EU endorses Nokia-backed mobile TV standard

The European Commission endorsed a Nokia-backed mobile TV standard called DVB-H, saying Europe needed to pick one technology over others and promising to look at ways to mandate its use, an Associated Press report said.

The Associated Press report said the move will likely prevent rival standards, such as US-based Qualcomm's MediaFLO and others developed by Chinese and South Korean manufacturers, from gaining ground in the world's richest market. The European Union has 490 million consumers.

DVB-H is an open standard that can be licensed by anyone. It was developed by European research institutes, has already lined up support from a group of companies headed by handset maker Nokia, the report said.

The EU said next year would be crucial in the growth of mobile TV; many people are expected to use their phones to watch the Beijing Olympics and the European Football Championship, the report said.

It said choosing one standard would stop market fragmentation such as happened in the Betamax versus VHS video wars of the 1980s.

Now the European Commission, which heads the EU's executive branch, is asking member governments and industry to back DVB-H and its strategy for mobile television in Europe. It said it would come up with draft rules to mandate the use of DVB-H 'if necessary and appropriate.'

Mobile TV is still at an early stage in Europe. Italy boasts half a million users, while Finland only launched commercial services last month. France and Spain plan to do the same later this year. Mobile TV trials are taking place in Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Ireland, Sweden and the Netherlands, the report further said.