Latvian Mobile Telephone (LMT) sees a commercial launch of broadcast mobile TV (DVB-H) in early 2009, company officials said on Monday, February 25.
LMT and the Latvian State Radio and Television Center (LVRTC) are testing DVB-H broadcasts of four commercial channels for the rest of the year. The broadcasts can be viewed on any DVB-H device, regardless of what operator network it is on.
There are presently very few DVB-H capable phones available in Latvia. LMT showed test broadcasts on a Nokia N-77 (not yet on sale in Latvia), LG and Samsung phones and a Quantum portable digital TV (a palm-sized device).
LMT officials indicated that a commercial package would include on-demand content that could be downloaded at night over the DVB-H network, essentially using it as a datacasting network. That would also put the LVRTC in new role, since datacasting has other applications (updating the video loops in shopping center video systems and the like). Among other downloadable files will be applications for interactive TV (using a back channel through the LMT mobile data network).
LMT president Juris Binde believes that once phones are available, DVB-H broadcasts will see "strong demand" and be watched by many LMT subscribers.
LMT's mobile TV project manager Ervins Kampans indicated that the future commercial model will probably include a number of free channels and several pay options, including monthly subscriptions to channel packets and the possibility to make "impulse purchases" of individual broadcasts as well as purchases of "accompanying content" to be downloaded in datacasts.