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Up close and personal with DVB-H in Sydney

July 22, 2005
I was @ The Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE) convention and exhibition yesterday in Sydney. Low and behold, Bridge Networks had a stand showing off DVB-H with the Nokia 7710’s that are being used in the Sydney DVB-H trial with Telstra. There will be approximately 500 devices in the ongoing trial that has been running for 1 month. They are broadcasting the signal out of one POP at Gore hill (Northern Sydney area).
There are 14 channels with some of the free to air channels represented, Nine, ABC2 & SBS. The quality of the video is exceptional. Although I was in the same place using the device, it would be interesting to see how movement in a vehicle would effect the reception.
The Nokia 7710 is a 2.5G device only, but the wide screen form factor is a delight to use. Nokia’s software for accessing the channel information is very easy to use and up to the usual Nokia interface standard, very slick indeed.
The system seems to be ready to utilise Datacasting in that each of the channels displayed included the channel’s logo in an area to the left of the image.
The switching from channel to channel is not TV like, but more like switching off an Internet video stream then reconnecting to another, Although this is still fairly quick. The Nokia 7710 is using a version of the Real Player to view the broadcasts too.
The exciting part of this technology is what is going to happen with converged media & information. The service is digital TV and can utilise Datacasting. In conjunction with the usual 3G content services this is going to change the way people interact with mass media.
Of course the evolution of the DVB-H technology gives the broadcaster a powerful back channel that can create a conversation in real time. During a broadcast people can submit questions, answer polls, communicate with their social digital networks about what they are watching and even go to the next level of community journalism and add their eyewitness reports, with pictures & videos that could be utilised on the same broadcast.
Imagine live broadcasts changing real time to the demands and interactions of their audience……
I’ve included some fuzzy pictures from my Motorola A1000 (It’s not quite designed for close ups)
UPDATED 13:42: Corrected some of the facts orginally stated about channels used and duration of trial.
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