Mobile TV could be in UK in time for Olympics
MediaFLO television, which launched in the United States, could be coming to the UK in time for the 2012 Olympic Games. The company's head of business development EMEA, Chem Assayag, dropped several hints to Pocket-lint, saying that 2012 is an "important year", adding that large sporting events are always good timing for broadcast products to launch due to the increased demand for viewing platforms.
The MediaFLO service, which uses a more traditional broadcast system than IPTV services, can be accessed on 10 different mobile phone handsets in the United States, available through Verizon and AT&T. It's also accessible on a recently-released 4GB standalone device, and the company showed us prototypes of dongles and wireless accessories that could connect up to any handset, including an iPhone (pictured above), not just one with Qualcomm's MediaFLO chip in.
In Britain, the company has bought up a suitable chunk of L-band spectrum that would support a mobile broadcast network. Back in May, the company announced it had won an auction for 40MHz of bandwidth to use to "bring a variety of innovative wireless technologies to the UK market".
UK content partners could include Sky, the BBC, Channel 4 and ITV, and it's likely that phone networks like O2, Orange, Vodafone, T-Mobile and 3 would also be involved - to provide the handsets to customers. As well as television, MediaFLO can also integrate other apps - we saw proof-of-concept of Twitter and Facebook integration that would allow you to chat with other people watching the same broadcast.
The technology can support up to 30 channels running at 25 to 30fps at QVGA resolution. That's tiny compared to a TV, and even a little on the small side for a laptop, but would suit the small screens of mobile devices very well. MediaFLO is working with LG, Samsung, Motorola and HTC right now, but chips could easily be integrated into any handset, so keep your eyes peeled in the next year or so.
As soon as there's anything more concrete about the launch of MediaFLO in the UK, we'll let you know.