Standards should drive mobile TV

The FLO Forum, the international body dedicated to the open standardization of FLO (Forward Link-Only) technology for mobile multimedia broadcast, has announced revisions to three key open FLO standards.

FLO technology is a new air interface with multicasting capabilities designed to increase capacity and reduce content delivery costs to mobile handsets.

Mobile TV has been much hyped, but has yet to hit the mainstream, although various reports predict this will be the year it starts to take off in the US, Russia and China, at least.

Last year research MultiMedia Intelligence predicted that by 2012, the mobile video and mobile TV market will exceed US$15 billion, including direct pay and advertising. It remains to be seen how much impact the global recession will have on the progress of mobile TV.

In the meantime, work on the supporting technology continues. Revisions to the standards have been published by the US Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA). Eight TIA Forward Link-Only standards have been published to date, with revisions to the Minimum Performance Specification FLO Transmitters, Minimum Performance Specification FLO Devices, and the FLO Air Interface Specification now published as TIA-1103 rev A, TIA-1102 rev A, and TIA-1099 rev A, respectively.
TIA-1099 Rev A is aimed at expanding FLO technology to new markets through the extension of the supported frequency range beyond the UHF band. The updates improve FLO through features such as transmitter identification and optimization for multi-frequency FLO networks.
TIA-1102 Rev A and TIA-1103 Rev A extend the details of minimum performance requirements for FLO-compatible devices and transmitters, respectively, to including the 8MHz bandwidth - the UHF channelization used in Europe, and other regions around the world.

The standards were approved in the TIA TR-47.1 subcommittee, which is responsible for the development and maintenance of Terrestrial Mobile Multimedia Multicast (TM3) standards and TR-47.1 based on FLO technology. The revised technical specifications reflect contributions by the FLO Forum membership and other TR47.1 participants.