Roadbank HTMS 18800 DMB Navigator

Roadbank HTMS 18800 DMB NavigatorHyundai Telematic Korea have announced their way-posh Roadbank HTMS 18800 DMB navigator, an ultra slim, in-car navigation system with a hefty 7 inch touch screen.

Although only available in Korea (bah!), this little puppy should hopefully be paving the way for a new generation of multimedia navigation gadgets that will eventually get into the hot little paws of us technology starved Euro-types.

Back to the HTMS 18800, the unit comes with an electronic map which offers a realistic view of the roads and buildings as you cruise by, with an embedded Sirf III GPS module offering top notch GPS reception rate.

Roadbank HTMS 18800 DMB NavigatorAs well as offering navigation tools, the Roadbank comes stuffed with multimedia widgets, doubling up as a high end media console with support for movie playback formats like WMV9, MPEG-1/2/4, DivX, Xvi and H.264. It can also display digital photos too.

There’s a music player in there as well offering MP3 support, and if all that wasn’t enough, the thing can play live TV using T-DMB.

Roadbank HTMS 18800 DMB NavigatorThe Roadbank HTMS 18800 DMB runs on Windows CE 5.0 and comes with 64 MB of Nand Flash with a SD card slot providing memory expansion options.

As we said, it’s a Korea-only release, so we’ll have make do with an iPod, a compass and some Ordnance Survey maps in the meantime.

Samsung SCH-B470 Offers Picture In Picture DMB

Samsung SCH-B470 Offers Picture In Picture DMBYet more proof that Koreans are spoilt rotten when it comes to having the very latest must-have mobile gadgets comes in the form of Samsung’s brand new phone – displayed, as ever, by scantily clad models.

OK, the Samsung looks a bit weird with its ET-like swivelling head, but – check out this out – not only does it boast Digital Multimedia Broadcasting (DMB), but it’s got Picture in Picture too!

Perfect for those with an attention span that can only be measured in milliseconds, the SCH-B470 lets TV-mad users view two channels at the same time via a split screen, just like your big TV at home.

Samsung SCH-B470 Offers Picture In Picture DMBThe chunky black clamshell phone also lets users switch between having a small Picture in Picture (PiP) display showing the secondary channel or splitting the display in half, with the two selected channels sharing the total viewing area.

Samsung SCH-B470 Offers Picture In Picture DMBNaturally, users can also elect to fill the screen with just the one channel for fuddy-duddy, old-school types who are satisfied with just one channel playing simultaneously.

It’s not all endless fun for tech-savvy Koreans though, as there’s only twelve S-DMB channels currently available.

More features
As well as the way cool PiP TV modes, the SCH-B470 comes with a swivelling 2 megapixel camera, an MP3 player, a flip out and rotate 2.2-inch LCD screen and some sort of ‘pet’ game to entertain users when there’s nowt on the telly.

With all that cutting edge technology stuffed inside, it’s no surprise that the phone comes with a hefty price tag, expected to hover around the 700,000 KRW ($728, £384) mark.

Samsung Korea
What’s DMB?

BlueBird BM-300 T-DMB PDA Announced

BlueBird BM-300 T-DMB PDA AnnouncedNo relation to the fabulous football team known as the Bluebirds, the Korean electronics company Blue Bird have announced their shiny new BM-300 T-DMB Personal Digital Assistant (PDA).

A slim and sleek affair, the PDA is kitted out in an all-black finish with a red strip running around the traditional 5-way D-controller.

Running on Windows Mobile 5.0, the big news for this PDA is its support for T-DMB – that’s Terrestrial Digital Multimedia Broadcasting donchaknow – which lets perambulating punters tune into digital TV when they’re out and about.

BlueBird BM-300 T-DMB PDA AnnouncedAlthough the 2.8 inch touchscreen TFT-LCD (QVGA) display looks like a bit of a whopper, it can only support a miserly 240 x 320 pixel resolution -a bit of a disappointment for a PDA and hardly likely to enhance the TV watching experience,

Looking inside the gubbins of the unit, we can see that the BM-330 is powered by a nippy Intel Bulverde CPU, purring along at 520 MHz with 64MB RAM and 128MB ROM onboard memory.

BlueBird BM-300 T-DMB PDA AnnouncedMemory can be further expanded via an SD SDIO card slot.

Although the lack of a built in phone has seriously piqued our interest, there’s still a few connectivity options on board, with WLAN 802.11b/g, Bluetooth (v1.2 Class2), USB, and – if we’re not mistaken – IR.

