02 predicts mobile will drive digital

Mobile phone operator O2 claims that the industry will play a key role in encouraging viewers to watch digital television.

The company says early results from a broadcast trial in Oxford show that mobile TV offered a third of participants access to channels that they do not receive at home. An O2 spokesman says that the findings “herald mobile broadcast’s role in bringing digital TV services to the mass market”.

The results also show that 76 per cent of the 375 participants claim they would take up the service within a year

The trial, run by O2 and transmission company Arqiva, offered people free, live access to 16 TV channels using DVB-H technology. The feedback shows participants watched an average of three hours of TV a week, with sessions averaging 23 minutes.

Strategy Analytics associate director Neil Mawston predicts mobile phones will soon carry “TV Out” sockets, meaning that content on mobile phones could be viewed on normal TVs. If mobile TV takes off, it could lead to mobile operators bidding for television rights in the future, and phones being able to act as portable personal video recorders.

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