SHANGHAI, China A pair of Chinese mobile TV technologies are competing for a shot to prove their worth at the 2008 Olympics at Beijing.
The competitors are Terrestrial-Mobile Multimedia Broadcasting (T-MMB), a derivative of South Korea's Terrestrial-Digital Multimedia Broadcasting, and STiMi, short for satellite and terrestrial interaction multimedia.
Supported by academic-industrial coalitions in China, the mobile TV technologies will compete with more established global standards being tested in Chinese cities: Europe's DVB-Handheld and South Korea's T-DMB. They will also compete against a handheld derivative of a soon-to-be-approved terrestrial digital TV standard, known as DMB-T/H, developed here.
Few technical details are available regarding the new technologies. T-MMB was jointly developed by Beijing-based software firm Nufrontsoft, the Communication University of China and Southeast University. It is supposedly compatible with DAB-based T-DMB. The spec supports frequencies from 30 MHz to 3 GHz and a prototype chip is ready, with samples expected in 2007, a Nufrontsoft spokesperson said.
STiMi was developed by the Academy of Broadcast Science, part of a government ministry that regulates broadcasting here. STiMi supports the S- and UHF/VHF bands and will use both satellites and terrestrial relays to implement coverage. Little more is known about the technology.
Chinese officials said they hope to finish trials with the new technologies by the end of 2006, and move into commercial trials in 2007 so that the technologies could be ready for the 2008 Olympics.
With three mobile TV standards already competing for attention here, adding two more to the mix is likely to lead to confusion, said Zhiqing Wang, vice director of the Telecommunication Standard Academy at the Ministry of Information Industry.
There is already disagreement in China over which mobile TV standard to use, and over whether using broadcast or cellular networks would be best. China also has a poor track record for getting standards to market quickly, which could complicate making either of the technologies a serious contender for widespread use by 2008.