The BM-300 is a pretty pocketable affair, measuring up at 110 x 60 x 13.8 (mm) and it’s scheduled to be released in Korea during October 2006, with – as usual – no news on a European/US release or pricing.


SPH-B1300 DMB Phone From Samsung, Flipping ‘eck

SPH-B1300 DMB Phone From Samsung, Flipping 'eckMore flexible than a Russian athlete in a vat of oil, Samsung’s double-flipping DMB phone offers a novel twist on the clamshell format.

Naturally, we’re talking about a Korea-only release at the moment, but Samsung’s SPH-B1300 looks an interesting number serving up a DMB handset that flips two ways. A bi-flip-sexual, if you will.

The Samsung can function like a regular clamshell phone, with the colour display viewed in portrait orientation, or, with a clever bit of flipology, the screen can shuffle around into a landscape format – ideal for watching TV and videos.

SPH-B1300 DMB Phone From Samsung, Flipping 'eckAs well as the DMB functionality, the Samsung SPH-B1300 serves up the usual advanced mobile feature set, complete with a two megapixel digital camera and built-in MP3 player.

It looks like the handset will be taken up by KTF in Korea (DMB is huge in Samsung’s home country), although those waiting for a UK release may be in for a very, very, very long wait (think, “eternity”).

SPH-B1300 DMB Phone From Samsung, Flipping 'eckWe can expect more details about the Samsung SPH-B1300 to be revealed at the CeBit 2006 show in Hannover next month.

DMB (Digital Multimedia Broadcasting) is a digital transmission system for sending data, radio and TV to mobile devices such as mobile phones.

Operating via satellite (S-DMB) or terrestrial (T-DMB) transmission, DMB is based on the Eureka 147 DAB standard and shares similarities with the competing mobile TV standard DVB-H.

CeBit 2006

UK Mobile TV Trials Get Mixed Response

UK Mobile TV Trials Get Mixed ResponseTwo recent studies into mobile TV on 3G mobile phones have managed to produce rather inconclusive results concerning the willingness of the great British public to use the service and how much they’d be prepared to pay for it.

The preliminary findings of a trial by UK mobile phone operator O2 in Oxford revealed that the majority of users were overwhelmingly in favour of the service and would consider taking it up.

Around the clock live access to 16 TV channels was offered to 375 O2 users from a “wide range of demographics” in the 18-44 age band, in a trial carried out in partnership with broadcast technology company Arqiva.

UK Mobile TV Trials Get Mixed ResponseThe feedback seemed back-slappingly reassuring, with 83 per cent of the triallists “satisfied” with the service, and 76 per cent indicating they’d be keen to take up the service within 12 months.

Users were given specially adapted Nokia 7710 smartphones to view the DVB-H service in late September 2005.

Most users averaged around three hours TV a week, with some square eyed viewers clocking up as much as five hours a week.

Predictably, demand was highest in the mornings, lunchtimes and early evenings.

UK Mobile TV Trials Get Mixed Response“This trial is further illustration that we are moving from a verbal only to a verbal and visual world in mobile communications,” said David Williams, O2’s technology chief.

“Broadcast TV for mobile can be a powerful new service that further enables users to personalise their mobile handset so that they can always have the content they want,”>Mixed results for BT and Virgin Mobile

The findings weren’t so rosy from BT and Virgin Mobile’s six month mobile TV trial.

Their 1,000 London-based users reported that they preferred to listen to digital radio rather than watch TV on their mobiles.

Moreover, they didn’t value the service particularly highly either, stating that they were only willing to shell out £5 a month for broadcasts, far short of the £10 monthly charge that operators were hoping to levy.

The BT/Virgin trial found that although people liked mobile TV – 59 per cent found it appealing or very appealing – there was more enthusiasm for digital radio (65 per cent.)

Moreover, triallists used the radio more (95 minutes a week, compared to 66 minutes of TV viewing) – a figure also reflected in the 02 trials, where 7 out of 10 users wanted digital radio channels to be included in a commercial service.

BT also discovered that news clips and favourite shows proved far more popular with viewers than mobile versions of shows.

The companies concerned will be keen to learn the lessons of these trials, as mobile multimedia services are vitally important to telecom operators looking to generate income and recoup their vast investments.

Curitel DMB PT-S160 MobileTV Phone Released

Curitel Releases DMB PT-S160 MobileTV phoneIn a feast of digital convergence, Pantech & Curitel have announced the launch of their new multimedia-tastic PT-S160 phone.

We’re not sure of all the details (we’re helplessly fumbling around deep in foreign translations here), but the beefy-sized phone looks to be a good example of where digital convergence might be taking us.

