BBC and ITV set to trial mobile TV with Samsung and LG
LONDON - The BBC and ITV are understood to be close to a deal to unveil plans to develop a live TV broadcast service for mobile phones, with an initial six-month trial planned for later this year.
The trial, which will be in conjunction with handset makers Samsung and LG, will explore the viability of mobile TV, and it is understood that Eurosport and Cartoon Network have also registered interest in the service.
The BBC tryout will include its News 24 service, and an as-yet-unnamed ITV digital channel. If the initial six-month trial is a success, it is likely that the BBC and ITV will expand the service to its other channels.
The move greatly increases the prospect of mobile TV being widely available before the government's proposed analogue shutdown in 2012. The mobile TV programmes will be broadcast using technology currently used by digital radio.
The BBC and ITV have yet to confirm the exact date of when the trial is likely to begin, but it is understood it will commence later in the year by a consortium led by BT and radio companies Chrysalis and UBC Media.
The trial will work by a subscription service provided by mobile phone companies, with a possible £10 a month fee likely to be agreed as the standard charge.
However, a spokeswoman for the BBC said that despite being involved in talks rearding possible tie-ups with mobile phone services, no announcement was imminent: "We participated in a number of third party trials recently into mobile television, and we are watching market developments with interest. There is no joint alliance with ITV to develop a mobile television service and there is no announcement expected about this today. However, we are one of many participants in a closed, time-limited technical trial comparing Korean Terrestrial Digital Multimedia Broadcasting (T-DMB) to the BT Movio service. This is not to be confused with the commercial launch of the BT Movio service later this year."
Last week, the BBC agreed a deal with Infront Sports & Media to provide UK viewers with live broadband World Cup coverage free of charge.
The corporation's broadband coverage will make all of the tournament's group games available through its World Cup homepage, as well as any of England's subsequent second-round matches, should the team make the knockout stages.
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