LONDON Multicasting of TV to mobile phones in the U.S. got a step closer Monday (Nov. 28) as the FLO Forum ratified the Qualcomm conceived Forward Link-Only air interface specification.
The AIS specifies the protocols used over the air between the FLO network and a FLO device. The specification includes a complete description of the physical layer, which uses Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplexing (OFDM) and advanced forward error-correction techniques, and a complete description of the Stream/Control and Media Access Layers (MAC).
The specification enables the delivery of multiple, multimedia streams over the standard TV channel allocation bandwidths.
Qualcomm Inc. is pushing the FLO technology as an alternative way to deliver content to mobile devices from mutually incompatible formats in the emerging mobile TV market. The others include DMB (Digital Multimedia Broadcast) based on the Eureka 147 digital radio broadcasting standard and DVB-H (Digital Video Broadcast-Handheld), a mobile version of terrestrial digital TV standard.
The San Diego based company formed a new subsidiary, MediaFLO, that will spend $800 million over the next five years to build a mobile multicasting network in the U.S. based on FLO technology using spectrum it acquired in a recent auction.
Qualcomm has gathered some large corporations to create the FLO Forum earlier this year, including Harris Corporation, LG Electronics, Huawei, Korea Telecom and ZTE. The air interface specification represents the first fruits of the collaboration “to promote the development of products and services related to the delivery of advanced multimedia services to wireless devices around the world using Forward Link Only technology”.
The Forum said it would now forward the spec to standards development organizations for inclusion in new standards that address the delivery of terrestrial mobile multimedia multicast services to mobile devices.
"The Air Interface Specification forms the foundation for future advances in FLO technology," said Dr. Kamil Grajski, president of the FLO Forum.
Albert Lin, Director of Research for American Technology Research, suggested the publication of the AIS for FLO technology is a “significant step towards the standardization effort while highlighting the type of crucial role the Forum plays for all interested parties."