a lack of interface standards for the service. “We are as much standards-based as DVB-H,” he said “but FLO Forum partners will only build out networks on a for-profit basis.”
Because many of the independent content producers now examining mobile content began their efforts in Web-based short subjects, there is a brewing assumption that some mobile video channels should be reserved for “must carry” content. Independent producers attending an April 25 panel on mobile TV debated the merits of a possible reserved channel for do-it-yourself video. One NAB attendee, addressing Chandhok, asserted he had a right to expect transport services for viewing his home-based videos on a Slingbox unit anywhere.
But Chandhok countered that no one has a “right to particular content. Mobile video services may rely more on ad revenue in the future, but our plans for MediaFLO assume a subscription model as the service is launched. The operator will get feedback from users about the particular mix of channels, on-demand IP [Internet Protocol] services and clipcasts, but no one gets a free pass.”
The April 25 panel debated the optimal number of channels on which true video quality-of-service parameters can be maintained. Yoram Solomon of Texas Instruments Inc. suggested users should assume more video artifacts in displays if they insist on receiving dozens of channels.
Chandhok said QVGA 30-frame-per-second quality is embedded in the MediaFLO standard. He took issue with a NAB ad placed by the Mobile DTV Alliance, backers of DVB-H, that said users should expect “30+ channels” of service.