Antenna Hungária launches DVB-H mobile television broadcast in Budapest

Friday, December 12th, 2008
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Mobile TV is not future tense anymore! – Antenna Hungária launched DVB-H mobile television broadcast in Budapest, which can also be received by Nokia’s compatible

Antenna Hungária and Nokia (Helsinki:NOK1V; NYSE:NOK) announced at a joint press conference that DVB-H broadcast was launched with three transmitters. AH’s already working DVB-H platform is currently prepared for the open (non-encrypted) broadcast of Hungarian public television channels, therefore with a suitable Nokia smart phone anyone can test the service.

The DVB-H service, which was launched on December 1, 2008, provides good reception in most of Budapest even inside buildings owing to the setting of transmitting powers and transmission parameters, while the outdoor coverage reaches beyond the city borders. The owners of Nokia devices with a DVB-H receiver can presently choose from the program selection of Duna TV and Duna II Autonómia channels, but due to the applied broadcast method the number of channels may rise to as many as 20 in the future.

Antenna Hungária’s DVB-H service can at present be received by Nokia N96, the Nokia devices with internal DVB-H receiver. On the Nokia N96 we can turn on the selected channel by a few clicks: the large, 2.8″ QVGA LCD-TFT screen with 16 million colours provides perfect visualization for programs, so we can watch the selected channel in perfect quality. The stereo speakers guarantee that the sound is enjoyable. With the help of the SU-33W mobile TV-receiver module, users can enjoy television programs on their existing, compatible S60 Nokia smart phones as well – this way the reception of mobile television broadcast becomes immediately available also with less investment for tens of thousands of users.

The current technology also allows for pay channels to appear besides the open programs, for which the existing platform needs to be supplemented with content-protection technology. “In the coming months, together with the operators of mobile networks AH will aim to find the optimal business model that is both attractive to subscribers and can also be undertaken by the service providers,” said Rudolf Kárpáti, Broadcast and Technical Services Director at Antenna Hungária.

“Mobile phones bring brand new uses and habits into our lives, and that is also true for media consumption. According to preliminary studies, there is great demand for mobile television worldwide: surveys say that by 2011 some 130 million people will watch TV programs on their mobile devices,” said Tamás Dankovics, Nokia’s business development director. “It is a pleasure for me that in Central Europe Hungary is among the first regions where digital mobile broadcast can be received. Nokia pioneered in the creation and standardization of the technological bases of digital mobile television. Our devices available on the market make the service available for a wide range of users,” Tamás Dankovics added.

Transmitters currently transmit from Antenna Hungária’s Széchenyi Hill station, from Száva Street and from Hármashatár Hill. All transmitters transmit on the same frequency, the UHF 38 TV-channel. The transmitters form a synchronized, single-frequency network (SFN), therefore the receivers are able to receive the selected program continuously even when crossing transmission range borders.

Additional information on the DVB-H platform

Antenna Hungária Zrt. has been testing DVB-H in Budapest since 2006. The company carried out so-called ‘end-to-end’ technical tests in cooperation with T-Mobile in 2007. Between November 2007 and January 2008, with the cooperation of Nokia Siemens Networks, T-Mobile and Vodafone, Antenna Hungária broadcast the programs of 14 television channels in Budapest in a so-called ‘friendly user’ test, and some interactive services such as voting and program download could also be tested. The aim of the tests was the technical foundation of the commercial service, the seamless introduction and the creation of conditions for high-quality service. During fall, Pannon also joined in the preparations.

Antenna Hungária won the right to set up the countrywide DVB-H network and the right to use the frequencies necessary for this at an NHH tender in August 2008. In pursuance of the contract, the company agreed to start creating the countrywide mobile television network at the end of 2008 and to finish it by 2013.

One of the important features of DVB-H-based mobile broadcast is the Electronic Service Guide (ESG) function. This makes it possible for the subscribers’ devices to receive the broadcast services and for the users to select the services they are interested in from a user friendly menu. Of the ESG standards developed to date, the most up-to-date OMA BCAST ESG was applied, as this has the widest functionality, and recently every DVB-H-based mobile television service was launched with OMA BCAST ESG; devices suitable for receiving the service are already offered by Nokia as well.