With the technology letting mobile users watch terrestrial DMB TV and simultaneously natter away on their phones, Digital multimedia broadcasting could be one of the soarway hits of 2006.

Curitel Releases DMB PT-S160 MobileTV phoneThe PT-S160 doubles up as a PMP (Portable Multimedia Player) and a satellite DMB receiver, with a sliding design only showing keys for DMB functions when closed.

Lurking underneath is the slide out keyboard with all the necessary keys for making calls.

The unit comes with stereo ‘3D live sound ‘speakers on the front side of the body with TV pictures viewed on a 2.4 inch 260k QVGA LCD (320×240) screen.

Curitel Releases DMB PT-S160 MobileTV phoneThe screen can be switched between landscape and portrait formats.

Also onboard is an MP3 player, a 2 megapixel auto focus camera, T-flash memory slot and TV Out.

With the unit measuring 52.4x 107.5x 22.5 mm and weighing 139g, it’s a bit of a pocket bulger, but still pretty amazingly small considering the technology you’re getting.

Curitel Releases DMB PT-S160 MobileTV phoneThe makers claim a talk time of 300 minutes and a hefty standby time of 300 hours (although we’ve no idea how long you’ll get when watching TV).

As ever, there’s no detail of when this product may be available in the UK, but we can dream.


Beware the “Next Big Thing”: Mobile TV

Beware the We saw it with the Internet in the late 90s and iTV in the early noughties, now mobile TV is the disruptive technology du jour.

All this year’s major TV industry gatherings – MipTV in Cannes, August’s Edinburgh International TV Festival and the RTS in Cambridge – have showcased mobile.

And in recent weeks, Sky, ITV and Channel 4 have all announced plans for mobile video content.

Beware the It’s easy to be swept up in the hype, and persuasive arguments abound.

At last week’s inaugural mobile TV Forum, the atmosphere was upbeat. BT, Arquiva, Fremantlemedia and Universal all gave impassioned presentations suggesting mobile TV is just around the corner.

BT’s Emma Lloyd (left) said the mobile video “Livetime” service would be UK-wide on Digital One’s DAB network by June 2006.

Beware the Claire Tavernier from Fremantlemedia (right), owner of Neighbours and Baywatch, said “Fremantle TV” would launch on US mobile networks before the end of the year.

And Cedric Ponsot from Universal (below left) reported on “Label Studio TV” – a mix of ten different mobile music channels – which launched on France’s SFR 3G network in July.

“We’re combining two of the most consumer products of all time” said Arqiva’s Hyacinth Nwana (below right) in his keynote – the underlying subtext was: how can we go wrong?

Beware the But is the industry is in danger of death by over-sell before it’s even arrived?

Forecasters are predicting untold riches. A recent report from Informa estimates the global mobile entertainment market to be worth £24bn by 2010. Venture capitalists are already expressing an interest in mobile TV projects. (At the forum, Justin Judd of i-rights was one such example, saying he had “unlimited funds” available for the right idea.)

Beware the This is all sounding very familiar – we’ve been here before. As with the early days of the Internet and iTV, business models are unclear. Hurdles include lack of appropriate content – including rights clearance on existing properties, lack of spectrum and unproven consumer demand.

At the forum, BT’s Lloyd revealed she’d had to fully-fund the content channel, Blaze TV, to complete the offng for current trials. “We need to kickstart content development” she admitted.

While advertisers were mooted as one possible source of funding, Fremantlemedia’s Tavernier thought they were “scared to invest” in mobile TV, “because of lack of consumer research and lack of structures in place”.

Beware the Tavernier also talked about rights, revealing that although Fremantlemedia owned worldwide TV rights to Mr Bean and The Benny Hill Show, both Rowan Atkinson and Benny Hill’s widow had said no to mobile distribution.

Eirik Solheim from NRK (left), the Finnish public service broadcaster, admitted that every so often their mobile TV broadcasts had cut to video of fish swimming in a tank – as not all programme rights had been cleared.

Beware the The most telling figures came in the final session of the conference: “Viewers don’t see their mobile as an entertainment device” said Enpocket’s Jeremy Wright (right). “They see it first and foremost as a communicator.”

Wright pointed to figures from a recent Enpocket survey showing that sharing photos of family and friends was the number one multimedia option; videocalls with family and friends were number two. Mobile TV came bottom.

As traditional broadcast models deteriorate, and the rise of the semantic web places social software at the centre of everything, the service I would back would be completely user-generated.

But the smart money will be watching from the sidelines.